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Larry Friel

October 7, 1948 - July 5, 2019
Plainwell, MI

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Visitation

Saturday, July 13, 2019
10:00 AM to 11:00 AM EDT
St. Margaret Church
766 S. Farmer St.
Otsego, MI 49078
(269) 694-6311

Service

Saturday, July 13, 2019
11:00 AM EDT
St. Margaret Church
766 S. Farmer St.
Otsego, MI 49078
(269) 694-6311

Contributions


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

St. Vincent DePaul
766 Farmer Street
Otsego, MI 49078
(269) 694-6311

Care of St. Margaret's Catholic Church

Web Site

Flowers


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

Plainwell Flowers
117 S. Main
Plainwell, MI 49080
(269) 685-8055
Driving Directions
Web Site

River Rose
720 Lincoln Road
Otsego, MI 49078
(269) 692-3951
Driving Directions

The Petal Company
108 West Allegan Street
Otsego, MI 49078
(269) 694-7080
Driving Directions

Life Story / Obituary


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Determined as well as hard-working, Larry Friel was a genuine person through and through. A devoted husband, father, and grandfather he savored his time spent with his growing family over the years. Larry lived his life to the fullest by remaining active in his community and serving others. He enjoyed entertaining on the Fourth of July, cheering on his favorite football team, the Detroit Lions, and building both trailers and picnic tables. Always one to hold a positive outlook on life, he will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him.

The 1940s were characterized by WWII. By 1948, the first prefab homes were being built to solve the growing need of the baby boomers and they were cheap enough for people to afford. Televisions were appearing in more and more homes, NASCAR held its first race in Daytona, and the musical South Pacific opened on Broadway. That same year, Alvin and Doris (Wright) Friel welcomed home their newborn son, Larry, on October 7, 1948. Larry’s birth brought great joy to his loving parents.

Growing up on Little Long Lake, Larry lived a typical childhood of the times. One of five children, there was never a dull moment in the Friel household. They spent their fair share of time fishing and swimming as well as sharing the lake with friends and family. Although Larry disliked the academic side of going to school, he loved everything else from the sports to the friendships he built over the years. Born with natural athletic ability, he played football, baseball, and basketball during his high school years. After graduation, Larry signed up for the draft with the United States Army and was denied to start due to an enlarged heart. After fighting the draft board for nineteen months Larry was finally allowed to enlist. He served his country for two years, one of which was in Vietnam.

Not to be forgotten however was Jeannette, the woman who would steal his heart and become the reason he sold his ‘66 Corvette to buy her an engagement ring and a trailer for their first home. She loved the car as much as he did and never let him live it down that she would’ve gladly passed up the ring if it meant they could have kept the car! They were a perfect pair and shared many commonalities including their love of their beautiful home state of Michigan. Joining in marriage on February 4, 1972, at St. Margaret’s Catholic Church in Otsego, they started their lives together. Together they raised two wonderful daughters; Tina and Heather.

As a father, he worked hard to provide for the family he loved. A supervisor at Checker Motors where he remained for a remarkable forty-one years, he was well liked by his fellow employees. His family knew that his love of Michigan sports was important to him from his University of Michigan Wolverines to the Lions as well as the Tigers. Tina, especially, was her dad’s football watching buddy during her childhood years. Traditionally on Father’s Day they would head to a Tigers game and ride home in the back of the pickup truck in sleeping bags! Such a huge Detroit fan, Larry had his own Lion’s den in his basement dedicated to his favorite team! Each and every Thanksgiving the dinner had to be planned at half time to ensure he wouldn’t miss a single play of the game. Win or lose, the most that mattered to Larry was that he was surrounded by those he loved. Most ordinary Sunday games, however, if the Lions were losing, Jeannette knew to take a walk to avoid Larry’s disappointment as on many occasions, he would take out his frustration by trimming trees! Larry was sure to attend each of his daughter’s sporting events over the years and made sure they were actively involved with projects around the house over the years. From roofing repairs to fixing cars, he raised them both to be fiercely independent.

The family shared countless special memories together over the years. They mostly enjoyed camping at the lake together. One such trip led to a very memorable time when the tornado sirens went off. With barely enough time to get to the shelter, the kids had to be tossed through the window before a tree landed right down the hallway of the house and right on top of one of the tents! They also enjoyed many years of snowmobiling and traveling together. As much as he enjoyed his role as a father, Larry was over the moon when he was blessed with grandchildren. He enjoyed being involved with their school and sporting events. The grandkids all loved coming over to swim in their Grandma J’s pool! In much the same way as he helped his own kids, Larry also helped them all purchase their first cars and taught them how to maintain them.

Larry also held many special pastimes over the years. He and Jeannette loved to travel. They visited the east coast as well as traveled to countless Michigan lighthouses. He was also a Euchre fanatic. Anyone willing to play was fair game as he never passed up an opportunity to join in a game or to teach someone to play for the first time. Larry loved working with his hands and over the years put several additions on to the family home. Self-sufficient, he completed a majority of the projects on his own with the exception of any electrical work. In that case, he would call on Danny to help him out! Whenever there was a repair or project, Larry was always willing to lend a hand. Nothing brought him greater joy than to help out anyone in need.

Well known in the area, Larry left a lasting impression on the many people who were lucky enough to know him. There was no doubt that his Jeanette was his everything. The two of them shared a lifetime of happiness and he wasn’t the same after she passed. He leaned on his family for support to see him through as well as his special furry companions. Loving, kind, and generous beyond measure, Larry leaves behind a wonderful collection of memories for his family and friends to cherish forever.

Larry Friel, age 70, of Plainwell, Michigan passed away on Friday, July 5, 2019. Visit with his family and friends on Saturday, July 13 from 10:00 am to 11:00 am with a funeral mass being held on Saturday, July 13, 11:00 am at St. Margaret’s Catholic Church: 766 South Farmer Street, Otsego, MI (269) 694-6311. Larry’s family includes his children: Tina Elyea, Heather (Michael) Raseman; grandchildren: Kaylee, Daniel, Derek, Delaney, Madie; step-grandchildren: Andrew, Owen, and Ian; siblings: Donna Hoffman, Alvin (Nancy) Friel, Danny Friel, and Bonnie (John) Scheidt: as well as several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents: Alvin (Doris Wright) Friel; his loving wife: Jeannette; brother in law: Harold Hoffman; and sister in law: Desma Friel. Please visit Larry’s memory page at www.mccowensecord.com where you can archive a memory or photo and sign his memory book online. Memorial donations can be made to St Vincent DePaul through St. Margaret’s Church in Otsego.

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