Stormy Kromer fans pick Laura Mae Beaubien as 2013 Living Legend. She responds with stunned silence.

Laura Mae BeaubienWhen she heard the news that Kromer fans from all over the world had picked her to be the second-ever Stormy Kromer Living Legend, 80-year-old Laura Beaubien had to set the phone down for a minute, and not just because she was shocked to the point of speechlessness.

“I wanted to win so badly—not for me, but for the man I was married to for 60 years. This is Harold’s award, too,” said Laura, of the husband she lost to cancer in September. “And I sure am thankful my son [Robert] put in all that effort nominating me. He said he ‘went through a lot of Kleenex’ getting it all written down. I’m so thankful, so blessed, so humbled.”

According to Robert, his mother earned Kromer Legend status thanks to all the hats she wore while raising him and his five siblings.

“Nurse… Beauty Queen… Financial Planner… Pageant Coordinator… Sheriff… Warden… Teacher… Rancher… Mom… and Loving Wife…” Laura was all these things to her family, and she followed it faithfully from the small town in Michigan where she and Harold met, to a sprawling cattle ranch in Oregon, where the couple retired.

“Oregon is where I live, but Michigan will always be my home,” added Laura. “When we went back a few years ago to visit, we stopped in Ironwood to tour Stormy Kromer. But when we asked for directions, the girl at the visitor’s center told us the factory wasn’t open on Saturdays. There was a man standing a few feet away who said, ‘I’m Bob. I’ll give you a tour.’”

That man was Bob Jacquart, owner of Stormy Kromer, and the personal tour was something the Beaubiens never forgot.

“I’ll be honest, when I was growing up in the 1930s and 40s, I didn’t realize my dad’s cap was a Stormy Kromer,” added Laura, “I just thought it was the cap that everyone wore.”

Laura’s family is still closely connected to the Kromer brand. Her kids are outfitted in all the outdoor gear, plus she even has a pair of Bob-Jacquart-autographed Kromer can koozies. And since mountain weather can dip into the double-digits-below-zero, Laura knows what it means to bundle up.

Her Living Legend prize money will help her do just that—and then some. In addition to a $500 Stormy Kromer gift certificate, 3% of Kromer sales between Januray 7th and  Januray 31st will go to Beaubien’s charity of choice: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

“We are so excited that Laura won,” said Gina Jacquart Thorsen, Kromer VP of Marketing and Sales. “She is a strong and beautiful person—genuine, authentic and deserving of the Living Legend title.”

When asked for advice on how to live like a legend, Laura responded, “Oh, golly. I don’t know. I didn’t go out and win a war or do anything famous. I just took it one day at a time, kept my faith, and did what needed to be done.”

Part of doing that is sharing this honor with her late husband.

“Harold isn’t here, but he is here. And this is his memorial.”