With a very thick medical file and after outliving most medical expectations (and down most of one leg) Larry Stordahl of Eau Claire, WI passed away peacefully in his sleep on the morning of September 17th. He was 79 years old.
Larry was born on October 1st, 1939 and lived almost his entire life in the state of Wisconsin. For most of his youth he lived in Chippewa Falls, WI where his family grew with the birth of his younger sister Sue, whom he greatly admired throughout his life. Larry, a born storyteller, would often share colorful phrases of this time when he lived the first part of his youth without electricity and you could have a really good time by spending “two bits” in town.
As a young adult, Larry spent a few years in Vietnam and Korea where, after he was drafted, Larry was in the U.S. Army and worked as a surveyor and helped build an orphanage. Ever humble, Larry downplayed his role in building the orphanage by saying the army had him do it so that he would “stop being a pain in the rear.”
Larry returned to Wisconsin and would earn an English degree from UW- Stevens Point where he also met his good friends Terry Valen and Ken Christopherson. After graduation Larry, who was an avid reader, spent several years traveling the country reading, writing, fishing, and camping while driving a semi-truck and working for a moving company.
In the late ‘60s, there was a teacher shortage so Larry parked his truck at Owen-Withee High School and began his career in education teaching English/Language Arts. He met another teacher there, Patricia White, and they would be married for over 20 years and have two sons, Sam and Luke.
Larry’s teaching took him to Amherst, WI for over a decade before he transitioned into a school administrator and landed in Spencer, WI where he was a principal and superintendent for 17 years. As someone with diverse interests, Larry always thought schools should help kids learn and give them new opportunities. As a result, he was always very proud of the performing arts center built at the school during his tenure.
Later in life Larry found love and happiness with his friend, Anne Rislove. Though Anne died in a car accident before they got married, she always had a special place in his heart. After his retirement, Larry returned to the Chippewa Valley and lived at Banbury Place in Eau Claire. Larry enjoyed getting to know his neighbors and liked the history of his home and the view of Eau Claire from his windows. He spent the last two decades of his life biking around Eau Claire, sharing company with friends, and being a caring and entertaining grandparent to Corrigan, Juniper, Bryar, and Rowan.
Undoubtedly the memories that people treasure about Larry come from the stories and times spent with him. Mostly though, Larry will be remembered for being a kind, thoughtful person, a dedicated and caring father, and someone who enjoyed the company of others while talking about his family, books, stupid politicians, and more – all with a sharp wit and good sense of humor.
Larry’s final resting spot will be at the Natural Path Sanctuary near Madison, WI. He thought it was nice to be able to return to the woods and it was probably reassuring that he’d be close enough to yell at the DPI if he wanted.
Larry is survived by his children Sam (and Cyndi) of Madison, and Luke (and Colleen) of Eau Claire; grandchildren Corrigan, Juniper, Bryar, and Rowan; sister Sue (and John) Pearson of Lawrence, KS; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents Clarence and Lucille and his fiance Anne.
A celebration of life will be held on Sunday, September 22nd from 1PM – 4PM at Irvine Park in Chippewa Falls. In lieu of flowers, memorials are being accepted for a memorial bench to be placed at a park in Eau Claire.