Richard John Larkin
Our father, Richard “Rich” John Larkin, age 85, born and raised in La Crosse, Wisconsin passed away on Thursday October 24, 2019. Loyal and brave to the end, it was ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) that took him from us.
Rich is survived by his wife, Mary Lou, daughter Laure (spouse Lynette), and sons Dan (spouse Maite) and Brian (spouse Terese) as well as his sister, Lorna Fisher, and brothers, Tom and Ron. His grandchildren are Florence, Emma, Carolina, Eric, Aaron and great grandchild Julien.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Alice Dorothy (Weyh) and Harold Francis Larkin.
Born in La Crosse to Alice and Harold on August 21, 1934, he remained a resident of La Crosse all of his life, graduating from Aquinas High School in 1953, except for two-years at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas with the Army from 1956-1958. While on holiday leave in La Crosse, he met his true love, Mary Lou Scherdin, at a New Year’s Eve party. They married on April 18, 1959 and recently celebrated their sixtieth anniversary with family and friends. He worked at Pepsi Cola Bottling Company for over thirty years as a route salesman and maintenance technician where he made many friends. After retiring, he remained active, volunteering at his parish, Mary, Mother of the Church as an usher, gardener, Chicken Q coordinator, and community event planner. In his spare time, he started a second career as a chauffeur to the great beyond (hearse driver). As he often joked, he “now gets to ride in the back.” For dad, the contact with families, local church groups, and funeral directors; his love of driving, especially in rural Wisconsin and Minnesota; and satisfying his renowned sweet tooth beyond Mary Lou’s watchful eyes at funeral receptions were all part of his strong community connection.
As for his sweet tooth, dad never passed up a piece of cake or pie, and legend has it he could devour a sheet cake effortlessly in one sitting. Beyond a mere consumer, dad was a gourmet candy maker. His peanut brittle and love food, which he shared generously with friends and neighbors, were Christmas family traditions passed onto him from the Murphy-Scherdin side of the family.
Dad had a full life. Among the things he enjoyed were fishing, bowling, and Facebook stalking his family and friends on his iPad. Both Aquinas graduates, Rich and Mary Lou, were Aquinas sports super fans, rarely missing a game. They were both also regulars at La Crosse Loggers games, relishing the chance to see future major-league stars. Dad’s love of sports did not stop there; it included steadfast support for the UW-La Crosse Eagles and Wisconsin Badgers. He was a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan and, above all, he loved the Packers, devoted to the team even during the down years. He was such a dedicated sports fan that he often watched three games simultaneously. Even though a Packer backer herself, Mary Lou drew a line at letting him wear his green and gold for his last hurrah (except for his socks).
He was a reliable volunteer at Mary, Mother of the Church Parish, The Knights of Columbus, and the Aquinas High School Booster Club. He also was a connoisseur of cold cheap beer, Culver’s vanilla malts, Yanni, Enya, and when he was painting the house, Kiss drum solos.
More than anything, he loved his family. He and Mary Lou can proudly say they never missed any of their kids’ events or games.
Dad was quick to smile and laugh. He also loved to build and help, not always safely (ladders on chairs to install a fan on a 22 ft ceiling come to mind). He and Mary Lou created a floral centerpiece assembly line to support the Mary, Mother of the Church Parish events that major companies would envy. He was a master of raising dead geraniums, packed away gently every year for springtime resurrection at the church and home.
Friends can visit with the family on Monday, October 28, from 5:00 PM -7:00 PM with Father Brian Konopa reciting the Rosary at 5 PM. The wake will be held at Blaschke & Schneider Funeral, 1501 West Avenue South, La Crosse, Wisconsin.
Father Brian Konopa will officiate the funeral Mass on Tuesday, October 29 with visitation from 9:30 AM until the Mass begins at 10:30 AM at Mary, Mother of the Church Parish: 2006 Weston St., La Crosse WI 54601.
Entombment will take place following the funeral Mass, at the Catholic Cemetery: 519 Losey Blvd. S., La Crosse, WI 54601, St Francis of Assisi Mausoleum with a reception afterward at Mary, Mother of the Church Parish.
Memorial donations in Richard’s name can be made to Aquinas High School Boosters https://www.aquinascatholicschools.org/online-giving, Mary, Mother of the Church Parish http://www.mmoclacrosse.org/ or your favorite watering hole, where you are instructed to raise your glass and tell a few stories of the great Richard Larkin.