Dennis Earl “The Pearl” Laramy – the only gem in town, 84, of Chippewa Falls, passed away on Wednesday, August 26, 2020 in his home after a courageous battle with cancer. He was surrounded by his loved ones.
Denny was born April 28th, 1936 in Chippewa Falls, WI, to Dr. Floyd and Norma (Mohr) Laramy. He was a middle child with an older brother and sister, Donnie and Joyce and a younger brother and sister, Jerry and Donna. Denny was a twin; his sister Darlene was lost in infancy.
Denny’s love of sports started at a young age. His dad Floyd, being a chiropractor, was concerned with sports injuries, so Denny would climb out his bedroom window and sneak away to play football for Chi-Hi. He was All-State in high school football as quarterback, as well as basketball and baseball. He was the first freshman to letter at Eau Claire State College (UWEC) in football.
After high school, Denny joined the U.S. Air Force and served as a drill instructor at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX from 1954-1958. He won the Drill Instructor Ribbon for his recruits’ performance during military parades. His winning attitude and athleticism also earned him the base boxing championship. More importantly to Denny, his military service led him to a life dedicated to coaching, mentoring, and leadership.
When Denny returned home, he met a beautiful twin who he ended up being married to for almost 59 years, Lola Matsche. They married on December 2, 1961 and started their family. They were blessed with three children: Kyle Jon, Dena Anne, and Darcy Dee. They purchased their house on Woodward Avenue in 1963, still the family home to this day, where many memories of holidays and celebrations would be made for the next fifty years.
Denny worked for NSP and later at Mason Shoe.
Many people know Denny from his years of coaching and refereeing middle and high school sporting events throughout the Chippewa Valley from 1958 when he returned from his military service until his final days. He coached teams in football, girls’ basketball, and softball at Chi-Hi, Cadott, and mainly the Chippewa Falls Catholic School system, where he also taught and served as Assistant Athletic Director. He is the only “Protestant Catholic” inducted into the McDonell Athletic Hall of Fame.
In the late 1970s, Denny once again became a Blugold returning to UW-Eau Claire to complete his degree, graduating in 1982 with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Studies with a minor in Coaching. He always had a special interest in history and politics, often reading and watching movies on the subjects and writing his famous “Letters to the Editor” for the Chippewa Herald and Leader Telegram.
In addition to his “southpaw” pitching for several fastpitch teams, Denny had many other sports-related hobbies including bowling, golfing, and arm-chair coaching for the St. Louis Cardinals, Wisconsin Badgers and Green Bay Packers. During baseball season, you could often find him out in his car listening to Cardinals games. He also enjoyed winning at card games and gambling at Turtle Lake casino.
Denny will be greatly missed by his wife Lola; three children Kyle (Ann), Dena, Darcy (Jeff); four grandchildren Kristen, Rhael, Kasey and Denna; three great-grandsons Kashten, Stryker and Steele; one sister Donna (Ken) LaNou; brother-in-law Stan Saline; three sister-in-laws Bev Laramy, Anne Roshell, and Lois (Jim) Perault; several nieces and nephews; and too many friends and former students to count!
Denny’s welcoming party on the other side will be thrown by his parents Dr. Floyd and Norma Laramy, brothers Donnie and Jerry, sisters Joyce and Darlene, and his sibling who died at birth.
The family would like to express on behalf of Denny their gratitude for the exceptional care he received at the Mayo Clinic Dunlap Cancer Center and St. Croix Hospice.
A Memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, September 2 at the Horan Funeral Home in Chippewa Falls. Rev. Terri Koca of Trinity United Methodist Church in Chippewa Falls will be officiating. Military rites will be conducted by the Chippewa Falls Patriotic Council at the services.
Family and friends may say their goodbyes from 4-8 p.m. on Tuesday, September 1st and from 10 a.m. until the time of services at 11 a.m. on Wednesday at the funeral home.
Denny was a bright light in every room he entered and had a heart as big as his laugh. He was larger than life, and even louder. He stood up and advocated for issues even if they weren’t popular. He was instrumental in advancing women’s athletics in Wisconsin, went to bat for his students and all the athletic programs he was involved with, and lead his family with toughness and love. He loved and was loved greatly.
Per the state mandate, facemasks are required for all those attending.
AFTER SERVICE NOTICE:
A Memorial service for Dennis Earl “The Pearl” Laramy was held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, September 2 at the Horan Funeral Home.
Rev. Terri Koca of Trinity United Methodist Church in Chippewa Falls officiated at the service. Military rites were conducted by the Chippewa Falls Patriotic Council with Taps played by Leo Schulte.
Urn bearers were Paul Ausman, Jack Krause, Tom LaNou, Dick Monarski, Dale Prince, Bob Rooney and Roger Wood.