Community mourns loss of beloved teacher, coach


Mercy Gichobi, Overall Managing Editor

Recently the Howard-Suamico community faced a loss that hit close to home. On March 31, James Damien LaBlonde`, teacher and coach, unexpectedly passed away in his family home.

LaBlonde was born on September 20, 1978 to James and Marlene LaBlonde in Ashland, Wis. There he was raised with his two older sisters, Dena and Nicole, who loved and adored him.

He graduated from Luther L. Wright High School where he found his love for sports, specifically track and football, which he carried with him to the college level.

He graduated from UW-LaCrosse where he met his wife, Dana Maedke. Together they were blessed with three precious children, Livia (5), London (8), and Easton (11).

It was clear for all to see that LaBlonde’s greatest love was for his family. He looked for every moment to be with them, and alway had a smile painted across his face every second he was with them.

“He was the greatest dad ever,” said ELA teacher Amber Viegut. “You could see how much love he had for them. They were always his number one priority.”

While working at Lineville Intermediate as a physical education teacher and a high school coach, LaBlonde touched the lives of many of his students. Whether it was through his class or as a coach on the track and football team, he always took the time to help his kids.

“He was an amazing track coach, always cheering you on or giving you a hug after a great race,” said senior track athlete Helena Bloohm.

LaBlonde’s passion to help his students grow and succeed will be remembered from those who experienced it first hand. All who were touched by his love and passion were motivated to work harder but to also have fun along the way.

“ Coach LaBlonde was always pushing us to do our best and to grow, not just as athletes, but as young adults,” said junior Tressa Goaz.

With his upbeat personality, contagious smile, and zest for life, James LaBlonde will forever be remembered as an inspiration to all who crossed his path.