Tom Laub was born June 22, 1928 in the German-Russian section of Fresno, California to George and Catherine Laub. Tomís German grandparents on his fatherís side, had settled in Fresno in 1903, after immigrating from Laub, Russia in the Volga River area.† These hard working settlers took pride in their community, and were involved in the areaís politics.† They soon became dedicated members of the Fresno Fire and Police Departments. Tomís mother was a member of the Danish Community, who married his father in 1926.† She soon left the marriage and Tom was reared by his Father George, Grandmother Anna, and Grandfather Johannes.
At a very young age, Tom was fascinated by the lives of soldiers and sailors, and began putting together his own collection of toy war soldiers. He attended movie theaters in downtown Fresno, and loved to see all of the action war movies.††
Tom began his formal education in Germantown, but soon moved to the eastside of Fresno, where he was enrolled in John Burroughs Elementary School.† After completing the sixth grade, Tom attended Roosevelt Junior and Senior High School.† In those days in Fresno, it was possible to attended one school for six years.
When Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7th, 1941, Tom was 13 years old.† By 1944, the war became more and more a part of Tomís life.† He traveled to San Francisco and enrolled in the Maritime Service at the age of 16.† Tom was sent to Santa Catalina Island for training as a member of the U.S. Coast Guard.† He was then assigned to Portland, Oregon where he joined the crew of the Durham, a Victory ship.† Tomís first job was to be in charge of Officers Mess aboard ship. The Durham sailed to Aberdeen, Washington where it was loaded with all grades of ammunition.† The ship set sail for the South Pacific where it remained.† During this time, Tomís ship was engaged in the Naval Battle at Leyte Gulf.† The Durham loaded and unloaded munitions the entire time it was stationed in the South Pacific.† On one exciting evening, his ships armed guard shot down a Japanese Kamikaze Aircraft that was headed in their direction.
Tom returned to Fresno and re-enrolled at Roosevelt High School; graduating with the class of 1946.† He then enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was assigned to the Naval Air Station on Hawaii, where he remained for 2 years as a loading supervisor.
Upon completion of his Navy career Tom again returned to Fresno.† He enrolled at Fresno State College, receiving a Business Major and History Minor B.A. Degree in 1952. While attending Fresno State, he met his wife Muriel, and they were married in 1951.† They had 2 sons, Tom II, David, and one daughter Deborah, who was tragically killed at an early age.
During his business career, Tom and his family spent 12 years in Modesto and 5 years in Sacramento.† In 1967 the Laubs returned to Fresno, where Tom spent 20 years in the window sales business. Tom enjoyed his time volunteering at the Veterans Memorial Museum, which is the national home of the Legion of Valor.† He especially enjoyed working with children and the many museum visitors.
He is missed by all who knew him.