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Obituary of Henry Elwood LaBrie Jr.
Henry Elwood LaBrie, Jr. (Chip), 69, passed away peacefully on October 5th at his home in Port Charlotte, Florida. He was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, friend, colleague and so much more to those who had the joy and privilege of knowing him. He left a positive impression on everyone he met. Born on April 17, 1954, in Easton, Maryland, Chip was the son of the late Betty and H. Elwood LaBrie, Sr. He grew up on Dominion Road in Chester, Maryland as the middle child of three. He worked hard from an early age and developed a knack for putting those around him at ease, a trait he would carry through the rest of his life. Chip was known for his kindness and generosity, his need to stay busy and his love of family. His handyman skills were legendary. If he couldn’t build or fix something, it likely just needed to be replaced. His warm smile could light up a room. His dry sense of humor was unparalleled. He liked to surprise his loved ones with gifts he knew they would love but would not buy themselves. He had a face with dimples that led his wife to refer to him as “her very own Tom Selleck.” In 1982 he married Jane, with whom he enjoyed 42 years of love, laughter, and treasured memories. They lived first on Kent Island and then Queenstown, where Chip helped build custom homes for his family over the years, including a log cabin. Later, they moved from the Eastern Shore of Maryland to the Gulf coast of Florida. Together, they shared five children and nine grandchildren. They built a life revolving around family and friends, hosting big holiday celebrations and in recent years often loading up the pontoon boat for a day at the beach. As a father and stepfather, Chip was a pillar of strength and support to Nick, Michelle, Tara, Tory, and Justin. He had an uncanny ability to connect with children and was loved for his calm and accepting communication style. He always gave the impression that his own prodigious talents were unremarkable, but he delighted in his children’s every small accomplishment. Nothing fazed Chip. He knew and believed that things would always work out, because he would make sure they did. Chip offered guidance, love, and unwavering encouragement. When a grandchild asked if Pop-Pop could build a castle, we envisioned a toy one, like a dollhouse – until he sent photos of a life-sized structure in progress; turrets and all. “Will this work?” he asked. This was typical of their Pop-Pop, who was an avid attendee at their games, concerts, recitals and never missed a chance to delight a grandchild by letting them drive the boat, ride in the golf cart, play pool basketball, build a treasure chest, or whatever else struck them as fun. Pop-Pop was many things; he was not a guy who said no. Chip was perpetually active. He loved baseball (especially the Baltimore Orioles), softball, and basketball, and played in many leagues as a child and adult. Baseball was his favorite and his position was always third baseman. He wore #5 just like his longtime hero Brooks Robinson. Through his life, he was a seafood salesman, a business owner, and a retail salesman at several hardware stores. There was no one better suited to help. At work, when he was assigned to outside duties in the Florida sun, his daughter asked if he couldn’t work inside instead. His response was typical: he really didn’t mind, and he liked being out where he could talk to people. His children remember the fun of going with him to deliver seafood to restaurants when they were young, the easy rapport he had with his customers, and his remarkable sense of direction – Chip could navigate anywhere without a map. His quiet life in Florida was peaceful and fulfilling. He enjoyed soft crabs, grilling, and coconut cream pie for any celebration. Chip carried a multitool on him in case he needed to help someone fix something, and he kept his favorite crab knife in his truck, just in case of a spontaneous crab feast. He enjoyed watching Perry Mason and Andy Griffith reruns and sitting on the lanai with a mug of coffee and his dogs. Chip is survived by his loving wife Jane; his children Nick LaBrie (Teira), Michelle Matthews (Guthrie), Tara Floyd (Jim), Tory Taylor (Josh), and Justin LaBrie; nine grandchildren (Frances, Alex, Becky, Alaina, Laila, Henry, Jay, Gideon, and Emmett); his brother Jimmy LaBrie and sister Janice Duty; many nieces and nephews and other close family and friends. He leaves behind a legacy of love, kindness, generosity, and laughter that will be remembered and cherished by all who knew him. Details for an informal gathering to share memories of Chip will be announced at a future date. For those wishing to honor him, donations can be directed to Suncoast Bassett Rescue (https://suncoastbassetrescue.orgTo send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Henry LaBrie Jr., please visit Tribute Store