Cover photo for Lawrence V.  Karl's Obituary
Lawrence V.  Karl Profile Photo

Lawrence V. Karl

d. January 29, 2016

KARL, Lawrence V.

Lawrence “Larry” Vincent Karl, 94, of Onalaska, greeted the Lord on Jan. 29, 2016 at Gundersen Health System in La Crosse after suffering a stroke earlier in the week.

Larry was born on Jul. 20, 1921, in Cashton, WI, to Vincent and Frances (Schmidt) Karl. The family eventually relocated to La Crosse, where Larry attended Aquinas High School. In December of 1939, he joined the Army National Guard and was assigned to the 1st Battalion B, 120th Field Artillery. He entered active duty in July of 1942 and served in the European Theater of Operations, including the Normandy Campaign, otherwise known as “D-Day.” At the end of World War II, the Department of Military Affairs employed him until his retirement in 1979 where he finished with the rank of Chief Warrant Officer Grade 4. On October 21st, 1950, he married Geneva R. Ghelfi, who he met on a blind date. After his retirement, Larry filled his time as a coordinator for Meals On Wheels and the Onalaska Food Basket.

Although his career path may have suggested otherwise, Larry was truly a kid at heart. He was more interested in playing with paper airplanes and remote control toy helicopters than being an “adult.” He also had a fondness for cool new cars and his favorite sports team, the Milwaukee Brewers. Many summer nights were spent cheering them on with his wife by his side. He was also a man of deep faith and was always active in his parish of St. Patrick’s Church. During the holiday season, it was commonplace for him to go over the top with family Christmas parties and gifts. To Larry, Christmas wasn’t Christmas without surprises and of course, a soundtrack provided by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Bing Crosby. Near the end of his life, good news became harder and harder to find. However, Larry still found it in him to end most of his conversations with “just keep smiling!” It is his cheer that will be best remembered.

Larry is survived by his wife of 65 years, Geneva, his five children, David (Roxanne) Karl of La Crosse, Karen (Jim) Arms of Onalaska, Janet (Don) Kotek of La Crosse, Barb (Chris) Clark of La Crosse, Mary (Bob) Hess of Coon Valley and his 17 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. His mother, father, and his brother, Robert “Red” Karl, preceded him in death.

A Funeral Mass will be held at 11:00 AM on Friday, February 5, 2015, at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, 1031 Main St., Onalaska, Wis. Msgr. Steven Kachel will officiate. Burial will be held with military honors performed by the Struck-Klandrud Post 336, Onalaska American Legion, in the Onalaska City Cemetery. Friends and family may call from 10:00 AM until the time of Mass at Church on Friday.

In lieu of flowers, family and friends are asked to send memorials to Catholic Charities.

The family would like to extend a special thank you to the care providers at Gundersen Health System, the Mayo Clinic Health System in La Crosse, the Onalaska Care Center, and Springbrook Assisted Living in Onalaska.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Lawrence V. Karl, please visit our flower store.


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