Larry Laborde joins three-quarter-century club Sunday

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Larry Laborde of Perry turned 75 Sunday and was the guest of honor at a Zoom birthday party, organized by his wife, Denise Laborde.


Denise Laborde of Perry hosted a Zoom birthday party Sunday afternoon for her husband, Larry Laborde, who turned 75.

Dozens of virtual guests from around the nation attended the online party, with friends from Northern California and the Southwestern particularly U.S. well represented.

Larry graduated from Perry High School in 1964 and took a degree in economics from the University of Iowa in 1969. The commencement address was delivered by the dean of┬áthe University of California School of Law at Berkeley, whose topic was “The Challenge of Meaningful Involvement.”

The message from Boalt Hall must have inspired Larry because he proceeded to get a law degree in 1972 from the University of Iowa and to become very meaningfully involved indeed.

By the time Larry earned his J.D. degree, he had married his high school sweetheart, Linda Daniell of Perry, and the two had a son, David Laborde, born in 1971. David turned 50 years old June 27.

The Labordes were featured in an August 1975 story in the Perry Daily Chief by Ronda Olson, which found the young family beginning their “experiments in living,” as the liberal philosopher John Stuart Mill termed efforts to overcome the soul-smothering conformity that everywhere prevailed in his day and ours.

Larry converted a 1957 Dodge bus into a two-story house on wheels that seemed to symbolize the search for freedom. As Olson wrote in 1975, “Home for the Labordes is the beach, forest and mountains from Mexico to Canada — a lifestyle that is completely alien to most Midwesterners but one they enjoy.”

Many more stories, too numerous and numinous to repeat here, were retailed by Sunday’s Zoom partygoers, who seemed to know Larry through many incarnations. When the group sang “Happy Birthday” about halfway through the party, the limitations of time and space seemed briefly vanquished, and love reigned supreme.

Larry and Denise moved to Perry in 2016, but he still maintains a lively law practice in California, and they remain inveterate travelers.

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