Cover photo for Larry L Elgersma's Obituary
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Larry L Elgersma

Larry passed away, Monday, October 2, 2023, at Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo.

He was born April 24, 1947 in Holland, the son of Floyd and Wilhemina “Sally” (Start) Elgersma. He graduated from Holland High School in 1965 and from Western Michigan University in 1971. For 36 years Larry taught at Plainwell Middle School until his retirement in 2007. Larry loved teaching and was dedicated to his students. He never forgot a face and always remembered a former student’s name. Teaching wasn’t a job for Larry, it was his passion.

In his free time Larry enjoyed golfing, fishing and following the Detroit Tigers. His greatest joy was attending his children and grandchildren’s sporting events. He was very proud of his family and all of their accomplishments. On July 28, 1967 in Zeeland he married the love of his life, Mary Brower who survives.

Also surviving are his children, Steve Elgersma of Portland, OR and Emmy (Harry) Ellis of Dorr and his grandchildren, Lydia and Caleb. He was preceded in death by his parents and sister, Carol.

Friends may visit with Larry’s family from 5-8 PM, Thursday, October 5, 2023, at the Winkel Funeral Home in Otsego.

A funeral service will take place at 11:00 A.M., Friday, October 6, 2023, at the Otsego United Methodist Church with Pastor Jeremy Africa officiating.

Burial will follow at Mountain Home Cemetery in Otsego.

Contributions in memory of Larry may be made to the

Parkinson’s Foundation

or the Otsego United Methodist Church Youth Camping Fund.

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Condolence Messages

Larry and Fran Hill

October 3, 2023 at 12:45 pm

We are so sorry to hear of Larry’s passing. Our prayers are with you Mary, and the family for strength and great memories of Larry! Larry and Fran Hill


Mark Rutherford

October 3, 2023 at 1:08 pm

What a kind soul a great man. Someone you could always rely on to just listen if you needed someone to listen to, or give advice if you need some advice. You will be missed, but never forgotten

We love you

Mark and Stephanie Rutherford


Leah Runchey

October 3, 2023 at 1:55 pm

Just the other day I remembered one of my past assignments that Mr. Elgersma assigned us. I don’t remember the context but he had us pick a piece by Norman Rockwell and come up with a skit of the story behind of art. I have a great appreciation of classic illustration because of that assignment. Also, who could for the “War and Peace” game he and Mrs. Fisher used to do at the end of the year? He had such creative ways of teaching and He made what is usually a particularly hard year (7th grade) for students a memorable one.


Teresa VanLent

October 3, 2023 at 2:26 pm

I am so sorry to hear this. Larry was such a great guy, my boys Bill, Tim and Eddy Hux thought sooo much of him! I remember he a,ways kept up with how they were doing in golf❤️. He will really be missed. I’m praying for the family in this time of loss, May GOD bless them❤️


Sherrie Toppen Youdell

October 3, 2023 at 2:52 pm

Mr. Elgersma was my favorite teacher in middle school. I also had him for drivers ed.

My condolences to the family.


Lynne Stowell

October 3, 2023 at 2:57 pm

Mary, my heart aches for you and your family. Larry was a thoughtful, kind, loving husband, father and grandfather and teacher. He was loved by many. He really enjoyed telling stories about his kids and grandkids. He was so proud! With our forty plus years of friendship I have so many memories and stories. That is what I will cherish! I can see Larry and Barry in heaven telling stories and cracking each other up! Much love to you and your family. You were truly blessed with a special man!


Bryan and Daniella Cronen

October 3, 2023 at 3:04 pm

Elgersma Family,

We are saddened to hear about Larry’s passing. He was such a wonderful man and friend to all of us.

Our family will continue to keep Larry and your family in our prayers.

The Cronen’s


Mark Pearson

October 3, 2023 at 3:09 pm

One of the best teachers I ever had at Plainwell, We had the pleasure of living across the street from him for 30 years. For the first few years, I always called him Mr. Elgersma. He finally told me you know Mark you’re 30 years old you can call me, Larry.


Brian Arehart

October 3, 2023 at 3:25 pm

So sorry to hear of Larry’s passing, he was always one of my favorite people. He never let me forget when I beat him a game of horse at Hicks Street gym when I was in 7th grade.


Marcia Quigley

October 3, 2023 at 3:28 pm

Tim and I were very saddened to hear of Larry’ passing. We have been neighbors for many years and even though we weren’t close, we will alway remember him riding his bike around the circle! May your memories give you peace. Please know Larry is now an Angel in Heaven watching over you!


