Obituary for Lawrence G. McAreavy

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Lawrence (Larry) Gerard McAreavy, 65, passed away on Friday, October 25, 2019 at Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center in = company of his best friend, Liz Norton.
Larry was born on March 13, 1954 to Helen and Donald McAreavy, in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Sadly, Larry never had the opportunity to meet his dad (or older brother). Donald tragically died at the age of 28 along with his son and Larry’s brother, Raymond (six years old), in a boating accident on the Mississippi River in 1953, when Helen was pregnant with Larry. Helen married Lester J. Schlicht on Jan. 1, 1956, and together they raised Larry and his two older sisters, Monica and Cathy, in their home on South 22nd St. in La Crosse.
Larry graduated from Central High School in 1972 and continued his education, graduating from college at University of Wisconsin La Crosse with a degree in Education so that he could pursue his dream of teaching. He went on to teach a semester in Ireland, which he loved immensely and went back to visit years later. In 1984, he married his sweetheart, Ivy Stelloh, and was a loving step-father to Ivy’s daughter, Jessica. Ivy and Larry divorced in 1992. Larry was not able to establish a career as a full-time teacher but was a successful substitute teacher for many years. Larry also worked for several years at Sears Roebuck in Valley View Mall, and then another 25-30 years at Ace Hardware in La Crosse. Our Helpful Hardware Man worked with customers to figure out what thingamagig was needed, knew where to find it, and talk people through how to complete the project. After leaving Ace in 2015, Larry moved to Richland Center to live close to his mom’s side of the family and worked at the local Walmart. In 2017, Larry moved back to La Crosse as an official retiree! He spent the last two years enjoying his retirement, spending time with friends and family, exploring nature
Anyone who knows Larry would describe him as a man who was very proud of his Irish heritage, and as a free spirit who spent as much time as possible in the outdoors. Larry was very close to his birth mother, but many would argue he had an even tighter bond with Mother Nature. Larry enjoyed canoeing, fishing, hiking, camping – and all that goes with that, biking, and enjoying the majestic beauty of the Earth, stars, and moon. Larry especially enjoyed walking and exploring all over the Mississippi River bottoms, sharing secret spots with friends, where the fox den was at Goose Island, the rookery of blue herons, and many other things. Many of these walks at Goose Island were with his little fur buddy, Zeus, his friend Kathy Koelsch, and his friend and former brother-in-law, Larry and his German Shepherd friend, Madea.
In addition to his love of the outdoors, Larry had a true passion for the arts, in all forms. As a little boy, he was making sketches to express that appreciation, dedicating his work to musical artists like his hero Jethro Tull, or bands like the Rolling Stones. As an adult, Larry turned to photography to capture nature’s beauty through his camera lens and print. Larry loved music; he could recite verses from just about any song or tell you who sang it and when. He had this same passion and enjoyment with storytelling in the form of books and movies. Larry’s room as a kid and throughout his life were filled with albums (Larry would debate with anyone that albums had the best sound), books, and VCR tapes/DVDs. He was diagnosed with liver and lung cancer in early 2018 and didn’t stop fighting until his last day. He loved life and didn’t want to leave it. May it bring comfort for those that loved Larry to know that his last moments were spent smiling; he was in a room with a wonderful view, and he had many visitors from friends and family, as well as a special visit from his priest, Father Roberts.
The family would like to thank Larry’s friends and AA Family for being so devoted and supportive over these many years. A very special thank you to his close friends/family, namely Liz Norton, Kathy Koelsch, Dave Stoda, and Mic Bakalars for being there for Larry any time he needed you and for making this last year a special one filled with incredible memories, especially the trip to Yellowstone, the many nature scene walks and drives, the visit to Devils Lake, the errands, doctor visits/transportation, support, and so on – the list goes on and on. Larry talked of you often and loved you very much. Larry was a devoted family member and friend. He is loved and will be missed deeply. Larry is survived by his sister, Didar Kaur “Monica” (Didar Singh) Khalsa; his nieces, Tracy (Darrin) Landes, Tera Anderson Peters, and Elanor (Patrick) Mulhern; his nephews, Shannon (Sandy) Crawford, Troy Anderson, and Thaddeus Anderson; former brother-in-law and friend, Larry (Jennifer) Anderson; special friend, Liz Norton; great nieces and nephews, Audrey and Bridget Crawford, Siobhan and Zelda Mulhern, Desiree and Dalton Peters; and many cousins. He was preceded in death by his mother, father, and step-father; his brother, Raymond McAreavy; his sister, Catherine (Larry) Anderson; his grandparents, William and Marie Frawley; his uncles, Paul, Bernard, Jerome, and Norbert Frawley; and his aunt, Margaret Slaney.
Family and friends may call from 4 to 6 p.m. with a prayer service to be officiated by Father Roberts at 6:00 p.m. Wednesday, October 30th, at Dickinson Family Funeral Home, 1425 Jackson St., La Crosse. The family welcomes you to come and share your stories and experiences with Larry as part of the conclusion of the prayer service..