Monday, February 21, 2011

THE LIFE OF LOU TABAT, CONSTABLE OF LAS VEGAS and BOXING JUDGE

Uncle Lou and me at the MGM Las Vegas
Today, at 5:55 PM, I received this text message from my ex-husband: "Uncle Lou died today." I felt a stab in my heart and a depth of sadness I hadn't felt since being blindsided by divorce in July.

Uncle Lou, a retired boxing judge, and the Constable of Las Vegas for 30 years, was my husband's mother's sister's husband, and not even a blood relative, but he was one of those souls that gets under your skin. He was cheerful and kind to everyone; always ready with a sweet word or cheesy joke. And he would never arrive for a visit without a pocketful of Virgin Mary coins, angel pins, rosaries, Lord and Savior pinkie rings and other chatchkes from Catholic bookstores.

He also came equipped with authentic-looking Constable and Sheriff's badges for the kids.

When I first visited his home in Las Vegas, I was amazed to see there were plastic flowers growing in the flower bed. This was the home he shared with his second wife Mary, my husband's aunt. They divorced shortly after this, and were both in their eighties! I used to pray they would just see the good in each other.

A year later he met the love of his life, Ann. They met at Church and spent the next eight years laughing at each other's jokes and appreciating each other. Ann was much younger, in her sixties, but she was just the tonic he needed. I have never seen such a happy couple.

Rest in Peace Uncle Lou. We love you so much. You are our HERO!! The most wonderful, loving man. I wish I could have had more time to tell you how much I admired you and adored you.

Lou Tabat leaves his beautiful wife Annie, my adopted grandparents. Here is an article Annie Tabat wrote for the Las Vegas Review Journal a couple of years ago:


There is some good news in Las Vegas by Ann Tabat

Las Vegas - The other day I realized that each and every day we read the Las Vegas Review Journal there is a great amount of news which is very sad and discouraging. Many people are going through tough times, but I know someone who can see a brighter side and believes that we — as Las Vegans and Americans — can weather this storm and come out on top again.


Louis Tabat has a long history in Las Vegas. He was born on a farm in Appleton, Wisconsin near Green Bay. He signed on at 18 to join the Army Air Corp, which ultimately became the Air Force. For twenty years gave his undivided attention to his service and country and career. He was in the Second World War and the Korean War — and was also involved in the Berlin Airlift Missions. With great luck and many blessings he came back to the States unharmed and intact. He was one of the lucky ones. During his service to our nation, his growing family and devoted wife stood by his decisions. Before he left the Air Force as a Master Sergeant, while serving at Nellis Air Force Base, he prepared to take care of his family and remain in Nevada, the state he had grown to love.


He came out of the service with great pride and just in time to open Lou’s TV Store when channel 8 was coming in and the population of Las Vegas was about 42,000. It was a time when tubes, service and antennas were needed and the Service had taught him well. He had this store in North Las Vegas and saw much possibilities as he had been taught discipline and hard work. He loved people and was liked and known and asked to take a shot at running for Constable of Clark County.


His answer to this challenge was positive and why not? He knew how to serve and to work hard and he had integrity and the belief that Americans can do anything if they set their mind to it. He believed in Las Vegas and the system — and most of all — in the good people here.


Louis Tabat ran for office and served 6 terms, comprising 24 years as Constable of Las Vegas. He loved sports but was never able to take the time to participate and so read the books and learned the rules. As a community servant he reached out to the youth in activating sports and helping youth to see their potential. Dale Reid and Senator Harry Reid were good friends and supported his efforts.


Along the way he got involved as a boxing judge and was privileged to judge persons such as Muhammed Ali, Boom Boom Mancini, Mike Tyson and many other greats of their time. Joe Cortez is and was an amazing Referee whom he admires. They have kept their friendship through the years.


Lou has not opened any parks, nor is his name on any buildings — but he is a real part of this Las Vegas and America.


At 86, he is now retired. But he can't go anywhere, even into the fancy new hotels such as The Venetian,  The Wynn, The BellagioThe Palms or the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino without getting a warm greeting from those who were involved with his many projects. He was a very respected man for his integrity and his interest in all that goes on around him.


Lou believes that we must see more positive things at this time in our city and in our world.


He thinks we should share with the neighbor who just lost his job, that "two for the price of one" turkey you got for Thanksgiving. And maybe if we took out the old set of checkers and the deck of cards, the family could get together.


His theory was always to do his duty when serving papers to the unfortunate but to be sure to cause the least amount of pain. He Chief Deputy for years Russ Arville was a great asset and they still remain friends in contact. His secretary Karen Hall still calls and sees him and he her.


Lou keeps his Rolodex near and updated to call Kay DeNeal, retired Highway Patrol, Joe Cortez his good friend, and many more who are still a good part of his life and memories. If you are not at home he leaves a hello message and tells you he is just remembering you for a good hello.


Lou’s mottos are things like don’t get upset as what do you have to gain. Be proud to be an American, build America and buy American.


He likes now to make “reservations” and enjoy a lunch out with his friends and to make new ones. He will be sure to make the waiter or waitress smile and not only tip them proper but tip his hat as they say , When you come back ask for me as it was a pleasure to serve you.


Let’s all think about not how big we are but what it is we will leave behind in the minds of our friends and fellow citizens.


When we leave our smiles and a reminder to someone else that they can make it not matter what it takes then we have done a good service.


I am his wife and I really see him for what he is. We wish for all of you a better New Year, more positive thinking, more thinking of each other and most of all to know that there are more of you out there that can make a difference in these very difficult times. We often forget the tough times because they were tough but we did come back up and we are stronger people for it.


GOD BLESS AMERICA, THIS TRUE LAND OF OPPORTUNITY AND REMEMBER LAS VEGAS IS A PART OF IT AND SO ARE YOU.