Lynne Wellington Kelsey

October 3, 2023 at 3:33 pm

Such a sad day. Everyone that knew him were blessed by having him be a part of their life. Mr. Elgersma was a favorite teacher of mine. I will never forget his kindness and smile.

Prayers to Mary, his family and friends.


Josephine Pape

October 3, 2023 at 5:00 pm

Mary and family,

I am so sorry to learn of Larry passing. He was a true warrior, and fought a very hard battle.

May he now rest peacefully in the arms of our Heavenly Father.


Mrs. Jim Hewitt. (Patti)

October 3, 2023 at 5:02 pm

Oh Mary, I am so saddened to learn of this. The loss of your spouse is so devastating. Grief and grieving is so exhausting. It is so hard to keep putting one foot in front of the other as you look out at the world around you thru a view of tears. My heart goes out to you and your family. Take care of yourself, be kind to yourself and get as much rest as you can. Taking on the role of widow is not something we ever wanted.


Steve Himschoot

October 3, 2023 at 5:16 pm

So sorry for your loss.

Larry will be missed.

You will be in our hearts during this difficult time. ❤️


Tim Tuin

October 3, 2023 at 5:35 pm

Mr E was an Amazing teacher and mentor. I have such great memories of him. He was one of the reasons I didn’t quit playing basketball after my Freshman year. He told me not to quit and with hard work I would be a starter on Varsity. He was right and our Senior year of basketball was an Awesome time. Thanks Mr E for always impacting lives. You will be missed. Until we meet again.


Michael Chase

October 3, 2023 at 5:57 pm

I never had Mr. Elgersma as a teacher but he was always interested in what you were doing. He was a great person. He was always willing to help out. My prayers are with his family.


Michael Chase

October 3, 2023 at 6:01 pm

I never had Mr. Elgersma as a teacher but he was willing to you out anytime . He was a great person. My thoughts & prayers are with his family.


Eunice Shive ( Birmingham)

October 3, 2023 at 6:31 pm

He will be greatly missed. I had him as a 8th grade teacher and as a driver’s training teacher. He was a great teacher. And so fun to have . Prayers for the family


Josh Forney

October 3, 2023 at 7:27 pm

I’m so sorry to hear this. Prayers for the family.


Jim & Bonnie Hoffman

October 3, 2023 at 8:12 pm

Mary and Larry’s children and Grandchildren, we are so saddened to loose such a great gentleman that was so loved and respected by everyone that met him. He was a joy to talk with about many topics. Rest in Peace to a Dear Friend. Jim & Bonnie Hoffman


Deb Redmond Mason

October 3, 2023 at 8:46 pm

What a great man & teacher. One of my favorites. May God give you peace & comfort during this difficult time. Rest in Peace Mr. Elgersma. You made your students world a whole lot better!


Kathleen Parker

October 3, 2023 at 8:48 pm

Dear Mary, I taught with Larry at the middle school back in the 1970’s. I always enjoyed him and he was a great teacher and always so friendly and a great smile. I am very sorry for you and your family.

Most sincerely ,

Kathy Patker


Theresa Sours

October 3, 2023 at 9:11 pm

I didn’t have Larry as a teacher, but knew him in middle school and afterward. I would see him in public or at his families garage sale and he always knew who I was and was genuinely interested in my life. He was always genuine and kind. I will miss him greatly.


Dan Heckman

October 3, 2023 at 9:34 pm

Rest in Peace Larry. Always good seeing Larry in his classroom and at athletic events during my time in Plainwell


Nicholas Blue

October 3, 2023 at 9:37 pm

Mr. Elgersma was one of my absolute favorite teachers. I remember how passionate and he really helped define my love for history. I’m so sorry to hear about your loss.


Erica Miller (Cole)

October 3, 2023 at 10:15 pm

A wonderful teacher and a guy so proud of his tenure driver instruction.

Yes, he remembered my name when I walked up to him at the grocery store

My condolences.


Tom and Connie Haan

October 3, 2023 at 10:20 pm

Mary we are so sad to hear Larry passed away. Middle School can be a hard time for kids, but Larry made every student he had in all the years at Plainwell feel important and special. If he saw an article in the paper about one of his students he often would send them a copy of the article or acknowledge their achievement. The students didn’t even need to be in his “pod” he was there for all the students. Our kids benefited by his support during middle school…. And it made a difference for them and great memories of a favorite teacher.

We are sorry we will miss the service but want you and your family to know our thoughts are with you at this difficult time.

The Haan’s, Tom, Connie and Daryl and the Smith’s Ian and Amy.


Cindy (Rush) Mudget

October 3, 2023 at 10:20 pm

I am so sorry for your loss Mary. Sending prayers and thoughts your way.


