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William "D'Grouch" Laubengayer Memorial Build logo
IVHFH is gathering the community to pay tribute to a man who played an integral role in helping 104 local families build safe, affordable, permanent homes with Habitat for Humanity. We invite our community to join William Laubengayer’s family, friends, and his Habitat family to honor him by participating in the William “D’Grouch” Laubengayer Memorial Build. Through this project, a duplex home being constructed in Iowa City, William will bring affordable homeownership to two additional Habitat families, impacting the lives of 106 total households. The future homeowners will put down roots in their new homes and William’s memory will forever live on through a structure that serving as lasting stability for their families—leaving a legacy of hope, stability, and joy.

William Laubengayer was generous with both his time and resources to support our work and you can be part of his legacy by making a contribution and/or volunteering:

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About William Laubengayer

If you’ve been on an Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity construction site any time in the last 25 years, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve run into D’Grouch. William “D’Grouch” Laubengayer helped build over 100 Habitat homes with our affiliate—104 to be precise. William passed away in December of 2020, and we would like to take this time to honor the incredible man that he was.

William was always a bit of a legend around the Habitat offices. He’d been with the affiliate much longer than any of our current staff members and many of our volunteers. That coupled with a nickname like D’Grouch might have caused one to be a bit intimidated upon meeting him. However, getting to talk to and work alongside William, it quickly became clear that the self-imposed nickname was a bit of a misnomer. Grouch was a stickler for quality. Double- and triple-checking Construction Manager Christy’s measurements—often to wryly announce that she was off by a 64th of an inch—wasn’t out of the ordinary. If he was stern, it was because he wanted Habitat homes to be the best, pushing us to exceed code and permit requirements. Grouch wanted Habitat homes to be the highest possible quality, and he knew it could be done.

William was also an endless fount of knowledge that he was always happy to share. Countless Habitat volunteers and homeowners know the proper way to use a tool, the most efficient way to use materials, and the importance of not being done until it’s done right because they learned it from him. Grouch donated his personal shop’s tools to Habitat so that we could open D’Grouch Workshop in 2017. For years to come, Habitat volunteers will continue to learn important construction knowledge in a space built to honor him.

In the spring of 2017, William was one of three Iowans that year to be inducted into the Iowa Volunteer Hall of Fame. As a part of the nomination process, we did the math on all the time he has given over the years, and the numbers were staggering. In his 25 years with IVHFH, Grouch averaged 1,000 volunteer hours each year. On paper, or in a day planner, that looks like a lot of time. In reality, that looks like so many walls raised, volunteers taught, and families in safe, quality homes. Not to mention relationships built and smiles and laughs that were the result of a classic Grouch joke.

While this loss is impossibly difficult to bear, we vow to keep William’s spirit alive. We will continue to honor volunteers that go above and beyond with the annual William “D’Grouch” Laubengayer Award. We will continue to instill in others the values he has instilled in us. And we will always remember that beneath that gruff exterior was a heart so filled with love, so filled with compassion, who we were blessed to know in this life. To William.

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Location / Venue

  • Address:
  • Blazing Star Drive
  • Iowa City, IA 52240
  • USA
Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity logo
In Support of Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity
We envision a world in which each person has a decent place to live. Locally, we partner with both current and future homeowners, local businesses, residents, and social service organizations to construct and renovate safe, decent, affordable housing in Cedar, Iowa, Johnson, Louisa, and Washington Counties.  We also secure affordable financing so that homeowners in our program save thousands of dollars over the life of their mortgage.   Globally, we work to remove barriers to decent housing by supporting Global Village trips and tithing to Habitat for Humanity global builds.  Together with our community, Habitat homeowners gain the strength, stability, and self-reliance needed to build better lives and stronger communities.