Life Story / Obituary
Larry Skinner was a wonderful husband, loving father, and a compassionate grandfather. A man with an enormous heart, he loved everyone selflessly and unconditionally. To know Larry was to know a man of true integrity who kept his word and never held a grudge. He longed to make people laugh! His warm personality and wonderful sense of humor will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered by all who knew and loved him.
The 1940s were characterized by WWII. Much of this decade was spent in a battle for a way of life that the country and western powers had spent two centuries building. Some of the most significant inventions that would impact lives for many years to come were created during this time period including the Transistor and the Mobile Phone. William Everett Jr. and Charlotte Elizabeth (Potter) Skinner were delighted when Lawrence Herbert arrived on July 31, 1946, in Kalamazoo. His birth brought his parents great joy and happiness. Born the oldest of three children he was later followed by his brother and sister, Dana and Jane.
Larry’s childhood was divided between Kalamazoo, Tucson, Arizona, and Rankin, Texas. Known to find solace in the great outdoors, as a young kid he was active in 4-H. He had his own horse named Star. Living a typical adolescence of the times, Larry managed to keep himself busy with his wide variety of interests. Attracted to the temperate climate of the midwest, after graduation, he returned and settled back in Kalamazoo by 1964. He went to work for his Uncle Herb Potter in the heating/cooling profession and soon met his first wife, Marilyn Breithaupt. They were married in 1967 and had two beautiful children, Julie and Steven, but Larry and Marilyn later separated and divorced. As a father, Larry was a great provider. He worked as a Field Coordinator for SBC/AT&T Communications or more than thirty-four years where he was very well-liked by his co-workers.
Larry soon met Mary Lawson and one of the greatest days of his life was the day they joined in marriage on December 22, 1989. The two of them shared many commonalities and enjoyed each other’s company. His easy-going personality made him a naturally good dad and later a grandfather. As a father and grandfather, Larry wanted nothing more than to ensure that his family was well cared for and they had every opportunity to be successful. He retired from SBC/AT&T in 2004.
After an early retirement, he and Mary shared many wonderful years together enjoying their favorite pastimes. They enjoyed traveling in their motorhome and seeing many of the wonders of this great country. They especially enjoyed heading out west. Blessed with wonderful grandchildren, they would often take them along on one of their trips, enjoying many special moments together. As a grandpa, he loved to spoil them. He looked forward to taking them to the latest movie or loading them up for vacation! Larry wanted nothing more than to share in the type of childhood he had where the journey was the goal, not the destination. He often liked to take his time on the road stopping off whenever they wanted. He and Mary were proud of each of their grandchildren and were delighted to accept great-grandchildren into the family over the years.
Larry loved to seek new ideas and knowledge and question the world around him. He was an active member of the Pontiac Classic Car Club and owned his own 1967 GTO Post Coupe and 1986 Trans Am Convertible. He loved to show them off from time to time and kept them in mint condition. He was very proud of them and enjoyed frequenting car shows over the years. When it came time to relax, Larry enjoyed watching sports and anything on the History Channel on television. He had so much to offer and look forward to during his upcoming retirement years. Sadly, he is gone and his many wonderful memories will remain in the hearts of his special family and many close friends forever. There is no doubt that he will be deeply missed. May his loved ones find comfort in knowing that his love for them is eternal.
Lawrence "Larry" H. Skinner, age 72, of Portage, Michigan died on Sunday, March 3, 2019, at Lake Harris Health Center in Leesburg, Florida. He was a long-standing member of St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church in Portage. Members of his family include his loving wife Mary, children; Christine (Richard) Molenda, Julie (Jamie) McDonald, and Steven (Stacy) Skinner. He was cherished by his five grandchildren; Emily, Leah and Luke Skinner; Jessica (Nicholas) Slates and Kelly Molenda, and his two great-grandchildren; Cali and Mia Slates. Also surviving are his mother, Charlotte and step-father Donald Ideus and his sister Jane (Thomas) Sellers, plus several cousins, nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father, William E. Jr. and step-mother Jean Skinner, his brother Dana Skinner and step-son, Peter Anthony Merz. Visit with family and friends Sunday (MAR. 10) from 3PM-5PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Dr., Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Monday (MAR. 11) at 11AM at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church, 1150 W Centre Ave, Portage. A luncheon will follow the service in the church hall. Burial will take place at West Cooper Cemetery. Please visit Larry’s personal webpage at www.BetzlerFuneralHome.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign his online guestbook. Donations may be made to a charity of your choice.