In accordance with his wishes, cremation has taken place through the care of Simple Choices, Inc. The Laba Family has chosen to honor Roman in a private way.
Donations may be made in Roman’s memory to: Razom, Inc., World Central Kitchens, or any organization that is providing humanitarian aid in Ukraine.
Obituary of Roman Laba
SCHENECTADY - Roman A. Laba died on December 5, 2022. He was born November 20, 1944, in Germany, to Tymotej Laba and Olha Laba, nee Kokorudz, coming to America in 1949 as a Displaced Person. He is survived by his sister Lidia Pasamanick of Schenectady, cousins in the US and Ukraine, as well as his former wife Elisa Moskowitz. After graduating from St. Mary’s Institute in Amsterdam NY in 1962, Roman earned a BA in History at Fordham University in 1967. In 1989, he earned a PhD in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His dissertation was entitled The Roots of Solidarity: A Political Sociology of Poland’s Working Class Democratization which was published by Princeton University Press in 1991. Subsequently, he published articles on Solidarity and the New Russian Cossack movement of the 1990s. Arriving in Poland in July 1980 as an IREX and Fulbright Scholar, a few weeks before the strike at the Gdansk shipyards, he began documenting the history of Solidarity, accumulating archives. This led to his being expelled by the Polish Communist regime on November 11, 1983. Ten year later, he was present in Moscow during the assault on Parliament ordered by Boris Yeltsin. \He was at that time a Visiting Professor at the Russian Humanities University in Moscow. In addition to teaching at the University of California, Santa Cruz, The Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey CA and Hudson Valley Community College, he held research positions at George Washington University for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies, the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and the Russian Research Center at Harvard. A lover of mountains throughout his life, Roman was a world class mountaineer, climbing in North and South America and in Europe. He began to develop his skills and endurance rock climbing in the Shawangunks while attending Fordham. In 1967, together with three other climbers, he put a new route—the American Direct Route-- directly up the center of the south face of Denali. He shared this passion for the mountains with his hiking companions, locally and abroad, and at Jiminy Peak as a ski instructor over several winters. For many years he organized and led avid hikers in the mountains of Europe. A month before he fell ill, he returned from a season in the high peaks of the Pyrenees, Swiss Alps and the Dolomites where he had had a fantastic summer filled with great conversations, wonderful friends and beautiful mountains. With his fluency in several languages, he was able to discuss politics, books, movies, and poetry with everyone he met on his treks. He was tireless storyteller, with an unending supply of anecdotes. His passion for life and his gift for friendship made him beloved by his family and friends in the US and Europe. Roman is missed. In accordance with his wishes, cremation has taken place through the care of Simple Choices, Inc. The Laba Family has chosen to honor Roman in a private way. Donations may be made in Roman’s memory to Razom, Inc., World Central Kitchens or any organization that is providing humanitarian aid in Ukraine. Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared with Roman's family, online at: SimpleChoicesCremation.com