In Memory

Claudine Laabs - Class Of 1962

Bob Mooney has created wonderful memory album of her 15,000+ photos  You may reach Bob at


Deceased Classmate: 1962, Claudine Laabs
Date Of Birth:
Date Deceased: April-9th-2016
Age at Death:
Cause of Death: Cancer
Classmate City: West Palm Beach
Classmate State: FL
Classmate Country: USA
Survived By: Brother Allan Laabs

LAABS, Claudine The Florida wild life photographer and former president of the Audubon Society of the Everglades, Claudine Laabs, passed away on Saturday, April 9, 2016, after bravely battling cancer. Claudine grew up on Singer Island and was a former Riviera Beach High School student and 1960 Riviera Beach beauty queen. She graduated with honors in English from The University of Florida where she also earned an MFA in Photography. After several productive years as a professional photographer in California, she sought adventure farther away from home: she crossed the Atlantic in a sailboat, traveled throughout the Middle East, lived for a while in Paris, and taught for a short time in an inner-city neighborhood in the New York area. She returned to Palm Beach where she had a successful photography portrait studio on Worth Avenue in an Addison Mizner Building. By now a protégé of Nicole Maxwell, she soon focused her camera on roseate spoon bills and Florida egrets. The Florida Everglades National Park and its fauna became her lifelong passion starting in 1981. Though she travelled extensively throughout the Amazon region and Panama photographing birds and other wildlife, leading numerous photographic expeditions to these destinations, the place that was almost sacred to her was the Blue Cypress Reserve. Claudine also had an encyclopedic knowledge of Florida's history, including that of its indigenous peoples. Her friends and family also remember her as a staunch environmentalist who protected the mangroves and estuaries from urban developers and sprawl. Claudine was an urban pioneer purchasing, in the early 1980s, the charming "Key Hole House" in Flamingo Park, a home and a neighborhood she never left, serving, in fact, on Flamingo Park's very first neighborhood association. While an active member of the Audubon Society and establishing a reputation for herself as a "poet among bird photographers" and "a painter with light," Claudine had not a bird, but a rare orchid named after her by Sir Peter Smithers, a British member of Parliament, the Amaryllis Family: Nerine hybrid "CLAUDINE LAABS." Claudine Laabs led her adventurous life on her own terms, and she left it on her own terms, hoping to dwell in eternity in "Pink Bird Heaven." Her passing is mourned by her brother Allan, sister-in-law Judy, two nieces, a nephew and two great nieces, as well as by her close friends and beloved birders and neighbors. Contributions in memory of Claudine Laabs may be made to: Audubon Society of the Everglades, PO Box 16914, West Palm Beach, FL 33416-6914

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05/08/16 05:47 PM #1    

Merilee Tutick (1962)

I am deeply saddened to hear of Claudine's passing.  Merilee

05/09/16 11:15 AM #2    

Nancy E Knight (Thompson) (1962)

Deepest sympathies to Allan.  We lived across from you all on the water.  Claudine was such a vivacious person.  You, Ricky and Claudine great kids to grow up with.  Such talent Claudine had.  My thoughts are with you.  Nancy Knight Thompson

05/10/16 08:48 PM #3    

Felipe Catasus (1962)

Our breakfasts at Barbie's will not be the same without Claudine , I was deeply saddened to learn of her passing , she will be missed by her friends and family.


05/12/16 12:30 PM #4    

Judy Canipe (Lewis) (1962)

I am just hearing and am sad to hear of two Laabs children gone.  i have great memories of coming over to the Laab garage with Dad to see Mr. Laab's work on a boat and, later, Ricky's work on his boats.  Mom had great stories to tell of the artistic work of Claudine.  She blessed me with showing me pictures that she had done and Mom had a great eye for artistry.   Dad brought me over one time since I was the one who knew Ricky and Claudine and I got to see Ricky at work on one of his boats.  Good and happy memories. Judy Canipe-L.

05/14/16 09:18 AM #5    

Herb Lozott (1963)

My sincere sympathy to Allen and the Laabs family. Herb Lozott RBHS '63

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