Lorell R. LaBoube died January 30, 2013, surrounded by family and friends after a four-month struggle with cancer. He was born September 29, 1956 in Berger, Missouri, the seventh of eleven children of Ralph H. and Josephine F. (Rolf) LaBoube. He was a devoted husband to his wife Diane (Soderquist) and father to his step children, Stephanie and Tim. After graduating with a BS in Public Relations in 1980 from the University of Central Missouri, Lorell honed his on-air radio skills in Sedalia, Mo., and then held communications positions at Menorah Medical Center, the Metropolitan Medical Society, and CCG. He served as Director of Communications for the Center for Practical Bioethics since 2004 and for nearly a decade his professionalism contributed to the field of bioethics and advanced the work of the Center. In 2009, under his direction, the Center launched The Bioethics Channel and Lectures in Bioethics, using his well-known radio voice and journalism talents to develop an extensive library housed on the Center's web site. Hundreds of his podcasts, lectures and other materials on a variety of topics in bioethics are archived on issues ranging from aging, advanced illness care, under-treatment of pain, life sciences, research ethics, disparities and clinical and organizational ethics. His 240 plus interviews with ethics leaders locally and around the world are used in bioethics courses nationally and internationally. He was known for helping his guests tell their stories even better than they thought they could and was appreciated by all he interviewed. Joe Fins, MD, former president of the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities said, "Lorell was the voice of bioethics." This body of work will be his enduring legacy with more than 135,000 downloads in the first three years and more than 33,000 downloads in 2012 before his illness curtailed their production.
Lorell expanded the Center's public profile in the news media and online. The Center has been featured in media placements from the New York Times to the Kansas City Star to National Public Radio. The Center's website, www.PracticalBioethics.org, under his direction attracts tens of thousands of visitors a year and the Center's social media presence continues to grow. In 2012, he received a PRISM award by the Kansas City Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America for his work in podcast communications.
Lorell was also a longtime member of Toastmasters International, and for many years, Lorell hosted Health Talk on KMBZ radio, a weekly hour-long interview/call-in talk show modeling civil discourse on medical topics. In fall and winter, he could be heard on 610 Sports Radio during broadcasts of high school football and basketball games. He loved telling the stories of the athletes he covered and he followed their post high school careers with interest. Growing up near St. Louis, Lorell was an avid (some would say rabid) Cardinals fan, a fact readily apparent upon entering his office at the Center. But nothing in his office had more prominence than photos of his beloved wife of 15 years, Diane, his step children, Timothy and Stephanie and grandson, Christopher who arrived in late December 2012.
He is preceded in death by his parents and brothers Dale and Kevin and survived by his wife, Diane and stepchildren, Stephanie Paulson (Jon) and grandson Christopher and Tim Bruner (Deanne), and his siblings: Donald (Patricia), Jerome, Leon (Carroll), Vernon (Evelyn), Kathleen Laune (John), Deanne Theissen (Delbert), Lisa Payne (Tom), and Jacqueline Sparks and many nieces, nephews and grand nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions to the Center for Practical Bioethics to continue his legacy of communications excellence.
Lorell has been described as a man with a kind heart, a gentle soul, and a naturally upbeat outlook even in the last months of his life. He never forgot his roots in Berger, wore a suit and tie to work every day and was courteous and friendly always. His unique radio voice captivated listeners, young and old, and his ever-present smile reflected his love for family, friends and colleagues. The Center and the field of bioethics has lost an irreplaceable voice. As he said countless times on The Bioethics Channel, "This is Lorell LaBoube, signing off….".
Visitation will be held on Saturday, February 2 from 6- 9 PM at D.W. Newcomer's Sons Overland Park Chapel. Funeral services will be held Sunday, February 3rd, 2 PM, Atonement Lutheran Church, 9948 Metcalf, Overland Park, Kansas 66212. Contributions may be sent to Center for Practical Bioethics/LaBoube Communications, 1111 Main, Suite 500, Kansas City, Missouri 64105.
Fond memories and condolences for the family may be left at www.overlandparkchapel.com (Arrangements by D.W. Newcomer's Sons Overland Park Chapel, 8201 Metcalf Ave, Overland Park, KS 66204. (913) 648-6224).