Life Story / Obituary
With a quiet, easy-going spirit, Larry Duane Soules lived his life with humility and gratitude. Never one to require the limelight, Larry was contented by the simple pleasures of sharing time with loved ones, fishing, tending to his yard, and working on his latest project. A devoted husband, father, and grandfather, Larry's big heart and goofy sense of humor will long be remembered and ever so missed.
The 1950s proved a time of increased comforts and exciting new possibilities. As unemployment dropped to 3.3%, the nation additionally celebrated the first direct-dial trans-coastal phone call, easier travel in more comfortable cars and on newly paved interstates, and the premieres of “I Love Lucy,” “ The Day The Earth Stood Still,” and “An American in Paris.” For Royal and Dorothy (Kirby) Soules, the excitement of growing their family was cause for much celebration as they welcomed their son Larry into their hearts and home on February 22, 1950.
The youngest of the four Soules kids, Larry grew up in a house off M21 on the banks of the Grand River, in the good company of his older brother and sisters. From his earliest days, he loved to fish, hunt, and a bit of mischief with his close friends. As a teen, he especially enjoyed fast cars and drag racing. Sadly, the Soules family suffered a tremendous loss when Larry’s father passed away. The loss became even greater just a few short years later when his brother passed away too, leaving Larry, a teen at the time, as the only boy in the house.
Despite the hardships he faced, Larry learned to welcome each day as a gift. He attended Saranac High School and worked on a farm, honing his excellent work ethic. In time, he had the good fortune of being introduced to a young woman from Belding. Vicki Lafferty captured his heart, and the pair were soon a couple setting their eyes on a future together.
A few years after graduating from high school, Larry and Vicki married and settled in Saranac. They were blessed to welcome three daughters into their family. Larry relished in fatherhood and working together with Vicki to create a loving and supportive home for their children. As a father, Larry was easy-going and possessed a delightfully goofy sense of humor. He provided for his family by working most of his time as a polisher/buffer with Blough Metal Finishing, arriving home from work covered in black dust at the end of each day. After showering, he would often disappear to work in the yard. It was a big yard, and he liked it well maintained; he and Vicki had a huge garden, and they spent a lot of time freezing and canning.
The family enjoyed spending time on the river in the summer, where they set up their camper. Larry enjoyed watching his girls run their tubes upstream and floating back down. The girls remember watching how he would totally relax while floating downstream in his tube. Every summer, the family spent two weeks in the Upper Penninsula at Blind Sucker Floodings; it was a rugged two weeks of exploring and enduring the outdoors together. Whether camping or at home, he would take his girls fishing and even tried hunting with them. The girls quickly learned to do things his way, or his frustration would appear. Elizabeth remembers playing catch with him in the backyard when he tried to “toughen” her up by throwing the softball fast. Larry was a great example of how to be one’s own good company. A natural tinkerer, he was content to putter around; he was always willing to try to fix things himself. Larry was an animal lover who always had room in his heart for the cats and dogs his children rescued, typically endearing each new pet with a unique nickname. In his leisure time, he enjoyed watching TV. He was a die-hard Detroit Lions and Tigers fan, and he also loved to catch an old western.
In the early 90s, Vicki was diagnosed with cancer. Despite his own health challenges, including having a kidney transplant in 1981, Larry devoted himself to supporting his wife. Sadly, Vicki passed away in 1993. Vicki passed away in 1995, and in her absence, Larry was called into growing his parenting skills as his girls were all still home. With time, he figured out how to successfully handle the cooking, cleaning, and baking. His bread and cookies were fabulous. The girls also remember his pan-fried fish; there were always bags of fillets in the freezer.
Though quite shy in unfamiliar settings, Larry was fun and funny when in the company of his family. He loved to share stories, fondly reminiscing about Vicki and inspiring much laughter as he told old stories. When his family grew to include grandchildren, Larry proudly took on his new role as grandfather. He especially enjoyed when his grandkids were old enough to share his candy stash, jokes, and go fishing. Like many grandparents, his newfound patience when teaching his grandchildren inspired a head shake or two from his daughters, whose experiences were quite different from their children’s.
In 2004, when Larry’s health struggles continued to grow, and he sold his longtime home. He then spent time living with his daughter, Trish, and a good friend from time to time. Over the last few weeks, his health quickly deteriorated, and he passed away in the hospital. Though it is difficult to imagine life in the absence of Larry’s steadfast presence, may we find much comfort in knowing that he has been reunited with his beloved and is free of the physical limitations he so bravely endured. May we also find comfort in carrying his legacy forward. With each moment we gather as a family, float down the river, cast our lines, or share our candy, we celebrate the many ways Larry gifted our lives. In so doing, we keep his spirit alive and inspiring others as he so inspired us.
Larry D. Soules, age 70, of Grand Rapids and formerly of Saranac, passed away November 16, 2020. He was preceded in death by his wife Vicki; his parents Royal and Dorothy (Kirby) Soules; brother, Richard Soules; and sisters Joann and Judy. Larry is survived by his children Trish (Paul) Mejia; Jennifer (Joe) Lamange, Elizabeth (Erin) Soules; grandchildren Grace and Ally Mejia, Zoe and Gabby Thayer, Autumn and Ariana Lamange, Justin Rojas; and his mother-in-law Carolyn Lafferty. Cremation has taken place.