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For almost half of his life, Lee LaBreche served Butte-Silver Bow County and its citizens in the utterly thankless role of coroner.

We lost Lee, suddenly and far too soon, Friday evening. He had been suffering from influenza.

“He was a big guy with a huge love of Butte and her people,” Sheriff Ed Lester said as he notified media of Lee’s passing. “His passing is a huge loss to our community.”

The sheriff could not have said it better, and he is certainly right that the loss of Lee will be felt sorely by many here.

LaBreche had many deep friendships from living his entire life in The Mining City. But the truth was he was so kind and good-natured that he made friends instantly.

He saw much that was hard to handle in his job. The toughest part of it, he would say, was notifying relatives. The cumulative distress of that must have been a very heavy load. But he was irrepressibly friendly and cheerful, and did his job with grace and professionalism.

We will miss you, Lee. Thank you so much for your service to all of us in Butte-Silver Bow County.

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