Loss of Longtime Resident Brings Outpouring of Support
By Susan Thompson
It’s been more than eight months since Kim Lubeck died while waterskiing on Lake Panorama. Lubeck had been diagnosed with Lyme disease, after being bitten by a deer tick in his Lake Panorama backyard earlier in the year. An autopsy stated his death was caused by a sudden cardiac event, with a likely link to Lyme disease.
Kim and his wife, Maureen, were married in November 1974. During their years together as a part of the Panora and Lake Panorama community, they’ve had an impact on many people and organizations, in many ways.
Family, friends, and former customers of Panora Oil Company were devastated by Kim’s sudden death. He owned and operated the service station on Panora’s main drag for 42 years before retiring in 2016. Even then, he continued his towing business until the last few months, mainly because he felt obligated to help people in need.
At visitation, people lined up at Twigg Funeral Home, some standing in line for up to three hours to pay their respects. Twigg officials told Maureen it was the most people ever to attend a visitation there. The following morning, St. Cecilia Catholic Church was filled to overflowing for Lubeck’s funeral service.
Many people gave generous memorial gifts to demonstrate their love and respect for Kim. The way those funds are being used will not only keep his memory alive, but serve as reminders of the many ways he had an impact in the community.
Kim was active in many area groups. One was the Friends of Lake Panorama. At the time of his death, he was in his second year as a member of the Friends board.
A few days before his death, a group of volunteers installed rocks on a boulder wall surrounding a rain garden at Panorama West. The rain garden is a Friends of Lake Panorama project established in June 2017. Kim and the other volunteers made quick work of the rock installation, then joined around a clubhouse table for refreshments, good conversation, and plenty of laughs.
The Lubeck family designated Friends of Lake Panorama as one of the places memorial gifts could be given. At the family’s request, funds received were used to purchase and place an 8-foot metal bench at Boulder Beach. The bench is attached to a large concrete pad, and positioned with a perfect view of the lake and Boulder Beach.
The family chose a bright blue color for the bench. They also chose the wording for a memorial plaque on the bench – “In Memory of Kim Lubeck, A Life Well Lived.”
LIONS CLUB PROJECTS
Lubeck was an active Panora Lions Club member for many years, and the club was another organization the family suggested as a place for memorial gifts. About $1,000 was given to the club in Kim’s memory.
A few years ago, club member and treasurer Gary Freeland started a golf tournament at Panorama West, held each Memorial Day weekend to raise money for the Guthrie County Veterans Memorial. Once that project was complete, Freeland and Lubeck decided to move the tournament to the fall, with proceeds used for projects the Panora Lions support. That first fall tournament was held in 2018.
“Kim did a great job helping with the tournament,” Freeland says. “He was the first person to get hole sponsors, and really helped promote it. Kim loved the Lions organization, and was a very active member. His death just a couple of weeks later was very hard on all of us.”
Freeland said when options for a 2019 tournament were discussed, it was an easy decision to name it the Kim Lubeck Memorial golf tournament. Held May 4, the tournament boasted a full field of 18 four-person teams, with additional teams having to be turned away. Many people donated items for an auction, raffle and door prizes. Others donated items for a meal following the golf, to keep expenses down.
More than $3,000 was raised. At the club’s June 6 meeting, members voted to combine one-third of the proceeds from the 2019 tournament with earlier memorial gifts to do something in honor of Lubeck. The rest will be used for Lions Club projects Kim eagerly supported—such as vision screenings for young children, student scholarships, and programs managed by the Lions International Foundation that help families in times of natural disasters.
The 2ndannual Kim Lubeck Memorial Golf tournament is scheduled for May 2, 2020. Once again, one-third of the money raised will go into a Kim Lubeck Memorial Fund for a special project of interest to the Lubeck family.
Phillip Lubeck lives and works in New Zealand. An avid scuba diver, he is part of that country’s Coast Guard water rescue team. After his father’s death, Phillip encouraged Maureen to see if there was some equipment that might help with water rescues on Lake Panorama. LPA staff research came up with a floating backboard system, which the Lubeck family reviewed, then purchased with funds given in memory of Kim.
Jerry Armstrong, LPA Security chief, showed it to members of the Panora Fire Department at their meeting May 6. The backboard is made of heavy plastic that can be rolled up similar to a sleeping bag. The board includes inflatable packs on the sides and front. Once a person is secured to the backboard with a series of straps, the inflated packs keep the backboard afloat, plus ensure the person remains face-up in water.
