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Cletus “Clete” Leo Laures, 79

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Cletus “Clete” Leo Laures, age 79, of Ionia, died Friday, Nov. 17, 2023, at the New Hampton Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023, at Holy Family Parish in New Hampton with the Rev. James Goerend celebrating the Mass.

Interment will follow at St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery in North Washington.

Friends may greet the family from 2 to 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 24, 2023, at Hugeback-Johnson Funeral Home & Crematory in New Hampton where there will be a 1:30 p.m. Knights of Columbus Rosary and a 5:00 p.m. Parish Scripture Service. Visitation continues an hour prior to the Mass on Saturday at the church.

Online condolences for the Laures family may be left at

Clete left behind a legacy of love, courage, and unwavering loyalty. Born on Nov. 7, 1944, in New Hampton, Iowa, Clete was the son of Vince and Ida (Schueller) Laures.

Clete’s formative years were spent in North Washington, where he attended Immaculate Conception Catholic School before proudly graduating from New Hampton High School in 1963.

Following his graduation, duty called, and Clete answered by enlisting in the Navy shortly thereafter. His dedication and skill were quickly recognized, and he achieved the rank of equipment operator first class during his seven years of active duty. Clete served with distinction in the Vietnam War, undergoing two tours of duty.

After his honorable discharge in 1970, he moved his family back home to Iowa and fulfilled a commendable 26 years of total service in the Navy as a reservist.

It was during his assignment at the naval station in the Twin Cities that Clete’s path intersected with that of Mary “Jeanne” Atchison. The two forged a deep connection that culminated in marriage on June 17, 1967, at the Immaculate Conception Church in North Washington. Their journey together led them to various places before finding a permanent home in Ionia.

Clete’s work ethic was a testament to his commitment to his family. He juggled roles as a Navy activist and reservist, a line support mechanic at Sara Lee, a school bus driver, a truck driver for Rausch Bros.Trucking and a provider for Farm Service, where he filled anhydrous tanks.

Clete was a devout member of the Knights of Columbus and the VFW for many years. His dedication to keeping busy was matched only by his passion for and fierce competitiveness in playing cards, earning him the well-deserved title of the “King of Cribbage.”

Outside the realms of work and play, Clete found joy in family road trips across the country and cherished moments spent fishing with Jeanne. While he may have been a man of few words, each utterance carried value and respect, reflecting his character as a loving, selfless, courageous and faithful individual.

Clete Laures leaves behind a legacy defined by the love he showered upon his family, the courage he exhibited in service to his country, and the unwavering loyalty he demonstrated throughout his life.

He may be gone, but the impact of his presence will be felt in the hearts of those who were fortunate enough to know him.

Clete is survived by his daughter, Tracy (Kevin) Geerts of New Hampton, sons, Mike Laures of Rochester, Indiana, and Tom (Sara) Laures of Waterloo; seven grandchildren, Karla Rae Defee Barlow, Bethany Geerts, Abby and Emma Laures, Vincent Price, and Seger and Sage Laures; one sister, Diane (Dave) Brandt of Charles City; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Vince and Ida; wife, Jeanne on Oct. 4, 2023; son, Kenny in 1997; grandson, Mason Geerts; and siblings, Virgil (Kathleen) Laures, Virginia in infancy, Rita (Gerald) Burgart, Marlene (Bill) Weigel, Kenny Laures, Elaine (Roger) Wedeking and Dale Laures.

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