RUDYARD Gerard Thomas LaBorta, 63, of Rudyard died peacefully Saturday morning, April 14, 2007, sitting in his living room chair.
His funeral service will be held at 11a. m. Wednesday at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Rudyard. Pastor Brian Pederson will officiate. Burial service will be at the Joplin Cemetery. A luncheon will follow at the church in Rudyard. Gerard was born May 30, 1943 at Havre to Elmer and Esther (Bergstrom) LaBorta, who farmed in the south Rudyard community. Gerard received his early education at the Rathbun School near the farm, then finished his schooling in Rudyard, where he graduated from R.H.S. in 1961. Gerard continued his education at Northern Montana College in Havre, where he studied general courses for two quarters. He returned to the family farm and took over the farming operations following his father’s death in 1965. Gerard raised beef cattle and wheat, and lived with his mother and sister (Ann Marie) on the farm. In those few years following his mother’s death in 1986, Gerard developed some personal health issues. In 1999, he sold the farm and moved to the Sweetgrass Lodge in Chester. He lived there until 2002, then transferred to the Wheat Country Estates in Chester. Gerard had a history of diabetes and heart disease for several years. Gerard was baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran faith. He was a member of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Rudyard and was a past member of the church council. He was also a past member of the Montana Farmer’s Union. During his younger years, Gerard played tuba in the high school band and was active in 4- H, where his projects included leather-tooling and certified grains. His love for leather-tooling and dyeing continued into this adult life. He made many beautiful leather products, including wallets, purses, belts and gun scabbards. He also enjoyed hunting, mainly deer and antelope, and fishing. He liked to play board games and cards, especially pinochle and rummy. In his quiet time at home, Gerard loved to read westerns by Louis L’Amour and Zane Gray, and he had accumulated a large collection of their books. He also enjoyed his gun collection. Gerard could best be described as a quiet person who pretty much kept to himself. He did enjoy a special friendship with Albert Budeau and the other residents at Wheat Country Estates. Gerard never married. Gerard was preceded in death by his parents; and sister, Ann Marie, in 2001. Survivors include his brother, Dale LaBorta of Breckenridge, Minn.; sisters, Myrl (Marcel) Solum of Rudyard, June (Doug) Stiles of Havre and Aileen Garrick of Plentywood; aunt, Myrtle Bergstrom of Rudyard; and numerous nephews and nieces. Memorials will be given to the Hi-Line Health Foundation in Chester, the Lutheran Church in Rudyard, or the Rudyard Historical Society. Arrangements are by Rockman Funeral Chapel of Chester.