Larry Dean Waggoner, Sr. 82, of Lebanon, Missouri, passed away peacefully in his daughter’s home in Lebanon on Sunday, March 12, 2017, following a battle with cancer. Larry departed this world just 29 days after losing his wife of 64 years, Dianne, to the same illness. Much like Dianne, at the time of his passing, Larry was in the presence of his family members.
Larry was the son of Marge Charlet and the stepson of Marge’s husband, Hank. He was born on January 27, 1935 in Spearville, Kansas. Larry grew up in Dodge City, Liberal, and Wichita before coming to Mansfield, Missouri during High School to help care for his grandparents Clarence and May Smalley after his grandmother suffered a broken arm. He was a 1952 graduate of Mansfield High School where he played Basketball and was a member of the band. Later that year, Larry and Di were united in marriage on October 22nd in Newton, Kansas. The couple was married for 64 years.
During High School, Larry worked at the Mansfield Mirror newspaper and the Kelley-Ferrel-Bergman Funeral Home. Shortly after Larry and Dianne were married, they purchased a gas station in Mansfield, which the two operated in the mid-1950s. It was during this time that Larry began taking flying lessons in a Piper Cub and earned his private pilot license in 1954.
Aviation was one of his biggest hobbies. Larry and two of his best friends purchased a Piper Tri-Pacer together in 1976 and began a flying partnership that spanned four planes and nearly 40 years. In 2012, Larry received the prestigious Master Pilot Award from the F.A.A. for 58 years of accident-free flying.
In the mid-1950s, Larry accepted a job as a Patrolman with the Springfield Police Department and the couple relocated to Springfield, where they resided throughout the late 50’s. On February 1, 1960, the family moved to Lebanon to join Di’s father, Chester, in his growing oil business. The house they purchased in the Orchard Hills neighborhood in 1965 has been the family’s home for the past 52 years. In the 1970s, Larry & Di founded Waggoner Transportation. The trucking company hauled gasoline, diesel, propane, and ethanol across the region. The company enjoyed a long partnership with Quality Transportation out of Halltown, Missouri. Larry and Di’s son, Larry Waggoner, Jr., joined Waggoner Transportation in the 1990s and is now the business’s President. Larry never truly retired and played an active role in the company until his death.
Larry was very active in community events. He served multiple non-consecutive terms on the Lebanon Airport Board stretching from the 1970s through the 2010s. He was President of the Lebanon Jaycees in the 1960s, of Lebanon Babe Ruth Baseball in the 1980s, and of the Lebanon
High School Project Graduation in the 1990s. Larry and Di were active in the Lebanon Band Parents organization while their three children were involved in the LHS Band.
Music was especially important to Larry as well. A gifted singer and talented trumpet player from an early age, he continued singing and playing as an adult. He loved Big Band music and was a member of several bands, including the Old-Timers Band and the Lebanon Kicks Band. He took pride in having sat-in with traveling bands featuring many celebrated performers including bandleader Stan Kenton. A talented musician, Larry could easily hold his own against his professional counterparts. Later in life, he joined Lake Jazz Band where he played for over 20 years. Larry recruited his daughter, Cyndi to join Lake Jazz with him and they both affectionately referred to the band’s Thursday evening practices as “Holy Night.”
Baptized in the Cumberland Presbyterian faith, Larry and Di were both strong, born-again Christians. Larry served as an Elder at both White Oak Pond Cumberland Presbyterian Church and later at Phillipsburg Christian Church, the couple’s home congregation for their last two decades. He was the long-serving Sunday School Superintendent at Phillipsburg. In his younger days, Larry enjoyed playing church-league softball.
Most mornings, Larry would enjoy drinking coffee with his buddies at the Lunchbox Café. He loved playing golf, a passion he shared with his daughter Mary Ann and her husband Charles. Larry’s other hobbies included bird hunting, spending time with his fellow “airport bums” at the airport, and traveling with his children and grandchildren. Larry and Di were especially fond of cruises and had gone on at least one cruise vacation with each of their kids and grandkids.
Larry was preceded in death his wife, Dianne, his parents Marge & Hank Charlet, his Grandparents Clarence & May Smalley, his siblings-in-law Bob & Luanne Guinn.
He is survived by his three children: Larry Waggoner, Jr. of Lebanon, Mary Ann Martin and her husband Charles of Springfield, and Cyndi Waggoner of Lebanon, three grandchildren: Chase D. Waggoner and his wife Sara of Lebanon, Lane Waggoner of Springfield, and Michelle Martin and her fiancée Dr. Brandon Thornberry of Columbia, and numerous other family and friends.
IN LOVING MEMORY
LARRY DEAN WAGGONER, SR.
January 27, 1935
March 12, 2017
2:00 P.M., Thursday, March 16, 2017
Phillipsburg Christian Church
Pastor Rick Howerton
Pastor Matt Wilson