Larry Freeman Harper was born March 16, 1935, to Leslie Thomas Harper and Ida Broadhead Harper. He passed away peacefully at the age of 86 on Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021, surrounded by his loved ones. His passing was due to his prolonged struggle with the effects of Parkinson’s disease combined with the incidents of age.
He was the youngest of nine children and was doted over and adored by his siblings. At the tender age of eight years old his family suffered a difficult trial with the unexpected loss of their mother. This hardship drew this large family closer together and their love for each other grew even stronger.
Larry graduated from Paul High School where he was a star athlete playing football, basketball, and running on the track team. He had many lifelong friends from Paul High and he was diligent in keeping in touch with them over the years.
Larry loved the land and as a small boy dreamed of being a farmer. He worked hard as a young man and learned all he could from his dad and older brothers. He started farming at the ripe old age of 18, shortly after his marriage to VerRona Hawkes. In 1992, the Minidoka Farm Bureau organization named him Farmer of the Year. Over the years he grew successful crops of wheat, sugar beets, potatoes, and kids.
Mom asked Dad on their first date to a girls’ choice dance and the rest is history. They were married and sealed in the Logan Utah Temple May 28, 1953. They celebrated 68.5 years of marriage and look forward to eternity together. Together, they had five sons and four daughters. Their children were the center of their life. Their family has continued to grow adding 42 grandchildren and 66 great-grandchildren. Dad’s greatest accomplishment in his life was his devotion to his wife and family.
Dad was strict, had a temper, and had high expectations of us. However, he demonstrated his love by showering us with affection and praise, and telling us he loved us. He taught us to work hard and take care of the things we owned. By his example, he showed us how to care for anyone in need around us and he always had a special place in his heart for the widows he knew. He and Mom would visit them often and take flowers at Christmas and for years drove them to Boise to attend the temple monthly.
Larry was a devoted member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was a member of the Paul 1st Ward his entire life serving as bishop, elders quorum president, Scout leader, member of the stake high council and as a stake missionary. Together, he and Mom served two full-time missions. One for 18 months to the England London North Mission and one for six months to Nauvoo where Dad served as a teamster, entertaining the tourists as he drove the wagons around Nauvoo. They also served multiple stake missions and served as temple workers in Boise and Twin Falls. Dad had a tremendous love for and faith in his Savior, Jesus Christ. He exercised the principles of faith, prayer, sacrifice, repentance, and forgiveness within our family and we are forever grateful for his enduring example.
Dad was a pillar in the community and served as a Minidoka County Commissioner for ten years. He was loved and respected by the many friends he seemed to collect from all walks of life. He was a “people person” and made friends easily and once you were his friend he never let go. He was an influence for good among his extended family teasing and teaching his 74 nieces and nephews and their children.
He will be missed greatly by those of us left behind namely, his wife, VerRona; his children, Layne (Donna Mae), Kevin (Tammy), Clint (Vivian), Vicki (Billie Vandever), Laura (Kyle Carpenter), Cindy (Mark Strong), Eric (Vanessa) and Holly (Doug Manning). He will be received in heaven with boundless joy by his Heavenly Parents; his son, Stacy; his parents and in-laws; siblings; daughters-in-law; and a few grandchildren.
We are so grateful for the Plan of Salvation and the sacrifice of Jesus to gain victory over the grave and remove the sting of death.
The funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 12, at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - Paul Stake Center, 424 W. Ellis St., in Paul, with Bishop Brent Browning officiating. Burial will follow at Paul Cemetery.
Family and friends will be received from 5 until 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 11, at Rasmussen-Wilson Funeral Home, 1350 E. 16th St., in Burley, and from 10 until 10:45 a.m. Friday, prior to the service, at the church.
A webcast of the funeral service will be available and maintained at rasmussenfuneralhome.com.