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Larry Retzlaff

Obituary for Larry Retzlaff

May 1, 1953 - December 16, 2020
Mayville, Wisconsin | Age 67


With profound sadness we announce the passing of Larry Retzlaff, a loving and devoted husband, brother, father, grandfather, and friend to all whose lives he touched. He was a pure soul who brought so much joy into people's lives. He was humble, kind, always wore a smile, and loved to make people laugh, especially by teasing.

He passed at the young age of 67 with his family by his side after fighting a 37-day battle. He eventually succumbed to this fight on December 16, 2020.

He was born to Melvin and Eldine Retzlaff on May 1, 1953 and spent most of his life in Mayville or surrounding areas. In his younger years, he developed a strong work ethic by helping his parents on their family farm. Larry was a popular guy in high school and it was said that he was the cohesive force in keeping circles of friends together. He was a founding member of the 'Big Deal Ski Club' consisting of 10-12 friends that would take annual ski trips together. Many laughable stories were made on these trips and will be shared for years to come.

Upon graduation in 1971, he began working for Hub Bosch, a cabinet maker in Mayville. He used his creative abilities and woodworking skills to start his own business in 1974.

On August 5, 1978 he married the love of his life Susan under the willow tree at their home on the century-old farm that Larry's great grandfather built. Together they renovated this 1901 house and it was featured in Mayville's Tour of Homes. Larry and Susan combined their talents as cabinet maker and artist to create custom cabinetry and wood home d├ęcor. They opened a retail store at their residence and also exhibited their work at many Art Shows in the Chicago area. Larry was an exquisite cabinet designer and won awards for his work, including the Best of Show Award on numerous occasions. With the business being located on his family's homestead, they called their business Homestead Wood & Etchings.

Early in his business, Larry was involved in the Mayville High School Work Experience program where he hired students to work with him, learn the trade, and get class credits. He was said to be "more of a friend than a boss" to them. One of his students said he learned more from Larry than anyone else and has since started his own wood working shop. Because of his contributions, Larry was honored Boss of the Year at the high school's work experience appreciation dinner.

For over 25 years he had much success with the business. His cabinetry and wood creations are furnished in many homes and businesses. He had to discontinue the business when he developed liver disease from spraying lacquer on the wood products. In 2001, he was employed by Wyman Die & Tool until his retirement at age 65.

Larry was a devoted and very proud father to his daughter Lindsey and son Alec and his two granddaughters Aria and Hazel (their Papa) who he spoke so highly of. He was a handy man and with his wood working skills was able help them with many home repairs and projects. He was always good for a game of Ping Pong or a game of cards with his kids and granddaughter Aria who admired him so. He was very proud of his son being an accomplished Master Electrician and his daughter a Registered Nurse. Larry would do anything for them. He loved his family immensely.

Larry was an outdoors man, tree-hugger, loved taking his walks through the woods, feeding birds, and a hunter and fisherman. He was an avid canoe/kayaker until health conditions no longer allowed him to be able to do this. Larry liked living on the edge and even though he never learned how to swim, him and Susan would white water canoe and kayak for many years. He always said he didn't fear the water, he respected it. He taught his wife and friends how to rappel down the bluffs at Devils Lake.

He especially enjoyed going up north to the hunting trailer that he and a close high school friend bought back in the 70's and then going to the cabin his family-built years later. He spent many weekends at the cabin with his sisters Sue and Joyce and their families. As much as he told his parents he didn't want to be a farmer, one of his favorite things to do at the cabin was plant food plots for the deer. Larry also relished his quiet time just sitting in the woods or at the roots of a tree enjoying mother nature.

Another love of Larry's was music. He still has his albums, and can recite songs and artists in a heartbeat. Larry liked to play music trivia with his family. He would ask Susan "who sings this song?" to which she would say give me a clue and it would be like a game for them. Both his children Lindsey and Alec inherited his love for music from their dad.

Larry was a very patient and friendly man. On family trips when Susan and their children were off in store or what not, Larry would patiently wait, but during that wait he always made friends with random strangers. The family loved that about him!

In November of 2019, Larry and Susan purchased a Eurovan in California and picked it up on one of their trips to visit their son Alec, his wife Karolyn, and granddaughter Hazel in Ventura. They traveled up the Pacific Coast Highway and stayed in the Eurovan. Larry stayed longer than Susan so he could spend a week at a beloved Wolf Sanctuary, whose owner he met through Alec. He continued on his cross-country road trip stopping by dear friends on the way back. Larry and Susan were planning on doing this trip again in January 2021. They both loved waterfalls and traveled with the Eurovan to waterfalls in northern Wisconsin and the U.P. just months before he fell ill. Larry & Susan were married 42 years.

Larry was preceded in death by his parents Melvin and Eldine Retzlaff

Larry is survived by his wife Susan, (daughter Lindsey, granddaughter- Aria) (son Alec/Karolyn, granddaughter -Hazel) (sister Sue Plageman/Daryl) (Joyce Schuett/Randy) and nieces and nephews.

He was admitted to the hospital on November 14th and passed peacefully with family under the wonderful care of the PalliativeCare Nurses at UW Hospital.

The family wants to thank everyone for their continual love, prayers, cards, sweet messages, and acts of kindness. Years did not dimmish the memories and love people have for Larry.

Due to Covid, a Life Celebration for Larry will be held when large gatherings are once again apart of our lives--hopefully in late summer or early fall.

Services Pending. Please check back for further information.

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Arrangements By

Koepsell Funeral & Cremation Services, Mayville

301 North Walnut Street
Mayville, WI 53050
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