Saturday, September 21, 2013

RIP Johnny Labeau

When you pass by a cemetery and see all the monuments, headstones and plaques, we often take for granted that there is a story behind every person beneath each one.

Sometimes it is better, however to write down something that a headstone may not do justice. My brother in law, John LaPorte aka Johnny Labeau passed away yesterday, September 20th, 2013 and it will be hard to describe just what kind of a person he was.

I can start by saying this, he was one of the most loving people I've ever known. He simply loved being around people and he sure loved his kids, Kevin and Kelly. He also loved my sister Kathy and for many years, they had a great life together.

John was a different kind of guy in so many other ways, he was a fun loving guy who became your best friend the minute you met him. If there is one sentence to sum up what he was all about, that was it.

And if John became your friend, he was your friend for life.

I don't know if I'll be able to pay tribute to who John was in this memorial, but I'm sure gonna try.

John came in for a job interview back around 1978 or so and it was up to me to hire the next guy.

I worked for my dad and he sure as hell did not like the long curly hair and the earring, but as I said, as soon as you met Labeau, he was your best friend. He became my friend on the spot. So I hired him.

We became best friends hitting the clubs and hanging out together. I got to meet his bothers, Steve, Vin, Mike (Lemon) and Butch. Their mother and father were just terrific people as well. You don't raise five boys without having some sort of superpowers. Vin Sr. and Jeanne LaPorte had superpowers in spades.

John and I shared this crazy connection where we both had the same twisted sense of humor, anyone who was around us back then could tell you. If there were reality shows back then, we might have been a good one. There was just this chemistry where he and I could come up with the craziest nicknames and stories about people we'd come across or just make up stuff as we went.

I never laughed so hard in my life as I did whenever I was with Labeau. We were always cracking each other up with our little clubhouse of humor where it seemed most times there were only two members; him and me.

Pretty soon John took an interest in my sister Kathy and before I knew it, they were married and had two kids, Kevin and Kelly.

Labeau and I worked together for about 17 years and it was never the same after he left. He got a job at the Chrysler parts warehouse and on his first night on the job, he crushed his foot in a fork truck accident.

Things were never the same soon after that for any of us. Labeau battled health issues for many years and finally, things caught up with him and took him away.

I'll always remember that smile, the slap on the back and the "How you doin' Mick?" every time we'd meet. He'd cry at the drop of a hat because he was a sentimental old fool who simply loved everyone around him, especially his kids. 

The picture above shows everything you need to know about John, he loved his daughter Kelly and this picture shows how much he loved her.

Johnny was a Boston guy through and through. He loved every team, the Red Sox, Celtics, Patriots and Bruins and man, did he love his music.

John was so into music that if you were his friend on Facebook, it got so you had to block him because he'd post 50 or 60 videos a day of songs he loved. And lord knows, there was an endless supply of music that he loved.

I can't think of a better description of his passing than the line from the Bad Company song, Shooting Star:

Johnny's life passed him by like a warm summer day. If you listen to the wind, you can still hear him play.

There are probably a million or more songs that I'll hear from now on that will remind me of him.

We will lay John to rest this week and say goodbye to a gentle soul who really did love everyone he knew. And everyone he knew loved him.

There are some whose lives are short and their story is never told
It was in the cards for this one, he never would grow old
His heart was strong, his laugh was loud, his life was like a song
He loved us all and made us laugh, but was not to be here long

A lyric never forgotten and never to grow old
A friend, a father a husband, whose story must be told 
Your smile and laughter filled a room and were quick of wit and charm
We never will forget you as we grow older and time keeps moving on

Rest easy my old friend as you sail along the air
I will always remember you as one without a care
You had your struggles and had your pain and now are laid to rest
We'll keep you in our hearts forever as you were the very best 

John "Labeau" LaPorte
October 11, 1956 - September 20, 2013
There will never be another one like him, he was one hell of a guy who was simply everybody's pal.

Rest easy Johnny Labeau, I love you and I will miss you.

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