Lawrence A. Walbrun was born on May 31, 1932, to Sylvester and Lydia Walbrun in Menasha, Wisconsin. Larry passed away peacefully on August 5, 2022, at age 90, with his family at his side. He was raised during The Great Depression in a Catholic home on Lisbon Avenue in Menasha, in a family of twelve children. Being third oldest, with 7 brothers and 3 sisters, he had to grow up faster than most kids. He developed a strong work ethic at an early age by helping his parents cook, clean, and take care of the rest of his siblings. Young Larry started with a paper route at only 9 years old to help the family, and at 10 displayed his ingenuity by building his first bicycle himself, using scrap parts he salvaged from a local junk yard. At age 12 he began to caddie at Northshore Country Club, and his Fridays were spent cleaning perch and walleye for a local tavern (for 2 cents per pound). At age 14 he was setting pins at the local bowling alley and was the caretaker of the family “victory garden” during WWII. A lifelong Harley fan, his love for a motor bike was first realized at 16 when he bought a Whizzer. He then began working in production at Neenah Milk, 4-hour evenings after school, 7 days a week.
After High School in Menasha, Larry enlisted in the Navy in 1951 and served on the aircraft carrier USS Coral Sea in the Korean War. He was soon assigned to the Navy’s first ever photo reconnaissance group VC-62. Larry was deeply patriotic, and very proud of his service to his Country. While on leave in 1952 he was married to Kathleen Gaffney, and they resided at the base in Jacksonville, Florida. In 1955 they returned to Wisconsin, where he and Katie made a home in Menasha and would raise 4 children.
Larry was an avid sports fan, and loved his Packers, Brewers, and Badgers. Relationships with siblings meant a great deal to him, he treasured the special times he spent with baby sisters Carol and Fran. He enjoyed fishing with his brothers and gathering family together for sporting events. The passion and competitive spirit shared between Larry and his brothers, generated many local bowling and golf league trophies and championships. He was also a founding member of Youth Sports in Menasha and enjoyed coaching boys’ baseball teams for 15 years.
In 1956 Larry began working at Marathon Corporation in quality control, and then research and development, where he created a new embossing & converting process for tissue paper. As a Process Engineer Larry developed a new method for creating paper towels more efficiently. For the James River Corporation he traveled to help start up new mills and implement quality control processes in Alabama, Washington, Oregon, New Hampshire, and Maine. He retired from auditing those procedures in 1991 at the age of 59. His first wife (Katie) he lost to cancer in 1997. His second marriage to Sandra Gillespie would last 13 years, before she also passed from cancer.
Larry is survived by four children living in Wisconsin: Larry (Linda) Walbrun of Hudson, and their children Caitlin and Ben; Mike (Laura) Walbrun of Keshena, and their sons Matthew(Erica) and Aaron; Kim Walbrun of Menasha, and her son Nick (Sharlyn Christianson fiancé ); and Kevin (Amy) Walbrun of Grafton and their children; Becky (Mike) Walter, Kaylee(Brennan) Schellpfeffer of West Bend, Alex (Kristina) Walbrun of Grafton. He also has 4 great-grandsons: Benjamin & Lucas Walter, Isaiah Schellpfeffer, and Lucas Walbrun, son of Matthew: 3 stepchildren: Cindy Gillespie of Naples, Florida; Jon (Wanda) Gillespie of Neillsville and their children Amy (Nathan) Herrick and Stephanie (Chris)Huth; and Jayne (Sam) Carroll of Gresham and their sons Jacob, Steven (Libby Beilke fiancé ), and Deacon. Step grandchildren include; Emily Huth, & Olivia and Mason Herrick. Additional survivors include Larry's brothers and sisters: Harvey Walbrun, Paul (Carol) Walbrun of California; Carol (Doug) Cottrell of Sherwood; Frances (Jim) Larson of Neenah; and Sisters in Law Judy Walbrun, Mary Ann Walbrun, Mary Walbrun.
Preceding Larry in death are his parents; Sylvester and Lydia, brothers and sisters-in-law; James, Richard & Arlene Walbrun, Roman Walbrun, George Walbrun, Roger & Ethyl Walbrun, Ken Walbrun, sister Annette, and grandson Kraig Walbrun.
Funeral services will be held Thursday, Aug. 18th. at Wichmann Funeral Home-Tri County Chapel, 1592 Oneida St, Menasha, WI 54952. The family will receive friends from 2pm until 4pm, followed by a prayer service and full military honors. Private burial will take place at Union Cemetery in Kaukauna at a future date.
To celebrate Larry’s 90 years, and honor his passion for golf, Packers, Brewers & Badgers. Please feel free to wear your favorite golf polo, or sportswear to his funeral services.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you please honor our Veterans by donating to the Old Glory Honor Flight of Wisconsin. https://www.wisconsinhonorflight.org/
Larry’s family is thankful and appreciative for very compassionate care provided to Larry by the Appleton Retirement Community and the Doctors & Nursing staff at St. Elisabeth Hospital. They are also grateful for the kind support provided by the John H. Bradley VA clinic in Appleton, and the hospice care provided by Compassus.