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Lawrence Harrison December 11, 1933 - November 7, 2020

Lawrence (Larry) Harrison

Lawrence (Larry) Joseph Harrison was born into his eternal life on November 7, 2020, taken by pancreatic cancer. His story began just shy of 87 years earlier, on December 11, 1933, when Larry was born to Bud and Eileen Harrison in LaPorte, Indiana, joining his two brothers Bill and Steve. He became a child of God through baptism on December 31, 1933 at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in LaPorte. The family gained a little sister when Mary was born a few years after Larry.

Larry followed his brother Steve to Notre Dame University as an engineering student. When asked why he chose that field he said, “because that’s the registration line Steve was standing in.” He received his degree in Chemical Engineering from Notre Dame in 1955.

Following graduation from Notre Dame, Larry enrolled in graduate school at Purdue University because they offered one course in Nuclear Engineering, and Larry had decided that this was the field of engineering he wanted to pursue. While at Purdue he met the first love of his life, a beautiful petite coed named Nancy Lamoreaux. Larry earned his master’s degree in chemical engineering and Nancy her bachelor’s degree in microbiology in 1957.

Larry and Nancy tied the knot in Indianapolis on May 4, 1957. Shortly after, they packed up and moved ‘out west’ to the wilds of Idaho where Larry had accepted a nuclear engineering position with Phillips Petroleum Co. at the Idaho National Laboratory. They settled in Idaho Falls and over the next twelve years their family grew. Kathy, Elaine, Dan, Tim, and Julianne came in quick succession. Cara waited another 6 ½ years before making her grand appearance.

After six years at Phillips, Larry moved to Argonne National Laboratory’s Western Laboratory at the INL. Most of his thirty-two years at Argonne West were spent working with the TREAT (Transient Reactor Test Facility) reactor. While working there he also found time to obtain his master’s in business administration from the University of Idaho in 1970. Larry had the opportunity, after 20 years in retirement (both he and the TREAT reactor), to go back to work to help restart this one-of-a-kind facility for new research on nuclear reactor fuels.

When Larry wasn’t at work ‘out on the desert’ he would often be found at Holy Rosary Catholic Church. By the time Larry moved from Idaho Falls to Boise in 2017 there were not many volunteer positions at Holy Rosary that Larry hadn’t filled during his sixty years there.

Besides his work and church, bridge was the third passion of Larry’s. He and Nancy spent many happy years playing with ‘the Dinner Bridge group.’ He was also able to play bridge on the INL bus to and from Argonne using a special table the engineers built just for the bus.

In September of 1995 Larry lost his beloved Nancy to cancer.

In March of 1996 Larry and Barbara Condon, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) pastor in Idaho Falls, started conversing which led to a relationship between this cradle Catholic and Lutheran pastor. Eyebrows went up and tongues wagged all around town when news that they were dating got out. Larry and Barbara were married in May 1998, beginning a new chapter of Larry’s life. He and Barbara moved to a new house on a half-acre lot that Larry turned into a beautiful park with his gardening skills. What had once been a passion for his work now became a passion for his yard. His gardening artistry continued in their new smaller yard in Boise as he transformed it too into a beautiful garden. He came to enjoy living in Boise and loved that he was able to see his children and grandchildren more frequently.

Larry was a man who never seemed his chronological age. He was a phenomenal bridge player, a lover of classical music, and a collector of works by local artists. If you ever thought of him as a stuffy engineer then you never saw him in his famous cow suit, or Birthday Boy Christmas sweater, or with his pink hair from playing Holi in India or dressed as a Kalakathi dancer. Larry was known for his love of sweaters and passed many of his favorites on to his family. He grew into being a staunch supporter of the LGBTQ community in Idaho Falls and beyond. He had a heart the size of Texas and was generous to a fault. He laughed and cried at the drop of a hat. His love of God and love of being at daily and Sunday mass was as deep as the ocean. He wasn’t afraid of death when it suddenly knocked on his door. Throughout the years, when the subject of death would come up, Larry would always quote Timothy Leary who had said that “death would be the ultimate trip.”

