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Lawrence Dean “Larry” Strantz, 87, passed away unexpectedly on January 20, 2024. Born on April 15, 1936, to Chester Lester Strantz and Marguerite Elliott Strantz, he was the younger brother of Chester “Chet” Strantz. On July 5, 1975, he married the love of his life, Wilma Hunzicker, and together they enjoyed 48 years of marriage.
Larry was preceded in death by his parents: his wife Wilma; one brother-in-law, Sam Wagner; one sister-in-law, Judy Strantz; and one nephew, John Howarter. Surviving are his brother Chet of West Sun City, AZ; two brothers-in-law, Harold (Phyllis) Hunzicker of Salem, IL and Lyle Hunzicker of Washington; one sister-in-law, Marlene Wagner of Washington; and 14 nieces and nephews: Kim (James) Heap, Teri Cagle, Gwen Howarter, Bond Wagner, Jana (Greg Wilson) Hunzicker, Jody Hunzicker, Jeff Hunzicker, Sarah (Shaun) Oppe, Selena Armstrong, Michelle (Hank) Koester, Mark (Jennifer) Hunzicker, Amanda Birch, Sue (Don) Fellows, and Kathy (Mike Hatch) Burt; along with dozens of great and great-great nieces and nephews.
Raised on the south side of Peoria, Larry graduated from Trewyn Junior High School in 1950 and from Manual Training High School in 1954. He went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering technology from Bradley University in 1958. After serving four years in the United States Army during the Korean War era, Larry began a 32-year career at WABCO (now Komatsu) in Peoria. As a design engineer specializing in hydraulic systems, he was awarded several patents for original inventions over the years. He also traveled worldwide to provide customer service for Komatsu’s many clients, including mining companies in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Chile, Columbia, Canada, and Alaska. He retired in 1997.
A lifelong believer in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Larry was a devoted member of Grace Bible Church in Washington for most of his adult life. Known for his generosity of treasure, time, and talent, he opened his home for the church youth group; paid registration fees and provided transportation for his many nieces and nephews to attend AWANA, church camp, and other Christian youth activities; and co-taught a men’s bible study on end time prophecy for several years. He was a volunteer for the Peoria Rescue Mission (now Pathway Ministries) and for The Gideons International local ministry; and he served on the boards of Camp Good News in Washington, The Christian Center in Peoria, and the Until He Returns Radio Prophecy Ministries in Morton.
The family would like to thank Apostolic Christian Skylines in Peoria for warmly welcoming Larry into their retirement community in 2021, where he lived in his own apartment and devotedly cared for Wilma for three years. While at Skylines, Larry became known for his poetry and nature photography, which he shared with others by making note cards and publishing his work in The Skyline News. Larry was also known for his sense of humor. It was not uncommon to hear him sharing a funny story or lightheartedly bantering back and forth with the staff. One of his favorite stories – about jokingly asking “a little old lady” at Skylines if she wanted to race down the hall – was her response: “You go ahead, Sonny!”
In October 2022, Larry participated in the Greater Peoria Honor Flight to Washington D.C. with his niece Jana serving as his guardian. It was a fabulous experience for Larry. He particularly enjoyed The Gibson Girls’ music at every stop and took photos of everything. Thank you to the many friends, family, and community members who helped to make this day of honor so special for him.
Services for Larry will be held at Grace Bible Church in Washington at noon on Saturday, January 27. Interim Pastor Len Thebarge will officiate. Visitation will commence two hours prior to the service, from 10:00-11:45 a.m. Larry will be laid to rest for eternity next to his wife Wilma at Glendale Cemetery in Washington. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Grace Bible Church, Apostolic Christian Skylines, or Pathway Ministries. Mason-White Funeral Home in Washington is assisting the family with arrangements. To share a memory or send a condolence to his family, visit www.masonfuneralhomes.com.