All needed equipment comes in a large orange bag. Besides water rescues, where the victim needs to be pulled from the water into a boat, the backboard also can be used to drag a victim across land. A training session on how to use the backboard will be held at Lake Panorama in the near future.
Maureen Lubeck spoke to the firemen at their May meeting. She said if they find the backboard works well, a second one will be purchased. The Panora Fire Department has 24-hour access to LPA security boats, so if a kit is needed and LPA security officers haven’t yet arrived, the devices still will be available to rescuers.
“I hope these never get out of the bag,” Lubeck told the fireman. “But odds are it will be needed, and if so, we will be happy we could help make it available.”
Kim enjoyed riding a bike, and he and Maureen incorporated bike rides when they traveled to new places. During the 42 years their service station was open, bikers often stopped to get air in their tires or get Kim’s help for a mechanical issue. When the station closed, bikers along the Raccoon River Valley Trail (RRVT) that passes a couple of blocks away were left without a ready source of help.
Daughter Courtney Rogne, who lives with her husband and three children in Cresco, came up with the idea for a stand-alone bike fix-it station. Maureen Lubeck took a newspaper clipping of a bicycle repair station to Jason Tuel, vice president of Panora State Bank, and a member of the RRVT board. That’s when she learned the idea of adding repair stations to the trail already was under discussion.
Currently there are repair stations in larger towns along the 89 miles of the trail, but none in the smaller towns. At the RRVT annual banquet February 23, Lubeck presented a donation to cover the cost of a fix-it station in Panora. It was installed in late May along the trail near PJ’s.
The station includes all the tools necessary to perform basic repairs and maintenance, from changing a flat tire to adjusting brakes and derailleurs. The tools and air pump are attached to the stand with stainless steel cables and tamper-proof fasteners. Hanging a bike from the hanger arms allows the pedals and wheels to spin freely while adjustments are made.
Prior to the RRVT banquet, Janet O’Brien donated funds for a repair station in Yale in memory of her late brother, Bill Barks. Members of Team Curbside, a Panora-based bicycle club, donated funds for a station at the Herndon trailhead. Donations collected at the banquet were enough to also purchase two more repair stations, which will be located in Cooper and Redfield.
Donations still are being accepted for the remaining eight RRVT trailheads without bicycle repair stations. More information is available by calling (515) 465-3577 or online here: https://raccoonrivervalleytrail.org/become-a-friend-of-the-trail
Kim Lubeck loved being outdoors, with nature hikes a favorite pastime. He and Maureen explored some parts of the Appalachian Trail in April 2018. Later that summer, he and son Phillip spent several days on the trail in the Great Smoky Mountains.
Phillip has lived and worked in New Zealand for nearly eight years for that country’s Ministry of Primary Industry (MPA). The government agency oversees several sectors, including fisheries and forests. In 2018, it launched an initiative to plant one billion trees over the next 10 years.
As Phillip’s colleagues searched for a fitting memorial gift for the Lubeck family, they discovered a tree planting initiative in the Great Smoky Mountains. Ironically, it’s part of the Nature Conservancy’s global effort to plant 1 billion trees by 2025. The group’s $200 donation made possible the planting of several trees, which now are pinpointed for the family on an aerial map.
Maureen Lubeck has managed the Panorama West pro shop and clubhouse for six years. During those years, Kim often was called into action to help with a variety of maintenance items. In 2018, he helped course superintendent Brandon Waddle take down and remove a large dead tree near the tee box on the eighth hole.
The Lubeck family wanted to donate a tree to be planted somewhere on the golf course, and turned to Waddle for help choosing a location. “I think about Kim every time I drive past that spot where we took down that tree,” says Waddle. “It seemed like the perfect place to plant a new one in his memory.” The family agreed, and the tree was installed in early May.
A list of sayings Kim reviewed each morning during a time of Bible study and prayer was read at his funeral. Here are a couple of samples. “Being kind is better than being right.” “Sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.”
And there is this—“Love heals all wounds.” Those who loved Kim Lubeck have made it possible to add items in the Panora and Lake Panorama community that will benefit others for years to come. Hopefully, in some small way, this love will help heal the wounds caused by losing this kind, gentle man.