Robert “Bob” Laufenburger of Redwood Falls died Wednesday, August 15, 2012 at his home. Funeral services will be held at 6 p.m. on Saturday, August 18, 2012 from Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Redwood Falls with burial to follow in the Redwood Falls Cemetery. Visitation will be held AT THE REDWOOD FALLS GOLF COURSE on FRIDAY, August 17, 2012, from 4 until 8 p.m. Visitation will continue on Saturday, from 5 until 6 p.m, at the church.
Arrangements are with Nelson-Martin Funeral Service of Redwood Falls. E-mail condolences may be sent via
Robert Dale Laufenburger, the son of Arthur Robert and Marge (Haugen) Laufenburger, was born January 2, 1945 in Minneapolis. Bob was raised in Waconia where he received his elementary and high school education. He attended Hamline University, Bemidji State, and Mankato State College, graduating with Bachelor of Science degrees in Physical Education and “Park & Rec.” He entered the United States Navy in 1969 and was stationed in San Diego, California with Com Nav Air Pac. Bob received a commendation from the Admiral of the Pacific Fleet and was honorably discharged in 1972.
He married Carolyn Simondet on March 24, 1992 in Las Vegas, Nevada and they have resided in Redwood Falls since. He was previously married to Patricia Martino; that marriage ended in divorce.
In 1973 Bob began his administrative career with the Redwood Falls school district and city as the first Community Education/Recreation Director. The “lighted school” concept was in its infancy with the premise that schools need not be locked up at night. Thus began many programs which Bob established and are still in effect today. Along with the usual adult offerings, he instigated and oversaw Early Childhood/Family Education, SAC, (School Age childcare), the GED program, supervised the mural painting in downtown Redwood Falls, and was highly involved in the building of the Community Center and the Intergenerational Center. He was highly respected throughout the state and at National conventions was sought out for advice because of Minnesota’s advanced Community Ed system.
Bob supervised the Redwood Falls school and city programs by himself with a part time assistant secretary; then, after 20 years, the city took over the rec program with a staff of five. Bob continued on with Community Ed with added responsibilities such as school rentals, building supervision and school bus training. He served on the Board of the Minnesota Community Education in l994, l996-98. After retirement he became sexton of the Redwood Falls Cemetery and worked recently for the U. S. Dept. of Commerce as a field representative in the Census Bureau.
Bob was an athlete in high school, playing all sports, but went to college with scholarships in football. He played at Hamline, Rochester Community College, and Bemidji State. He began his officiating career 40 years ago while in college in Mankato. The name Bob Laufenburger was synonymous with softball in Minnesota for more than three decades, leading to Bob’s induction into the Minnesota Softball Hall of Fame in 2004. He began his umpiring career 40 years ago and officiated at countless district state and regional tournaments, seven national tournaments and several NCAA regional tournaments. Bob was a positive influence on the development of hundreds of umpires throught the state through the positions he held as MSF District Two Umpire-in-Chief, State Men’s Fastpitch Umpire-in-Chief, Head Clinician and Rules Interpreter for the Minnesota State High School League and a member of the National Federation of High Schools baseball rules committee. His teaching, mentoring and evaluation of officials greatly increased participation and helped raise the standards of amateur sports officiating.
He also has officiated football for 39 years, volleyball and basketball; he was honored by the Minnesota State H.S. Baseball Coaches Association, in 2010, with the Angelo Giuliani Award.
Bob has been described by Kevin Merkle of the Minnesota State H. S. League as the face of Minnesota Baseball/Softball. Sadly he was unable to supervise officials this spring for the MSHSL State Softball and Baseball tournaments and Championship games at Target Field as his cancer became very aggressive and health deteriorated, even though he had the scheduling completed and ready to go.
His wife often said, “See the world, marry an umpire,” as most of their travels were to ball fields. For many years she accompanied him and met a diverse group of officials from all over the country who remain friends with great respect for Bob. He was not boastful or took himself too seriously but was dead serious about “the game” and practiced and taught it. One of his strong attributes was his ability to remind players they are playing a game and to keep things in perspective. He usually accomplished this with his disarming sense of humor. Bob was a member of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church and often accompanied his wife to St. Cornelia’s Episcopal Church where she is the church musician.
Bob was happiest when with his children and grandchildren and proud of their accomplishments big and small, whether it was an Eagle Scout award, football game, dance recital, soccer game, or first trip to the grown up potty. Each accomplishment received equal praise. Bob’s thoughts were never far away from his daughter, Greta, who also had a valiant five-year fight with cancer.
He is survived by his wife Carolyn of Redwood Falls; sons Ryan (Sarah) Laufenburger and Rhett (Kimberly) Laufenburger all of Sun City, Arizona; daughters Tammy (Mark) Almich of Buffalo Lake and Kirsten (Larry) Krier of Inver Grove Heights; grandchildren Alex, Zach, Claire, Casey, Carly, Asher, Kevin, Michael and Parker; sister Lea Ann (Gary) Berau of Waconia; brother Dennis (Ruth) Laufenburger of Chanhassen; brother-in-law Norm (Ginny) Simondet of Mound; and sister-in-law Mary Simondet of Glencoe.
He was preceded in death by his parents; and his daughter, Greta, in 1991.
He will be sadly missed by his family and beloved wife, Carolyn.
You hit it home, big guy.