Becky Dennis

October 3, 2023 at 10:27 pm

So sorry to hear of his passing. Many thoughts and prayers to his family and friends. He was my all time favorite teacher. Whenever I would run into him we would talk about the War and Peace game.



Ryan Van Dusen

October 3, 2023 at 11:12 pm

He may have never known this, but Larry played a significant role in my desire to become a teacher. His enthusiasm for subject matter was infectious—particularly if it was pertaining to John F. Kennedy—and within his classroom it was always clear that the prerogative was less about preparing for tests and more about coming away with a deeper understanding of the world around us.

Larry’s steady, easy-going demeanor within the classroom inspired me to pay it forward. I knew how valuable it was to have educators like him in my life growing up and I felt it may be my calling to provide that for others as a result. I am greatly saddened to hear of Larry’s passing, but I am also sincerely thankful for being one of thousands for whom he left such an indelible impact.


Ashley Smith

October 4, 2023 at 7:25 am

Mr Elgersma was a fantastic teacher. He was so impactful in a time that was crucial to our future with education. There are only a handful of teachers I remember from school and he is one of them. He always told stories of his family and how much they meant to him. May he rest in peace.


Jim and Sharon Gleesons

October 4, 2023 at 7:56 am

We were fortunate to be able to teach with Larry. He made his commitment to his family , community , and teaching look easy . His humor lightened us all ! He will be missed by so many


Charity Jones

October 4, 2023 at 8:12 am

I’m so thankful to have gotten to know Larry as a landlord for several years he truly was a kind and caring man I was sad when he told me about Parkinson’s as my grandpa had it and passed before I ever got to meet him. I’m so sorry for your loss Mary and family my prayers are with you.

Charity Jones


Char Forbes

October 4, 2023 at 8:15 am

Dear Mary and Family, so sorry to hear of this sad news. May you find comfort in beautiful memories, as well as in knowing you are surrounded by so many who care for you. You will remain in prayer.


JoAnn Burchett

October 4, 2023 at 9:26 am

Dear Mary, Emmy and Steve,

My heart goes out to you at this difficult time. May you be granted peace and comfort! Savor the memories.❤️


Sue Ellen Nelson

October 4, 2023 at 11:59 am

My mom, Ellen Haskell taught with Larry at the middle school, and always spoke of his kindness & sense of humor. He was a great teacher to our kids; he had a profound impact on this community & beyond. Our deepest condolences, Mary.


Ken Klumpp

October 4, 2023 at 2:09 pm

Larry always knew I was there for him and he for me.

Teaching in the Middle School and Driver Ed. He is a treasurer I will always remember.

God rest his soul.


Jayne Trombley

October 4, 2023 at 2:42 pm

Larry was funny and smart….a popular, creative, and gifted teacher. He understood intuitively what it meant to be an exceptional educator-always believing in EVERY student & in his fellow teachers. Strong voice within our union-deeply appreciated him by my side during contract negotiations. Truly one of the finest, kindest people I have ever known. Sad to learn of his death.

May he now rest in peace and swing that golf club with ease.

Condolences to Mary, his children and his grandchildren.



October 6, 2023 at 2:55 am

My favorite teacher and person ever. You couldn’t help but love this guy! Always so fair and honest. Always willing to listen and help you think objectively. And yes, there was drivers training.,.I can still hear him say that you have to drive at a safe and prudent speed according to the weather conditions (every winter for over 45 years this comes back to me). God bless you Mrs. Elgersma. I’m sorry for your loss.


Bob & Barb Gulbranson

October 4, 2023 at 2:53 pm

Mary and family – Bob and I are so sorry about your loss. Larry was such a gentle and special man. Bob always enjoyed playing golf with him and seeing him at Auro. He was such a fighter and a inspiration to so many. You are all in our prayers.


Dave and Barb Lubbers

October 4, 2023 at 5:03 pm

Larry was a person who united people. I grew up with Larry in the Maplewood area of south Holland.. There was a group of us who were born right after WWII, known as the baby boomers. Those of us living in Maplewood had a near perfect childhood. There were an abundance of kids around to play baseball, football, baseball, and hockey. We never knew boredom! Larry was a part of that group. Later as adults he was the instigator of a group that we later called “The Boyz in the The ‘Wood”. initially meeting at his house in 1991. After that we got together frequently, sometimes with our spouses. We again became like brothers, with the laughter flowing frequently as we relived our childhood and shared stories of our current families. The last time was this summer, when we drove to his home and really enjoyed each others company.

