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Opal Lane Laak PDF Print E-mail

Opal Lane Laak, born on Aug. 19, 1921, was a feisty and friendly person to everyone she met. She could easily defeat you at cribbage, Catch Phrase or Scrabble while knitting the perfect winter mitten complete with an extra-large thumb.

A graduate of Eagle River High School, she spent many of her days working hard in Waukesha with memorable trips to the Milwaukee Zoo.

Armed with a razor-sharp wit and a great set of gams, she met her match and married Robert in 1945: a tall, handsome man who loved beer and baseball in the fashion of a true Wisconsinite.

In 1966, she and Bob threw their belongings and their four kiddos in the station wagon and headed to the North Woods to become owners of a little resort that spilled onto the shores of North Twin Lake called the Lakeside (now known as the Great Escape) and proudly served many a vacationer and hometown patron alike until 1979.

And even though in 1983, Bob (and eventually all her dashing brothers and smart sisters) went to save Opal a seat by the Big Guy’s side, she still managed to travel all over the country with road trips to the West Coast, and the hot and humid South.

Opal cannot be remembered without recalling midnight dinners of pan-fried fish — after all, her trunk was never without her picnic gear and fishing poles. Or how she loved birds and neatly staked out the perfect location for hummingbird feeders.

She told it like it was right up until the end when she instructed her physical therapist to “get bent” and sternly sent her loved ones out of her hospital room before it got dark because she was concerned about everyone making it home safely.

Her memory will be vividly kept alive through stories and laughter by those who survive her which include her son, Robin Laak; daughters, Jane Hanson and Dawn Stickel; and son, Kevin (and his wife, Kathy) Laak.

Opal also had a slew of doting grandchildren: Chelsie (and Devin) GawneMark, Mike (and Kazie) Laak, Dan (and Jessica Betjen) Laak, and Emily and Amy Stickel.

Just a few days from her 92nd birthday, she also racked up an impressive lineup of amazing great-grandchildren: Jude and Cahill GawneMark, Jacqueline and Brooklyn Betjen and Addison Laak.

Condolences may be expressed at

Arrangements by Gaffney-Busha Funeral Home in Eagle River, Wis.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013 4:52 PM

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