Larry Stanley

Obituary of Larry Dean Stanley

Larry Dean Stanley, 82, of Niceville, Florida passed away peacefully at Fort Walton Beach Medical Center on Wednesday, November 8, 2023, surrounded by his family. He was born December 27, 1940, in Lansing, Michigan to Leonard and Hilda (Eberhart) Stanley.

Larry graduated from Clare High School in Clare, Michigan in 1959 and then served honorably for three years in the U.S. Navy, stationed in Nashville, where he recounted once bumping into Elvis, and later at Coronado in California, where he learned Morse Code and set a record for pull-ups. While on leave in Clare, Aug 11, 1962, he finally married the girl from the other side of Wheaton Street that he had been dating for years, Diane Kay Bryant, daughter of Clare basketball star Ernie Bryant and Monica Ackerman. Larry and Diane recently celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary.

Larry attended Central Michigan University, graduating with honors in 1967, the first of his family to earn a college degree. He later passed the CPA exam on his first try.

In the summer of 1967 Larry was confronted by an armed National Guard soldier while walking to his Coopers & Lybrand office in a Detroit high rise. The Detroit Riot helped inform his decision to seek employment with a smaller accounting firm in a smaller town. He moved his young family to Traverse City for a time, then in 1971 arrived in Cadillac, where he started his own CPA practice.

Larry provided a wonderful life for Diane and their three boys in Cadillac during the 70s. They hung out with the tennis-playing, young professional crowd, many of whom are dear friends to this day. An old friend sums up Larry during that era: “He always seemed quietly amused by the banter around him, a kind soul always evident.”

In 1983 Larry took a job as chief financial officer for the new planned community of Bluewater Bay in Niceville, Florida.

His catchword was “perseverance.” When undertaking a project, he seldom looked up until the job was done. After purchasing, expanding, and selling Powell Sanitation Services in Niceville to Waste Management in the early 90s, he built a house on the Bay and painted the name Perseverance on the side of his boat.

In retirement Larry traveled the world with Diane, hiked more than half of the Appalachian Trail, and set a record for the number of holes played on the golf course at Bluewater Bay

He identified with and had a deep fondness for the meek and innocent, young children, and small animals. He once single-handedly rescued a cat from a group of abusive rowdies on a beach who had been swinging the poor thing by its tail.

He loved to sing, and in about 1960 was inducted into the Navy’s prestigious Bluejacket Choir.  He often burst into a rendition of Danny Boy, usually with a rum and Diet Coke in his hand. Unshakeable loyalty to those he was close to.

He was honest to a fault. Abe Lincoln had nothing on Larry Stanley. He would sooner cut off his arm at the shoulder than misrepresent the truth.

Larry is survived by his wife, Diane; three sons, Mark (Tracy) of Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, Mike of Niceville, and Matt of Durango, Colorado; Biological granddaughters, Siena Stanley of Pensacola, India (Sam) McClead of Crestview, Gabriella Kings of Pensacola, Kate Reid of Arizona, and Allison and Paige Stanley of Durango; Step-grandchildren, Mark Steely (Nathalie) of Augusta, Georgia, and their three children Elliot, John Mark, and Amelia, and Haley Mashburn of Santa Rosa Beach and her two children Luke and Josie. He is also survived by his siblings in Michigan, Bonnie Humphrey, Patricia (Robert) Eichler, and Bill Stanley, as well as in-laws, Mark and Vicki Hampton of Ocala, Florida, Colleen Lusk of Clare, Michigan, and Bill and Glenda Bryant of Coldwater, Michigan. He was preceded in death by his brother, Leon Stanley and brother-in-law, Joseph Humphrey.

A Memorial and Celebration of the Life of Larry Stanley is being planned for late spring 2024, probably in Cadillac.


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