Thursday, June 29, 2017
10:00 AM to 11:00 AM EDT
Life Story Funeral Homes - Rupert, Durham, Marshall & Gren
120 South Woodhams Street
Plainwell, MI 49080
Life Story / Obituary
There was no greater honor for Larry Allen than that of dedicated husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and friend. A man who influenced by example, he set his expectations high, all while being a loving and supportive force in the lives of those he loved. A tireless jokester, Larry always had a joke or two to share yet he could be serious just the same. Larry was a self taught man who trusted his intuition, and worked hard in everything he put his hand to. He went through life ready and always on the go, and looked for enjoyable, fun times at every opportunity. Deeply missed, his legacy lives on in the hearts of those he leaves behind.
Life was forever changed for America in 1941 with the attack on Pearl Harbor. Yet for Vada Belle Griffith-Allen, hope came in the form of a baby boy when she lovingly gave birth to her son, Larry, born on August 2, 1941, in Allegan, Michigan. The first of eventually five children, he was soon joined by his younger siblings, Doug and Glenda.
When Larry was young, his mother married his stepfather, John Cornell. While John supported their family working for the Plainwell Paper Company, Larry’s mother remained at home as a homemaker. To their union, Larry later welcomed the addition of two more siblings, Cork and Kathy.
Like most boys in their youth, Larry found his share of adventure, and mischief, too. He and his friends enjoyed going down to the railroad trestle to swim, often jumping from the railroad bridge like structure that could prove to be quite dangerous. Since he lived so close to the Allegan County fairgrounds, it was nothing for Larry and his buddies to sneak in to enjoy all the festivities. Having attended the local schools, Larry went on to graduate from Allegan High School with the Class of 1959. Following high school, Larry went to work for a furniture company in nearby Holland, Michigan.
It was around this same time when Larry met the young woman who would always hold the key to his heart, Marilyn. They met through mutual friends at the roller rink in Allegan, although Larry was dating her best friend, and Marilyn was dating his best friend! Needless to say, they became quite smitten and eventually ended up together which was only the beginning of many more wonderful times together. After dating for several years, Larry and Marilyn were happily joined in marriage on April 8, 1961 in Bloomingdale, Michigan where Marilyn was from. Together they made their first home in Allegan before moving to Kalamazoo. They also lived in Bloomingdale for a time before settling in Martin, Michigan.
Before long, Larry and Marilyn welcomed the births of four children into their hearts. Kimberly, their firstborn was followed by Kelli, and after Larry came along, Toni completed their family. He supported their growing household as a quality controller for Gibson Guitars. When Gibson moved their operation to Tennessee, Larry began his new career building houses. During this time he also worked for several companies in plumbing sales.
Through the years Larry played the guitar and drums in a country band. Larry also enjoyed his love for building and flying model airplanes and “build, fly, crash, repair…” was his motto. He was a loyal member of the Gun Lake Prop Busters and he enjoyed getting together with the group for breakfasts at the casino every week. An avid card player, especially Golf and Tonk. He also liked playing dominos, horseshoes and shuffleboard. Larry loved the sport of fishing and did so whenever he could with his buddies in Florida. As Florida snowbirds, Larry made many guy friends enjoying their time down south. He and his friends there always referred to one another as, “Hey guy!” or "What’s up guy?” They had each other’s backs too, and if anyone were to mess with Larry, they messed with the entire group of them!
One of Larry’s greatest accomplishments was the family he took so much pride and joy in. When it came to his grandchildren, David Bowden, Joshua Lingbeek, Jeff Smith, Jillian "Jill-Cole" (Joseph) Cangealose, David Smith, Alicia Sebright, Amanda Smith, Jami Kay (Jeremy) Szymanski, Billy LaFountaine, and Abbie “Jo-Bean” LaFountaine, Larry was truly in his element. He loved having them over, especially during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays as they really brought out the kid in Larry. This was a longstanding tradition in their family until Larry and Marilyn began spending the cold months of winter in sunny Florida.
Larry absolutely loved teasing the grandkids and told them the silliest jokes they had ever heard! They even began calling them, “Grandpa Jokes.” It warm Larry’s heart to be the grandfather of ten wonderful grandchildren. He was exceptionally fond of his great-grandchildren including Tyler, Natalie, Mitchell, Nolan, with a baby girl on the way, and Riley, Jacob, Sophie, Asher, Hannah, Dawson, and Lily. There was never a doubt when it came to the heart of Larry. In fact, he even remained close to his former son-in-law, Phillip Lingbeek of Plainwell.
With his “on-the-go” personality, Larry loved traveling during the summers. It never mattered to him, where, because Larry just simply loved to go! He was particularly fond of visiting Branson, Missouri and a trip out west when the kids were young created memorable times. When it came to cooking, Larry was known for his Goulash with green peppers. The kids hated green peppers, and they’d tease him that he did it just because they disliked them. He also made great chili and fish. When making breakfast, he would always ask them how they wanted their eggs, even though he had already started to scramble them!
Larry was a bit of a germaphobe. He liked things clean, and when he ate, he liked knowing where it came from. This part of his nature once found him putting $1,500 in the microwave. When he received the cash from the teller, she had a cold so he thought the microwave would sanitize her germs. It not only “sanitized” the money, but it caught the bills on fire! When he took the money back to the bank to replace it, he told them he had "hidden" it and one of grandkids turned the microwave on.
A “tell it like it is” type of fellow, Larry Allen was always the jokester but he had a quiet, contemplative side, as well. Once he set his mind to something, there was no convincing him otherwise. Ever loving towards his family, Larry was the type of man anyone could rely on. Deeply missed, Larry will be remembered always in the hearts of those he touched.
Larry Allen, age 75, of Martin passed away on 6/22/2017 surrounded by his family in the comfort of his home. Visit with his family and friends and view his life story film on Thursday, June 29 from 10-11am at the Life Story Funeral Home, Plainwell; 120 Woodhams St. (685-5881). A funeral service will follow at 11:00 at the same location. Left to cherish his memory are his wife of 56 years, Marilyn; his children: Kimberly (Dan) Richardson, Kelli (Gary) Elrod, Larry (Irma Bowden) Allen, Toni (Bill) LaFountaine, and forever son-in-law Phillip Lingbeek; 10 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren with another on the way; and siblings: Doug (Marilyn) Allen, Glenda “Punk” (Jim) Joseph, Cork (Jolene) Cornell, and Kathy Elenbaas; as well as several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents Vada and John Cornell. Larry was a very giving man and was always happy to help anyone at anytime. He was always there for his children and grandchildren; family was the most important thing to him. Please visit Larry’s memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can read his life story, archive a memory or photo, and sign his memory book online.