Larry M. Karau
Larry M. Karau, 67, Village of Howard, formerly of Oconto Falls, died suddenly Monday morning, Nov. 8, 2010 at a Green Bay hospital.
He was born March 16, 1943 in Merrill to Mark and Lila (Krueger) Karau. As an infant Larry’s father died, so he and his brother Jerry lived with Grandma and Grandpa Krueger (Hubert and Lavine) along with their mother. Lila later married Lee Hodgson who he would come to know as his father. Larry grew up in Merrill where he attended public schools, graduating from high school with the class of 1961. As a young man, he served in the US Army during the Vietnam War and was stationed in Germany. Following his honorable discharge from the military, he attended Wausau Area Technical College where he graduated with honors and degrees in business and accounting.
Following graduation from college, he moved to New York where he worked for Eastman-Kodak. Because of the sudden death of his 18-year-old brother Billy, Larry moved back to the Midwest to be closer to family and developed a business with his brother Jerry in Iowa. In about 1970, Larry took an accounting job with Midland Coop in Oconto Falls, only to be appointed General Manager a short time later, a title he held for 30 years. On June 27, 1970, he married Karen Snow in Merrill and the couple made their home in Oconto Falls.
During Larry’s leadership with the Coop, he oversaw the merger of numerous farm cooperatives and the name changed to Bay Lakes Cooperative. Because he believed so strongly in the concept of farm cooperatives, he was widely known for his producer friendly ways and always trying to look out for the best interests of his farmer clientele. As a community leader, Larry was responsible for keeping the railroad a viable transportation option in Oconto Falls and it is still operating. He will fondly be remembered for his “can do and let’s make it happen” attitudes with his board of directors and employees. Larry retired from Bay Lakes at the end of December 2001 and moved to the Village of Howard and continued to enjoy his hunting and fishing adventures.
Survivors are his wife, Karen Karau, Green Bay; their two sons, Heath Karau, Kenosha; Lance Karau, Green Bay; one granddaughter who he dearly loved, Avery Lynn Karau; three brothers and three sisters, Jerry (Dixie) Karau, Green Bay; Mary (Cliff) Gorman, Mosinee; Ruth (Rowe) Zentner, Minocqua; Jim (Marilyn) Hodgson, Dan (Karen) Hodgson, all of Merrill; Kay (Jonathan) Schulz, Edgar; many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Mark Karau, Lee and Lila (Krueger) Hodgson and one brother, Billy.
Visitation with the urn present was held Saturday, Nov. 13, at Jones Funeral Service in Oconto Falls. Memorial services were held Saturday at the funeral home with Pastor Larry Bong officiating. Burial followed in Woodlawn Cemetery, Oconto Falls.
In lieu of other expressions of sympathy, memorials in Larry’s name may be made to the Wounded Warriors Project at: www.woundedwarriorproject.org.