Years ago Larry saw a photo of his Maplewood kindergarten class, and organized a “Kindergarten Reunion” and later another. He went on line to find his classmates from about 60 years earlier! Another great event, thanks to a man who cared about others. He so enjoyed bringing people together..

Mary, my prayers go out to you and your children. He often spoke of you, and his love for you was obvious.

I will never forget my friend Larry and will forever treasure his friendship. In the words of the old hymn, “Precious memories, how they linger, How they ever flood my soul.”


Pamela Roush

October 4, 2023 at 6:53 pm

Mary, so sorry to hear of Larry’s passing. Know you and your family are in my thoughts.Tim always has wonderful things about him, as passing from 5th grade to middle school.


Janice olson

October 4, 2023 at 9:00 pm

Dear Mary,Steve, Emmy, Lydia, and Caleb, It is so hard to lose such a great person in your life. Larry was so gentle yet created such a presence with anyone he came in contact with. God created a very special man in Larry. I pray with each memory you have you feel him looking down on you. He will always be with you. I will remember the many times he came and blew out my driveway after a big snow storm. He looked for ways to help people. He was an angel on earth and now will work his kindness from above. You should be very proud to have had such a special person in your lives. Prayers for strength and comfort during this hard time. Love Janice Olson


Will Menta

October 4, 2023 at 9:12 pm

Mr Elgersma inspired me. His passion for teaching gave me an idea of what teaching could be. I became a social studies myself and I modeled a lot of my teaching style after his.

I told him that. I did reach out to him a few years ago and told him what an inspiration he’d been in my life.

I will never forget the way he seemed to finally make school relevant to real life. Instead of just static memorization of facts, he got worked up and invested when he talked about the Cuban middle crisis or the Kennedy assasination. He was the first teacher to make me click “oh! he’s talking about real life! this isn’t just random information, it’s stuff he thinks is important even outside of the classroom.”

I am so lucky to have been his student. At the time I thought he was a good teacher, but as the years went by, I realized just how rare teachers as good as him truly are. Lots of people go their whole life without having a teacher as good as him. I feel, so so blessed that he was there to influence me when I was young. I will forever hope that I can be the kind of teacher he was.


Judy (Campbell) Funk

October 4, 2023 at 11:10 pm

Mr. Elgersma always was the balance to Mr. Highfield’s brand of “crazy” in drivers education. I never had him as an actual teacher but he was always so kind and helpful in driver’s education. I am very sorry for your loss Mary.


Neal and India Olson

October 5, 2023 at 5:02 pm

It was such an honor to have known Larry for so many years as a neighbor. Never a day went by without seeing his smile while he was enjoying golfing or enjoying outside while I was playing basketball in the driveway.

Our thoughts go out to Mary and family on what is a huge loss as he was one of a kind as shown by so many wishes above.


Jim and Anne Baird

October 5, 2023 at 6:55 pm

Mary and family,

Our hearts go out to you during this time of sadness and grief in your loss of a husband, father, grandfather. friend and truly exemplary man to all who knew Larry. Always kind and thinking of the other person’s need, rather than himself. You will continue to be in our thoughts and prayers now and in the days ahead, as you seek

comfort and peace.

Jim and Anne Baird


Joyce McClellan

October 5, 2023 at 9:42 pm

Thinking of you Mary and your loved ones in prayer at this difficult time. Cherish your precious memories always. ❤️ Joyce & Dan McClellan


Lorna Sisson

October 6, 2023 at 9:47 am

Dear Mary, Steve , Emmy and family

We have so many wonderful memories including being “ Kalamazoo Street” neighbors; our kids playing and growing together; sharing our faith at church, and our long friendship. Larry will be so missed by all who knew and loved him. May you be comforted by all your wonderful memories and may God hold you in the palm of His hand through this difficult time. Our hearts, prayers and love are holding you close. Love,Craig & Lorna


Michael Kuiper

October 6, 2023 at 10:22 am

One of the multitudes of students Mr. Elgersma taught in his amazing career. Never expected to follow in his footsteps and teach. But, twenty years on, I still share his belief that we can make a difference in young people’s lives. He among others planted the education seed in me. Thank you. Mr. E!


Marilyn, Brett, Brooks and Bruce Lamborn

October 7, 2023 at 4:41 pm

To The Elgersma Family:

So sorry to hear of Larry’s passing. Plainwell was so fortunate to have him as a Teacher. In later years, I got to see him at Western Michigan University basketball games, always a smile and hello for me.

Cherish the many wonderful memories!! He is at peace now with God by his side.


Tonia Leonard (Forney)

October 10, 2023 at 2:04 pm

Steve and family – I am so sorry for your loss. Prayers for everyone during this difficult time.


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