Robert H. Laird, age 80, of Storm Lake, died Tuesday, April 2, 2002, at the Buena Vista Regional Medical Center, Storm Lake after a lengthy battle with cancer.
A funeral service will be today, Saturday, April 6, at 1 p.m. at Lakeside Presbyterian Church in Storm Lake with the Reverend Duane Queen officiating. Burial with full military honors by AMVETS Post #66 will be in Storm Lake Cemetery.
A visitation was held yesterday at the Fratzke & Jensen Funeral Home. A memorial fund has been established for the Storm Lake Area Hospice.
Robert Harold Laird was born July 22, 1921, in Cedar Rapids, the son of Charles O. and Ruby G. Laird. He attended schools in Hasting, Minn., and graduated from Iowa State University in Ames.
Bob was a member of Darby's 1st Ranger Battalion, Headquarters Company, United States Army, serving during World War II in Africa, Sicily and Italy. He was wounded in November of 1943 and received an Honorable Discharge March 30, 1944.
On July 31, 1944 he was married to Ann Josephine "Joan" Engstrom at Minneapolis, Minnesota. The couple made their home in Minneapolis and Des Moines, before moving to Storm Lake in 1950.
While in Des Moines, Laird served as Executive Secretary of the Iowa Retail Lumbermen's Association. He was the assistant to the president, Frank Finkbine, of Wisconsin Lumber Company. Following his employment there, he established L & A Associates, representing hardware manufacturers throughout five Midwestern states.
He served as Regional Director for the MDAA, Inc. until 1960 when he retired from traveling.
He then became Executive Secretary of the Storm Lake Chamber of Commerce for eight years. Along with Mayor Jack Evans, he was instrumental in obtaining the new post office for Storm Lake. Bob will also be remembered as the originator of Santa's Castle in 1962.
In 1981, Bob joined the Wyatt Yon Agency as a real estate salesperson and continued there until retiring again in 1985. He was active in the Boy Scouts of America holding both regional and local offices; he was chairman of the Airport Commission and during his tenure the first paved runway was completed. He attended Lakeside Presbyterian Church.
Bob's family includes his wife Joan, Storm Lake; two sons, Edward C. and his wife Susan, N. Ft. Myers, Florida and Alan E. and his wife Lisa, Orange City; six grandchildren: Kelley, Miami Beach, FL, Jorden, Deerfield, FL, J.C. and J.J., N. Ft. Myers, FL, Matthew and Daniel, Orange City; three sisters, Marilyn and her husband Norman Alpers, Greensboro, SC, June and her husband Rollie Bach, Billings, MT and Sally and her husband Dale Swanson, McLouth, KS and several nieces and nephews.
Preceding Bob in death were his parents and one sister, Beverly.