Saturday, May 27, 2023
11:00 AM EDT
Second Congregational Church
525 Cheshire Dr NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
1 (616) 361-2629
Visitation from 10 AM until start of the service.
Life Story / Obituary
Larry Pontremoli was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather. A hard worker and a lover of all people, Larry was a friend to many and a stranger to none. He never seemed to have a hard time meeting new people and making everyone he met feel comfortable in his presence. He leaves behind a warm collection of fond memories for all who knew and loved him.
There is no doubt that WWII had a significant impact on the 1940s. Many basic items such as sugar, butter, meat, and gasoline were rationed to ensure that everyone’s needs were met. It was a time of great turmoil in our nation. By 1945, Andrew and Anna (Cargill) Pontremoli welcomed home their first son, Lawrence Andrew, on June 16th in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Followed by three more siblings, his birth brought great joy to the family home.
Growing up on Hanchett Avenue NW on the west side of town, Larry lived a typical childhood of the times. He spent a lot of his time outdoors and enjoyed playing with the neighborhood crowd. From an early age, he loved cars. The louder and faster the car the better, in his opinion. However, having a loud and fast car was one strike against him dating his high school sweetheart, Mary Carlson. They met in tenth grade and had similar friends. Their first date was in June of 1963 in Spring Lake. They hit it off right from the start! As a matter of fact, due to Mary and Larry being born only two days apart and in the same hospital, they often joked that she had her eye on him from day one! The happy couple married on August 8, 1954, at her parent’s home. They welcomed home two lovely daughters, Cheryl in 1965 and Amy in 1970.
A strong provider, Larry took good care of his family. His career started with his work at the Sunoco station where he worked while attending high school. He later started sweeping floors and was a delivery driver for a tool and die company. His strong work ethic landed him an offer for an apprenticeship with the company. Larry remained a tool and die maker for many companies in the area. He specialized in problem-solving and instruction. Toward the end of his career, he taught classes at Grand Rapids Junior College. Mary enjoyed working for AAA Insurance.
As a father, Larry held high expectations for his children. He taught them his same work ethic and the idea of never cutting corners by taking pride in their work on any project or endeavor. They were held to house rules including curfews. Although he was a man of few words, the girls always knew where he stood on things. Larry instilled in them the values of being honest and direct and wanted nothing but the best for them.
As a family, they enjoyed taking their 25 ft Sea Ray on trips to local lakes, the river of Grand Haven, and Muskegon Lake to tube or swim. They also enjoyed vacations to Siesta Key, Florida, and Disney. A large majority of their memories came from camping together. They started out in tents and moved up to a pop-up camper, and eventually cabins. As a grandfather, his rules loosened up a bit. Each Wednesday when he watched the kids, their first stop was McDonald’s followed by learning how to play Cribbage instead of getting their homework done. They did their homework in the car on their ride home! Larry also attended numerous softball and volleyball games to cheer on his granddaughters. It was evident to all that Larry's family meant the world to him.
As hard as he worked, he played equally as hard! He would pack plenty of adventure in any amount of time he had off from work over the years. Larry especially savored his time at the family cabin and hosted deer camp with his father. He was thrilled to include his sons-in-law as their family grew. He wouldn’t miss time at the cabin for anything even if it meant getting released from the hospital only two days prior to leaving! The memories at the cabin were always worth it to him.
A great cook, he was famous for his stuffing and mashed potatoes. Although he started his day with a plain donut and coffee with cream and sugar, his favorite meal was steak and potatoes. Larry was never in a hurry when it came to food. He took his time and enjoyed every bite. Normally the last one to finish, he often saved room for dessert. His favorite dessert was cheesecake with cherries on top! He shared a love for Brussels sprouts with his daughter, Cheryl.
Active and on the go, he loved to pack as much as he could into any single day. He was involved with the Comstock Park Jaycees and a proud member of the Grand Rapids Cribbage Club which met during winter months. He spent his time playing Bridge and several other games with friends. Larry also remained a long-time member of the Second Congregational Church which he attended since 1969. As much as he thrived to be busy, he also enjoyed many of the simple pleasures in life. He loved to go for walks in the woods as well as hunting and fishing. Larry also enjoyed the game of golf with Tom, his partner of 30 years. Larry had multiple bird feeders at home and enjoyed listening to their sweet songs. He loved being outdoors. When inside, he loved to read. Larry read everything cover to cover. Much like other things in life, he never made any exceptions when it came to completing something he had started.
While he was out enjoying one of his favorite pastimes in April of 2023, he hurt his back swinging a golf club. He was in so much pain, he couldn’t even bend to pick up the ball. After a couple of weeks, Larry went to the doctor. He was given the diagnosis of cancer on his spine as well as in his lung and shoulder. Sadly, he was admitted to Spectrum Butterworth for pain management where he passed away.
Lawrence Andrew Pontremoli, age 77, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, passed away on May 20, 2023, surrounded by his family. Lawrence was preceded in death by his mother, Anna (Leslie) Pearson; father, Andrew (Elnora) Pontremoli; sister, Lisa McClees; and brothers-in-law, Fred Twiest and Victor (Barbara) Carlson. Lawrence is survived by his wife of 57 years, Mary; daughters, Cheryl (Glenn) Shaffer and Amy (Shayne) Slanger; granddaughters, Jennifer Shaffer, Samantha Slanger, Emily Shaffer, and Sidney Slanger. Also surviving are his siblings, Linda Lalonde, Louis (Judy) Pontremoli, Stephen Pontremoli, Diane (Floyd) Williams, Daniel Larabel, Scott (Barb) Larabel, and Ted Larabel; sister-in-law, Dorothy Twiest; and many nieces and nephews. Lawrence retired as a tool and die maker and enjoyed spending time outdoors and loved the small things in life.
The funeral service will be held at 11 AM on Saturday, May 27th at Second Congregational Church, 525 Cheshire Dr. NE. The family will gather to receive visitors on Friday, May 26th from 4-7 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW, and on Saturday for one hour prior to the service at church. Contributions in his memory may be made to the charity of one’s choice. Please visit www.heritagelifestory.com to submit a favorite memory or photo or to sign the guestbook online.