Larry Quam committed most of his life to Douglas County.
After 19 years as Douglas County Sheriff’s deputy and 17 years working in the jail, he retired as an administrative sergeant. During retirement Quam continued to serve his community as a member of the Douglas County Board.
On Thursday, June 18, fellow board members honored the life of the man who joined the Douglas County Board of Supervisors in 1998 and was just elected to his 12th term in office in April.
Quam, 86, died Sunday, June 7.
County Board Chairman Mark Liebaert said the last time he talked to Quam, he was planning to attend the June 18 meeting where a single white rose stood in his place. Supervisors shared memories of the longtime advocate who was known for his intelligence and concern for others.
“He never complained; he always had a smile,” said Supervisor Pat Ryan who served on the Health and Human Services Committee Quam chaired. “He was just a super guy to work with. He had very intelligent questions, and he knew what he was talking about.”
Quam was a lifelong resident of Superior and earned a bachelor’s degree in political science at the University of Wisconsin-Superior in addition to taking graduate-level courses in psychology and classes at Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College.
He married his wife, Yvonne, in 1954. Together they raised five children, had 13 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. They were married for 65 years.
“His wife was always by his side,” Supervisor Keith Allen said. “Yvonne was always there … I think she was his rock.”
But it’s his advocacy that supervisors say he will be remembered for
“He liked going to Superior Days and doing his part there,” Allen said. “He advocated well for the county.”
“He cared about his constituents,” Ryan said. “He cared about the county. He cared about the city. He was just an outstanding supervisor.”
But Liebaert remembers Quam long before he ever joined the Douglas County Board. In Liebaert's youth, he played for the Cardinals and his dad served as a coach. Quam was a coach, as well.
“Larry was one of them coaches you don’t see a lot of nowadays,” Liebaert said. “He was a supporter of kids, a good person to teach ball. Between Larry Quam and my dad, the love of ball continues today. I’m the oldest guy playing in the county league.”
Liebaert said replacing Quam on the board isn’t going to be easy.
“He was a great person to bounce things off of,” Liebaert said. “He was always honest with you. He was supportive of decisions the board made, sometimes hard decisions … they were always made conscientiously and with a lot of forethought on Larry’s part.”
With the county board on hiatus in July, Liebaert said a new board appointment isn't likely to occur until August.
Ryan agreed that it will be hard to fill Quam's shoes.
“He was always concerned about the people,” Ryan said “He’s going to be missed greatly, and he’s going to be very hard to replace.”