Memorial services for Larry M. Hess, 64, Lawrence will be held at 4:00 p.m. Sunday, March 11, 2018, at Liberty Hall, 644 Massachusetts Street in Lawrence. He passed away unexpectedly Thursday, February 8, 2018, at his home.
Larry was born July 18, 1953, in Lawrence, Kansas the son of Albert and Helen (McCall) Hess.
He married Catherine Winters on December 1, 1973, in Lawrence, Kansas. She survives of the home. They were friends from his age of 12, dated off and on throughout junior high and high school.
Other survivors include his parents, Albert and Helen Hess; his children, Jacob Hess (Eva Nelson), Jeremy Hess (Erica Hunter), Bethany Hess, Adam Hess (Catherine Meihaus) and Sarah Hess (Patrick Sedo) all of Lawrence; grandchildren, James Sedo, Samuel Sedo, Collin Adams, Benny Hess, Hunter Hess and one on the way; his brother, David Hess (Becky) of Arkansas, sister, Lisa Goetz (Maury) of Boise, Idaho; and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his brother, Dale Hess (Mary Luanne Hess).
His family jokes he was a serial hobbyist. He enjoyed so many diverse activities; he played the banjo and guitar, painted landscapes, built model trains, historical model ships, airplanes and cars with his children and now his grandchildren, was an avid photographer and bodybuilder for a time, scuba-dived, golfed, restored his first sailboat in his driveway, owned a second larger sailboat then moved up to a 35-foot cabin cruiser that he and Catherine spent many a weekend on at K Dock at Rock Creek Marina, Perry Lake. He rebuilt, restored and rode motorcycles beginning in his teens. He was an avid enthusiast of Harley Davidson and Corvette. He recently restored a 1972 Stingray. He built furniture and completely remodeled the family home from re-plumbing and rewiring to building kitchen cabinets, bars and book cabinets, discovered and restored oak floors under carpet, built mantles, laying tile and countertops. He added an airless paint system in his garage and repainted his truck and his Harleys. There was not a room in their home that he did not touch or alter in some way to make it better.
He found happiness in his family, especially his children and grand-children, and all his “extra” children who found their way into the Hess household, often living with the family when they had nowhere else to go or just adopted him as a surrogate dad, good ear, a quick smile or frown and dispenser of common sense and reason. He had a quiet wit, often speaking zingers when no one expected.
Larry began his plumbing career as a plumber’s helper in his teens, then as a Union apprentice and Journyman plumber. He and Catherine moved to a 60-acre self-sustaining farm in Jefferson County in the 70’s where by necessity and mostly hilarious mishaps they both learned how to grow their own food, milk cows, aid in birthing baby pigs and use wood heat. He and Catherine purchased an ice manufacturing plant in Eudora, Kansas in the early 80’s followed by a second plant in Lawrence, both of which were combined in Lawrence, as Heartland Ice Company. They sold their business and Larry went back to plumbing in 1989. After plumbing again for a few years he started applying to become an extra board firefighter for the City of Lawrence and was hired in 1994. He served as an extra-board for approximately 3 years while still plumbing. He was hired full-time and earned the rank of Engineer, EMTI. He continued to work for Stuart Plumbing Company on his off days from firefighting and was perplexed that he would be tired after working an 80-hour week. Larry retired as a firefighter in December 2014. His latest business venture was as a Master Plumber and plumbing contractor, owning and operating Excel Plumbing Company, LLC. He often told others that he would work until he died. He did work a full day on February 8 – he was right.
He was a man of great faith and strength. He lived hard, he loved hard, he laughed hard and he was taken too early. His family believes there was not a thing or person he touched that was not better for it. They will miss him forever.
Memorial Contributions may be made in his name to American Cancer Society and Zion International Ministries, Inc. and may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary.