Labay was born in Victoria, Texas on January 2, 1940. He moved to Austin to attend the University of Texas. After graduating the pharmacy program in 1963, he started working with Eleanor and Hilton Nau, who had opened Nau’s at 1115 West Lynn Street in Clarksville in 1951. He married Kathleen Dildy, who he had met during one of his shifts, in 1968 and the couple had two children, Russell and Laura.
In 1972, the Labays bought Nau’s. In addition to the pharmacy, Nau’s had a popular soda fountain, serving burgers, milkshakes, and the like to people in the neighborhood. The retro decor — which barely changed since 1951 — attracted regulars. The pharmacy also had a few moments of fame, including selling a winning lottery ticket to football player Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson in 2016 (which net the store $280,000 — part of which Labay told the Statesman would go to employees’ end of year bonuses), and an appearance in the 2022 documentary, Dear Mr. Brody.
Lambert Labay semi-retired in 2016 due to health concerns, having worked at the pharmacy for over 50 years and owned it for 44. That’s when his daughter Laura took over the ownership. The pharmacy closed the restaurant portion in 2019 but reopened it with the incredibly unfortunate timing of February 2020. The pharmacy closed for good in March 2023, and was sold to an unknown buyer. Laura told the Statesman that her father was sad to close the pharmacy, but was happy he still had his family.
Lambert Labay is survived by his wife and children, his sibling Pauline Leopold, and his cat Annie.