Dennis R. LaBuda, 59, passed away Saturday, Aug. 23, 2008, at his home in Lacey, Wash., from natural causes.
Cremation has taken place. Memorial services will be conducted at 11 a.m. Friday at the Big Sandy United Methodist Church. Memorial donations may be made in his name to The Southern Poverty Law Center, 400 Washington Ave., Montgomery, AL 36104. The SPLC legal department fights all forms of discrimination and works to protect society's most vulnerable members, handling innovative cases that few lawyers are willing to take. The group also helps to track hate groups and to teach tolerance. Memorials my also be made in his name to the Big Sandy Senior Citizens' Center, P. O. Box 263, Big Sandy, MT 59520, or to a charity of the donor’s choice. Arrangements are in the care of Holland & Bonine Funeral Home of Havre. Dennis was born Nov. 29, 1948, in Havre, to Mike and Evelin (Ophus) LaBuda. He was raised in the Big Sandy area graduating from high school and later attending Northern Montana College in Havre, where he received his degree in secondary education. Dennis was a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, and he went on to obtain a master's degree at the University of Southern California in instructional Ttchnology. Dennis developed a very deep interest in the aging population and was a founder of the technology in aging movement. He was also a published author of several articles in the field along with two books garnering multiple awards. As a nationally recognized expert, Dennis’ articles regarding gerontologist issues can be found in publications such as Newsweek, Modern Maturity and the New York Times. Other highlights of his career included his participation in both the first U.S. and then the first International Research conferences on technology and aging. Dennis also headed up the first U.S. technology and information project which was the publication of a major resourse book, "The Gadget Book, Devices for Easier Living," published by AARP in 1985. Dennis was also an advocate for the elderly serving as a professional resource to delegates in the California Statehouse Conference on Aging going on to address other governor’s conferences throughout the country. He also represented the elderly by briefing key administration staff during the Reagan years at the invitation of the then U.S. Commissioner on Aging. During his career Dennis served in management positions with two of the most prominent national aging organizations, The American Society on Aging and AARP. His most recent book, "Home Sweet Home: How to Help Older Adults Live Independently," sold more than a quarter of a million copies and can be found as a resource reference in the library of every school of occupational therapy in the U.S. It describes strategies and products that allow older persons to continue to live independently in their homes safely. Due to health reasons, Dennis retired, refocusing his creative talents toward his hobbies of the culinary and painting arts. Dennis was preceded in death by his father, Mike LaBuda; his brothers, Bernard and Mike A. LaBuda; his sister, Jeannette Nicholson; and numerous other extended family members. He leaves behind his loving mother, Evelin LaBuda of Big Sandy; his sisters, Sharon LaBuda of Lacey, Wash., and Helen A. Young of Lloyd; his nephews, Mike Nicholson of Havre, Jim, Jerry and Tim LaBuda, all of Big Sandy, Allen LaBuda of Havre, Lawrence LaBuda of Great Falls, Bill and Gordon Young of Lloyd, and Nick Young of Tennessee; his two nieces, Sheri Schlacter of Billings and Kathy Hodgins of Washington.