Jerrold (Jerry) Laux, who with his brother Dean started The Laux Company and was the long-time publisher of The Hearing Journal, passed away on Friday, January 12, after a long illness. He was 88.
According to his obituary, Laux was born in New York City and grew up in Dalton, Mass. After graduating from high school in 1947, he attended St Louis University and went on to graduate from the University of Miami with a degree in Philosophy. He was drafted during the Korean War and served two years in the US Army before receiving an honorable discharge in 1955.
Laux owned and operated a bookstore in Springfield, Va, for several years before joining his brother Dean in The Laux Company, a publisher of trade magazines in the fields of medicine, sports, and travel. Jerry sold advertising space in several magazines before being named Publisher of The Hearing Journal, the company’s leading publication in the field of hearing technology. Over a period of several years, Jerry quadrupled the advertising revenue of HJ and became a very influential figure in the hearing aid field spanning three decades. Upon his retirement in 2009, he was honored by the Hearing Industries Association (HIA) with the the organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the field.
“Jerry came to the hearing aid industry at a time of great growth, due to changes in audiology practice and technological advances,” wrote Carole Rogin, longtime executive director of HIA, to Hearing Review. “While he was on the road selling advertising for his magazine, he was also selling inclusion and the importance to all new companies of joining HIA. The association created an award just to recognize him for that and will miss his good humor and his commitment to hearing healthcare.
“The hearing aid industry and the world will be a sadder place without Jerry,” continued Rogin. “He was one of the most optimistic and inclusive people I ever met, and HIA was certainly the beneficiary of both of those attributes of his.”
As editor of The Hearing Journal, David Kirkwood worked closely with Laux for nearly 20 years, and the two became good friends.
Kirkwood told HR, “Jerry was a hard-working, supportive colleague. But what I remember above all was what great fun he was to be around. To know Jerry was to like him. His positive attitude, his warmth, and his genuine enthusiasm for life were infectious. Whether he was dancing or playing tennis, enjoying a good meal or schmoozing with visitors to our company’s exhibit booth at conventions, he made others glad that he was there.
“I especially remember how much Jerry loved to laugh—a big hearty laugh—not infrequently at his own expense, for Jerry was never one to take himself too seriously.”
“However, he was serious about the field in which he worked for 30 years. I think his own words, spoken in accepting the 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Special Equipment Distributors, best expressed Jerry’s feelings.
“He said, ‘As I got to know this industry and the people in it, I was drawn into an involvement and a dedication to it that I never experienced in other fields. There is a sense of community, a feeling of family. What is most important is that it is a caring industry.’”
“Jerry fit right into that, because, along with all his other good qualities, he was a very caring person—toward his family, his friends, and to those he worked with. And we cared about him—and will miss him sorely.”
Jerry played football in high school, college, and in a semiprofessional league, and he had a lifelong love of sports. He was a sportscar and racing enthusiast, and it is said that he drove his own car accordingly for many years. After his retirement he took up golf and loved to discuss his scores and adventures in lively detail. He was also an avid tennis player and continued to play up until the last three years of his life.
He is survived by his loving wife, Marilyn, two sons (Bradley and Jeffrey) and two stepsons (Christopher and Thomas Niedzinski), his brothers David and Dean, three grandchildren, and many other family members and friends. Services will be held on Wednesday, January 17, at the Holy Trinity Parish of St Theresa the Little Flower Church in Harvard, Mass. For more details, see the full obituary here.
HR thanks Marilyn Laux, David Kirkwood, and Carole Rogin for their assistance with this tribute.