Otto Karl LaBudde died unexpectedly in his home Sunday, June 9, 2013.

He left Plymouth, Wis., with his family in 1978 and headed for California to look for their share of the gold. It was there he found it, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains where he and his wife built their own log cabin. Jack of all trades, master of most, he was an artisan at heart whether he was working with a horse, throwing clay, crafting in his shop, growing a cactus or whipping up some- thing in the kitchen.

He spent his best years living in the home he built with his wife. He enjoyed great days and nights up on Papa’s Rock, many of them spent with his children and grandchildren. They all have great memories of hiking to the top on New Year’s Eve or camping overnight at one of the customized campsites he had built along the trail to the top of his property, also known as “Payne’s Peak,” an infamous outlaw hiding spot for stagecoach robbers during the Gold Rush – a fitting setting for those of you that knew Otto, because he never lost that wild side.

He taught his children to make their own decisions. He was quick to listen and first to lend a hand whether it was helping a neighbor, driving to fix a leak at his son’s water company, helping to build his children’s homes, or just offering some practical advice. He was always there for his children, and continued that tradition with his grandchildren, living close enough to both families to have been able to see countless sports events, dance recitals, talent shows, and to be able to burn rubber around the homemade racetrack with the go-karts he’d built for them.

He was a devoted husband, a great dad and papa, and better yet a friend and confi- dante to his kids and all who knew him. A card he once received reads, “And while the dad went around bragging about his kids, his kids went around bragging about their dad.” That about sums it up. Printed words cannot describe Otto; he was larger than life, and he was “our rock.” We hope that we can lead lives as full of love, laughter, and respect as he did – that would be a life well lived. Amen.

He is survived, loved and missed so much by his wife Julie, children Gerry and Carrie, daughter-in-law Heidi, son-in-law Will, grandchildren Hannah, Griffin, Katy, Gracie, Riley, and great-grandchild Kaydence, and his brother Tom.

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