Obituary for Larry Swarthout
Spring Lake, MI - The late evening of November 23, 2021, Larry Dean Swarthout of Spring Lake, Michigan ended his lengthy battle with Parkinson’s.
Larry retained his sense of humor and gentleness until the very end.
Larry was born on July 12, 1934, in Dayton, Ohio to Myrtle and Harold Swarthout. Larry graduated from Portland High School in 1952. On May 12, 1957, he married the love of his life, Donna Cobb. Together they raised a son, Kirt Dean and a daughter, Pamela Sue.
At the age of 5 Larry started his career in customer service by helping his parents run their Gamble store in Portland. He would learn his fathers business in depth, from waiting on customers (knowing them all by name) to repairing anything they sold.
His strong work ethic led to a referral from the school superintendent to Michigan Bell Telephone Company. Larry quickly rose in the ranks at MBT. Promotions took him from Portland to Lansing, Spring Lake and eventually Grand Rapids. By the time Larry retired at the young age of 52, he was in charge of all large and small business systems for most of Michigan. Throughout the years in his many positions, Larry cared for and held close relationships with all of his employees.
After his early retirement Larry and Donna purchased Temptations Ice Cream and they settled back in Spring Lake. They would continue on to open 3 additional ice cream shops over the next few years. In 1989 they decided to sell all 4 stores and travel, splitting their time between Fort Myers, FL and Spring Lake, MI.
Larry is survived by his wife of 64 years, Donna; children, Pamela (Norman Dodds) Stille of Spring Lake, and Kirt Swarthout of California; three grandchildren: Alivia Stille, Grant Stille, and Kristina Swarthout. He was preceded in death by his brother, Harold Swarthout.
A memorial service will take place on 3:00 PM Wednesday, December 22, 2021, at The Spring Lake Chapel of System Funeral & Cremation Services, 213 E. Savidge St, Spring Lake, MI 49456. Visitation (AKA Larry’s cocktail hour) will follow the service at the Lilley Mansion, 113 S Division, Spring Lake, MI. 49456. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the MSU College of Human Medicine Parkinson’s Research Fund, Secchia Center 15 Michigan St. NE Grand Rapids MI 49503. Please sign the family’s online guestbook at www.sytsemafh.com.