BUTTE – Hundreds filled the cavernous St. Ann’s Church in Butte to honor the life of the man affectionately called the Big Kahuna by his friends.
Lee LaBreche unexpectedly died at age 55 on Feb. 22 while battling influenza. As Butte’s long-serving county coroner, those who worked with him remember the empathy he showed while doing his job.
“Tremendous compassion for people that were going through a rough moment, a rough stretch, when they’re dealing with the loss of someone and Lee was one of the most compassionate people that you’d ever meet,” said Butte Justice of the Peace Jimm Kilmer.
During the service, people remembered his professionalism during dark days on the job and his fun-loving nature when he was off the clock.
“Not only did he care about the job and how it was done, done right, he cared about the people that were left behind,” said Kilmer.
Many students from Butte Central were at Thursday’s ceremony to honor the man who was once the defensive coordinator for the Maroons and was also a teacher at the school. It’s no surprise so many people turned out on a snowy day to pay their respects to such a beloved member of the community.
“That’s just a testament to what kind of guy Lee was. He loved Butte, he loved Butte people and people loved him,” said Kilmer.
Labreche is survived by his wife, Kim, and their daughter, Aleesha.
Reporting by John Emeigh for MTN News