When tomorrow starts without me, don’t think we’re far apart, for every time you think of me, I’m right here in your heart.  I was given the gift of life, and now I have to give it back. This is hard. But I know I led with the philosophy that we only have today; yesterday is gone and tomorrow is uncertain. That’s why they call it the present, which is how I want to be remembered: Being Present.

Casual dress is encouraged for the funeral service of Barbara “Barb” Labat, 79, of Marshall, which will be held on Friday, May 28, 2021, at 11:00 a.m., with visitation starting at 9:30 a.m. at St. Stephen Lutheran Church in Marshall. Lunch at the church will follow the services. Memorials are preferred to the St. Stephen Endowment Fund.

Barb gracefully dealt with Parkinson’s for five years prior to a fall on a cement patio at home on May 3, 2020, resulting in a broken elbow and a serious head injury. She entered Morningside Heights Care Center on May 6, 2020, for recovery and rehabilitation with a strong goal to return to her home. Unfortunately, a fall at the nursing home on May 13, 2021, resulted in a broken hip, and she had surgery on May 14, 2021.  Barbara (Melander) Labat died on Friday, May 21, 2021, with her husband Ron by her side holding her hand. She was born on February 19, 1942, in Willmar, MN, to Ralph and Blanche Melander. Her sister Susan died in 1957 at 5 years of age.  Barb’s family moved to Atwater, where Barb started school, and moved back to Willmar when Barb started third grade. A couple years later the family moved to Sioux City, IA, before moving to Marshall in 1956. She graduated from Marshall High School in 1960 and went to the St. Cloud Cosmetology School, returning to Marshall after graduation to work as a licensed Cosmetologist.  On February 23, 1963, Barb was united in marriage to Ron Labat in Marshall. After their marriage they lived in St. Cloud and Glencoe, MN, before returning to Marshall in late 1965. After moving back to Marshall, Barb worked at the Marshall Chamber, and then at KMHL radio doing sales and commercials. Barb then accepted a job with Schwan’s, which included assisting with organizing and traveling to banquets and Christmas parties throughout the US for Schwan’s employees. She transitioned to conducting employee training in a variety of subject areas, retiring from Schwan’s in 2007.  On one of her training trips with Schwan’s in the late 90’s, she was in San Diego, and before returning to Marshall had an opportunity for a “once in a lifetime experience.” Her nephew, Lt. Jason Testa, a graduate of the US Naval Academy, was the Ships Navigator for the USS Harper Ferry, with 800-1000 sailors based in San Diego. Barb, along with Jason’s sister and father, were able to spend a whole day out at sea on the ship with Jason while he performed his duties, navigating the ship through various training exercises. She was amazed with this whole experience!  Barb was a people person, friendly, enthusiastic, and outgoing. She enjoyed working with and through others, and all social situations. She liked reading, sewing, quilting, golfing, bowling, playing 500 and Bridge, traveling, and music. She served on the Board and various committees at St. Stephen. Church Circles and PEO were also activities she enjoyed for many years, continuing into retirement.  In retirement Barb and Ron enjoyed trips to Arizona, Texas, Las Vegas, and Myrtle Beach. Barb also enjoyed many “bus trips” with good friend Jo Neuman to Branson, Washington DC, Hawaii, Alaska, Texas, Arizona, Oregon and other areas, and a cruise. They also enjoyed numerous “day trips” to other locations.  Barb and Ron were married for 58 years. Together they shared the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. She also leaves behind son Joel Eric and grandson Dylan Vaughn. She will be greatly missed.

The Essence of Success

“Successful is the person who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much, who has gained the respect of children, who leaves the world better than when they found it, who has never lacked appreciation for the earth’s beauty, who never fails to look for the best in others or give the best of themselves.”