Larry Flegal, husband of Mary Patnoude Flegal, dad of Judy, Jill, Anne, and Joni, and grampa of Mike, Mark, Larry, Molly, Randy, and Bobby, died on October 13, 2013, at the age of 91, a week after a massive stoke ended his nearly century-long journey.
With no hope for his recovery, his family chose to give Larry end-of-life care in the comfort of his country home near Plainwell, Michigan, where his final days were spent in a room overlooking their yard and woods as the autumn leaves drifted down around them.
Larry was born in 1922 in Kalamazoo, Michigan into a musically talented family. He was the son of George and Mary McDonald Flegal; brother of Helen, Corrine, MaryLee, Donna, Jane, and Richard; cousin to the Bonnells and the Flegals, and to the musically gifted Derksens and the scrapping Morans. He was Uncle Larry to many, including Barb Bodfish Gracia, Connie MacLeay Dekker, the Patnoudes, and the Daughertys. His love was far-reaching and his friends were legion.
Larry was a singer. He sang in the high school glee club and also formed his first barbershop quartet during that time. He was singing with the Stuart Haas Band at Summer Home Park on Long Lake when he met his future wife Mary. He never proposed to her, just told her they were getting married and that they would have “little girls.” He was right. They were married for 72 years and had four loving daughters.
WWII began shortly after they married, and Larry served in the Navy aboard the USS DeHaven. After the war he carried mail for 31 years, estimating that the miles he walked as a letter carrier equaled 2-1/2 trips around the world.
Larry and Mary loved traveling throughout the U.S. and Canada beginning in the 1960s. They bought land near Estes Park in 1970 and hosted family camp-outs there each fall until recently. They spent some of their favorite wedding anniversaries in the Willow Park Ranger Patrol Cabin in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Larry was a golfer who had an amazing 11 holes-in-one, including one at the Estes Park 9-Hole Course. His strength was legendary, as was his handshake.
He loved mountains, animals, wilderness, home, and above all, his family. He often told Mary, “You are my everything.”
In 1971 he climbed Longs Peak with his brother-in-law Preston Patnoude. They laughed so at the fact that they didn’t need to wipe their noses when passing through The Keyhole. The wind blew so hard that nose-wiping was unnecessary. Those two friends always saw the humor in the world around them.
Larry continued to enjoy singing throughout his life. He had the honor of singing with the Glenn Miller Orchestra while he was in the Navy. In 2002 he sang at the Navy Memorial in Washington DC at a son-in-law’s Navy retirement. He often sang the National Anthem at hometown high school sporting events during the 1990s and as recently as 2012 when he was 90. He sang with a barbershop chorus, The Mall City Harmonizers, for the past 16 years and was chosen Barbershopper Of The Year in 2003 and 2008.
Larry is survived by his wife of 72 years, Mary; daughters Judy and Jerry Shumaker of Michigan; Jill Flegal and Nick Johnson of Estes Park; Anne and Dennis Kirby of Michigan; and Joni and Curt Haggard of Virginia; his gentle dog, Summer; six grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; seven grand-dogs; three sisters and a brother; four sisters-in-law; many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. He was also survived by an aunt, Bessie Derksen, age 100, who died two weeks after Larry died.
Memorial donations to The Pet Association of Estes Park would honor Larry.