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April 25, 1930 - June 2, 2014
Larry (Harry Lawrence) Mapes lived a life filled with good friends, adventures, a loving family, and steadfast viewpoints. These determined viewpoints may have come from being born (April 25, 1930) the youngest of five (Mildred, Dorothy, Gretchen and Jack), to Harry and Ethel (Bera) Mapes, of Sunfield, Michigan. Larry had early indications that his four older siblings were inclined to try to boss him around. Early skills acquired by avoiding this control prepared him to become the father of four strong willed daughters. Along with his wife Kate, also from Sunfield (Katherine Huyck - married 1961), he was eternally surrounded by women. His even temperament served him well during these years. He quietly avoided conflict and yet managed to do exactly as he pleased. As a life long resident of Sunfield, Larry graduated from the former Sunfield High School (Go Wolves!) in 1947. He had begun working at his father's furniture store in high school. So with a keen eye on the family enterprise, Larry went on to receive an Associates of Business from MSU. In 1950 he joined the United States Navy and served for four years during the Korean War. Upon his arrival back home, Larry focused his energy on Mapes Furniture Company (est. 1892), "The Big Store in the Little Town." Simultaneously, Larry branched out in downtown Grand Ledge with a line of Ethan Allen furniture. During the early 60's, this was called Mapes Colonial House. Larry and Kate later donated this building to the Grand Ledge Historical Society (presently the Opera House.) Expanding on the Ethan Allen line, Larry built and operated a new store on West Saginaw Highway in Lansing. Completed in 1973, Mapes Georgetown Manor was the first building ever constructed in that area, which is now occupied by Menard's and Walmart. After selling this store, Larry operated the Sunfield business solely. Until very recently, he was still offering up sage advice on the daily operations of his beloved family business. Larry nurtured his love of sports with regular visits to Centennial Acres Golf Course and by fishing for blue gills at his Wall Lake cottage. The Detroit Tigers and MSU ranked high on his favorites list. He was a charter member of the Sunfield Lion's Club, served on the Village Council and was a volunteer for the Sunfield Fire Department. He was a loyal friend, father, grandfather and husband. If you ever needed him, he was always right there. His recurring show of affection was a hug and a, "Love ya." As they say, still waters run deep. His friends and contemporaries could tell you of his love of flipping quarters to see who would buy the morning coffee! Later in life, a few 'scratch-offs' could satisfy that urge for a bit of risk. He enjoyed simple pleasures. He was accepting of the myriad of choices others made. Yet he had very specific likes and dislikes. For instance, when he was younger he really preferred his clothing to be either green or brown. That worked for him. In later years he branched out to khaki and blue. Very risky!
Larry passed away June 2, 2014 at the age of 84. He is survived by his wife Kate, four daughters and five grandchildren; Kathy Black, of Lansing, Becky Calabro (Mark) of Sunfield, Karen Mapes-Lerch (Bill) of Breckenridge, Colorado, and Amy Acker (Mike) of Sunfield. Grandchildren are Ariel Black, Hayden Acker, Isabela Acker, Easton Acker and Max Lerch.
Larry's wife Kate has been a long-time fan of Frank Sinatra. One of his best known songs could pretty well sum up the life of Larry Mapes: "And now, as tears subside — I find it all so amusing — to think I did all that — And may I say, not in a shy way — Oh, no, oh, no, not me, I did it my way."
Visitation will be held at Rosier Funeral Home in Sunfield on Thursday, June 5 from 1-3 and 6-8. Funeral service will be held on Friday, June 6 at 11 am at the United Brethren Church, 8436 W. Grand Ledge Hwy, Sunfield, MI 48890. Interment at Sunfield Cemetery follows the service, with luncheon afterward at the United Brethren Church. In lieu of flowers in honor of Larry's life, gifts can be given to Sunfield Cares, SPY's or Eaton Community Palliative Care c/o Rosier Funeral Home, PO box #36, Sunfield, MI 48890.
Rosier Funeral Home
193 Jackson Street
Sunfield, MI 48890
Published in Lansing State Journal from June 4 to June 8, 2014