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  • WisBar News
    March 10, 2023

    Myron LaRowe: A Leader in Service to Bar, Profession, Community

    It is with sadness that the State Bar of Wisconsin reports the passing of Past President Myron LaRowe on March 10, 2023. LaRowe served in leadership positions in the Bar and in his community of Reedsburg throughout his career.

    Shannon Green

    Myron LaRowe

    March 10, 2023 – Leaving a legacy of leadership in his profession and community, Myron LaRowe, U.W. 1965, passed away early in the morning hours on Friday, March 10, 2023.

    LaRowe, 83, a longtime small-firm Reedsburg attorney, was past president (1981-82) of the State Bar of Wisconsin, and active in many State Bar leadership roles throughout his career – most recently on the State Bar Senior Lawyers Division (SLD) board of directors.

    LaRowe, said State Bar President Margaret Hickey, always brightened the room when he entered. “He was engaging and fun to talk to,” she said.

    In addition, he was the consummate professional, and gave years of service beyond his presidency with the State Bar. “More importantly, he was a genuinely good person. We will miss him greatly,” Hickey said.

    LaRowe, says State Bar Executive Director Larry Martin, was “a dear sweet man who leaves many friends and family who will undoubtedly miss his wonderful presence.”

    LaRowe leaves an enduring legacy to his community, the legal profession, and to the State Bar. “His engagement and leadership in the State Bar spanned his entire legal career,” Martin said, including serving on the Board of Governors five separate times, and as recently as this past year.

    Find out more about the type of leader LaRowe was in this recent column by Martin in the June 2022 issue of Wisconsin Lawyer magazine. In his column, Martin writes that “Myron will tell you, ‘You’ve got to give back. The profession has opened doors for me that would never, ever have been opened. You have to stay active. I’ve really enjoyed it.’”

    A Reedsburg Lawyer

    LaRowe retired in 2018 after 53 years of practicing law with LaRowe Gerlach Taggart LLP, with offices in Reedsburg and Sauk City. He practiced in corporate law, estate planning, probate, and nonprofit organizations.

    Admitted to the State Bar in 1965, he was also admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1981, to the U.S. Tax Court and U.S. Claims Court in 1979, and to the Indiana State Bar in 1980.

    Even after retiring, he continued his service with the State Bar, including as president of the Senior Lawyers Division. He was dedicated to his local community, serving on the governing council of his church and as a member of its foundation board of directors, as chairperson of the Sauk County Revolving Loan Committee, as well as other community-based boards of directors.

    Larry Martin presenting Myron LaRowe with the 2021 President's Award

    State Bar Exectutive Director Larry Martin presenting Myron LaRowe with the 2021 President’s Award for his lifetime commitment to the profession.

    Legacy: Lawyer Referral and Wellness

    In 1978, as chair of the State Bar's Lawyer Referral Committee, LaRowe helped to launch the Lawyer Hotline, where volunteer lawyers answered consumers' simple legal questions over the phone or steered them to the Lawyer Referral Service if appropriate. "It was an attempt to make the system more accessible to people," said LaRowe at the time. "We basically had one phone in the old headquarters. I'd be down there to work the phone for a few hours, and other attorneys volunteered. We staffed it that way for quite a while."

    Under LaRowe’s tenure as State Bar president, the organization’s Lawyer Referral and Information Service went statewide, helping thousands of Wisconsin residents in need of legal services find qualified attorneys. The hotline and referral services continue today, both now under the umbrella of the State Bar Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS) via the "I Need a Lawyer" LRIS​ webpage on In 2021, program assistants received 24,858 contacts that resulted in 12,735 referrals.

    As State Bar president, LaRowe appointed a special committee to examine funding mechanisms to help pay for legal services for the underserved using lawyer trust account funds. In his presidential columns during his presidential year, it is clear that he cared deeply about colleagues, overseeing the development of a new professional liability insurance program for State Bar members and a new Lawyers Assistance Program that would help them with health and wellness issues.

    LaRowe’s Reedsburg office was hit by a flood when the Baraboo River overflowed in 2018 – shortly before his retirement. He shared the story with the State Bar, saying that he stood guard in his office because it could not be locked due to running sump pumps out the back door through one night until the firm’s flooded basement was bailed. It was the second time the office had flooded – 10 years earlier in 2008 the Baraboo River flooded and filled the basement with water. “We had not stored any files down there,” LaRowe said. “That was the lesson we learned from 2008. But you really have to be prepared for the unexpected.”

    LaRowe was also an author. In April 2021, LaRowe wrote an article for the SLD “Blog of Experience” about lessons from the past, saying that “we must adhere to the certitude that facts and truth matter.”

    2016 presidential swearing in ceremony

    From 2016, Myron LaRowe (back, first from left) joined with other past State Bar presidents to welcome then newly sworn in president Fran Deisinger. Front, from left: Greg Conway, Gerald O'Brien, Michelle Behnke, Gary Sherman, and Pat Ballman. Back, from left: Myron LaRowe, Tom Basting, Gerry Mowris, Steve Sorenson, John Skilton, Bob Gagan, Ralph Cagle, Fran Deisinger, Tom Sleik, and Diane Diel. Past-presidents attend the presidential swearing in ceremony to help "pass the gavel."

    Reminiscences from Past Presidents

    News of LaRowe’s passing prompted recollections of him from State Bar past presidents who worked with him:

    • “It was my privilege to have shared nearly 50 years as a close friend of Myron and the LaRowe family. Myron nominated me to be Board of Governor’s Chair during his presidency. It was a time of a wonderful transition of the State Bar. Myron had a vision of public service that lawyers should provide to the communities in which we practiced and beyond. Myron’s legacy as a lawyer and LEADER should and must endure and continue as a reflection of the influence which implanted upon all privileged to know him and beyond.” – Frank Gimbel (1986-87)

    • “He was eager to do all he could to help out, improve the legal profession, and share his leadership skills. We are better for having Myron in our lives.” – Thomas S. Sleik (1992-93)

    • “I was privileged to know Myron. In addition to his professional accomplishments, he will be known and remembered as a kind, caring, and welcoming person. A good citizen. A fine man. May each of us be remembered that way.” – John Skilton (1995-96)

    • “This is a loss for the entire profession and his community.” – Michelle A. Behnke (2004-05)

    • “Myron was special. He and I worked together on several matters. He was a born leader, always gracious and kind. Rest in Peace, my friend. You will live on in our fond memories of your extraordinary life,” Thomas J. Basting Sr. (2007-08)

    • “Myron was a good man and Bar leader who continued involvement beyond his elected leadership and throughout his life.” – James Brennan (2011-12).

    • “He was unfailingly kind, sincere, and helpful in all our interactions. I envy those of you who knew him longer than I did. I always looked forward to being with him, and I will miss him and his ever-present smile. Godspeed to a good man.” – Fran Deisinger (2016-17)

    • “Myron was so welcoming to me when I came onto the Wisconsin Law Foundation Board as the Young Lawyers Division representative, probably 35 years ago. We stayed active together in the Law Foundation, and it was always a pleasure to be with him. We had some great discussions of the practice. I will miss him dearly.” – Cheryl Daniels (2020-21)

    See Myron LaRowe's obituary for information on his visitation, funeral,​ and celebration of life gathering.

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