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Lauren and Cassie Laabs

Lauren & Cassie Laabs

Neenah - Lauren Elizabeth Laabs, age 26, and Cassandra Joy Laabs, age 20, were taken together from this earth on Saturday, August 18. Both women have had significant impacts on the world and others during their too short lives.

Lauren Elizabeth Laabs, or Doozy as her father called her, was an incredible daughter, granddaughter, sister and friend. Lauren's loving and adventurous nature can be seen in her life accomplishments. She graduated from Neenah High School in 2010 and UW-Madison in 2014 with a bachelor's degree in Global Health. During college she studied for one year in Bologna, Italy. Lauren then completed a life-long dream of serving 2.5 years as a Peace Corps volunteer and bravely lived by herself in one of the poorest parts of Ethiopia, Africa. Her attitude of love for all people was shown by her ability to endear herself to a community differing from her religiously and culturally. She was virtually adopted as a village daughter, even serving as a bridesmaid for an Ethiopian friend. She made life-long friends on three continents. After completing her Peace Corps service she climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro to the summit with her friend and visited a live volcano in Tanzania. An avid runner, in her first Fox Cities Half-Marathon she finished 8th overall for women in 2013. She is remembered for her ability to brighten every room with her laugh and goofy antics. Lauren never took a moment for granted and was an inspiration to every person she met. She was truly one of a kind (a doozy), full of life, and ready to take on any challenge. Her next goal was to go back to school to become a nurse practitioner.

Cassandra Joy Laabs, a spontaneous and kind-hearted soul, was a 2016 Neenah High School graduate and was attending UW-Milwaukee with a goal of being an elementary teacher. Wow, was Joy the right middle name! When she laughed, everyone laughed. When she smiled, everyone smiled. Her positive outlook and attitude was contagious. Unknowingly to her, her laugh was more grasping and beautiful than the music she was constantly playing. In high-school she was part of the Neenah show choirs and soccer team. The energetic fireplug once scored three goals before halftime of a game. She loved her teammates and developed friendships with a diverse group. A perfect example of her big heart was shown by the gifts, cards, and notes she would receive from peers who were touched by her when they were feeling left out, discouraged, or lonely. Foreshadowing her teaching career, Cassie worked with Special Ed students and was a soccer instructor for young children. Cassie was a "favorite teacher" at the UW-Milwaukee Children Center where she endeared herself to children from all parts of the city. Her dream was to travel the world and make a positive difference in the lives of students wherever her career took her. She planned on completing a mission trip to Africa in the summer of 2019.

Cassie and Lauren were joined at the hip. Cassie would often greet Lauren by tackling her and then saying, "Hey sister!" Both women changed lives and brought smiles to all they encountered. Numerous families have told us they were like daughters to them. For us it will be a lot lonelier without them. We will heal by God's grace, the love of others, and memories of years of the incredible experiences and loving relationships we had with them. Their ship is sailing out of sight now but is not gone. Those on the other side see them coming and are cheering "Here they come" and are waiting with open arms. Those who knew them were blessed in many ways. They made the world a better place. Now we can honor them by doing the same.

Lauren and Cassie are survived by their parents Kim and Cheryl Laabs and sister, Jessie (all of Neenah). They are also survived by: grandparents Dave and Lou Woldt (Grafton); aunts and uncles Gary and Chere Laabs (Appleton), Tim Laabs (Crandon), Lance and Sherry Laabs (Pickerel), Mark and Carrie Ralfs, Rick and Christine Woldt, and Jeff and Amy Woldt (all Milwaukee area residents), and Jed and Kim Parks (Goodyear, AZ); and of course numerous cousins they shared a special relationship with.

Lauren will be especially missed by best friends Monica Laurent, Caitlyn Bushe, Mary Duff, Erin Theuerkauf Shannon, MaryBeth Spoehr, and Hailee Pipes, her mountain climbing buddy. Cassie counted so many as her best buds including Kari Holte, Bailee Falk, Megan Perri, Megan Janssen, Elle Kummerow, and Lexi Degreef.

The family has been especially touched by the Theda Clark staff, Dr. Wasco, and Chaplain KC who was always around just at the right time. Rev. Paul Holte and family have been incredibly comforting. Thank you to the Winnebago County Health Department staff and community partners, Adella Beach family, and fishing club for all they've done.

John and Ann Marie Anderson and their children Austin (our daughter four) and Bailey (our daughter five) have provided incredible support and comfort in more ways than we can list.

Thank you to the hundreds from this community and in other countries who have offered prayers, encouragement and offers of help, support, facilities, food, and more.

There will be a Celebration of Life for Lauren and Cassie at the Waverly Beach facility in Menasha, WI, on Wednesday, August 29th, from 6-9 P.M.

Funeral visitation is from 2-6 P.M. on Thursday, August 30, with the service at 6:00 P.M. at St. Paul's Lutheran Church at 200 N. Commercial Street, Neenah, WI.

Westgor Funeral Home

205 W. Doty Ave. Neenah 722-7151


Published in Oshkosh Northwestern on Aug. 26, 2018
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