Larry was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Nancy, and their son Dan.

He is survived by his wife Barbara; his children Kathleen (Jim) Batdorf of Richland, WA,

Elaine (Pratap) Khanwilkar of Fair Oaks Ranch, TX, Tim (Suzanne) Harrison of Seattle, WA,

Julianne (Matt,) Davidson of Mountlake Terrace, WA, and Cara (Jeff Hampton) Harrison of Asheville, NC; Daughter-in-law Lisa Harrison of Wasilla, AK; grandchildren Michael (Liz MacCool) Batdorf, Karin Batdorf, Laura (Austin) Graves, Sarika Khanwilkar, Alyssa Harrison (Max Boddy) Nick Harrison, Ben Davidson, Grace Davidson, Mavis Harrison and Tallulah Harrison; siblings Bill (Fr Cyprian, O.C.S.O.) of Ava, MO, Steve Harrison (Elizabeth) of Sandspit, New Zealand, and Mary Schlunz of LaPorte, IN; sisters-in-law Cindy Peterson and Sherry (Linn) Phillips; his “favorite niece” Valerie (Dave Williamson); nephews Michael Harrison, Christopher Harrison, Randy (Nelia) Peterson, and many other nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to: Holy Rosary Catholic School 150 E. Eighth St., Idaho Falls, ID 83401, Luther Heights Bible Camp 707 W. Fort St. Boise, ID 83702, or Our Lady of Assumption Abbey Rt. 5 Box 193, Ava, MO 65608-9142.

A Memorial Mass will be held at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, Boise and also at Saint John Paul II Catholic Parish (Holy Rosary Church), Idaho Falls in the late spring or early summer.

Arrangements are under the direction of Bowman Funeral Parlor of Garden City.

A Memorial Mass will be held at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, Boise and also at Saint John Paul II Catholic Parish (Holy Rosary Church), Idaho Falls in the late spring or early summer.

Condolences(10)

  1. REPLY
    Susan Speir says

    Barbara and Family,
    Larry and I send you our deepest sympathy and love.
    From Susan and Larry Speir

  2. REPLY
    Mary & John Lund says

    Barbara and family,
    We are so sorry for your loss. Larry held a very special place in our hearts. We are praying for all of you.

    Mary and John Lund

  3. REPLY
    John Haire says

    We are sorry to read of your loss. I have many fond memories of times in our homes as well as church of Mister Harrison. (“Mister” was just a sign of the times) He touched many lives including mine in a positive way. He is missed and my heart is with you all in this time of loss.
    John and Jodi Haire

  4. REPLY
    Jack Liebenthal says

    Larry’s death is very hard for me.
    We shared a lab at Purdue in 1956. After he took a job there, he got me to interview with the National Reactor testing Station [now INL], and I took a job in the same group as he. I was at his wedding, spent time at his house, and loved both him and Nancy. His picture, in which he looks like the same Larry I have known so long, makes me feel his wonderful personality and character. I am in Boise and will go back to Eastern Idaho in April, so ceremonies in both places mean that I can attend one, which I strongly want to do. I hope someone will help me do that. I wish the greatest solace to his family.

  5. REPLY
    Jack Liebenthal says

    I knew Larry as a grad school lab mate to his getting me to Idaho and my working with him. He was such a great person. His family amd so ,any others have had a deep loss. May they have a deep solace that such a wonderful person lived such a good life with them.

  6. REPLY
    Bill Phoenix says

    Larry was kind, generous with his help and ideas, eager to share his knowledge and insights, and a sympathetic ear during the restart of the TREAT reactor. He helped us avoid pitfalls and smoothed the way with his knowledge. He was always available to sit and chat, share a laugh and encouragement. Larry’s work lives on with the TREAT reactor, and with helping shape the people who helped start it up and who now operate and maintain it. Thank you, Larry.

  7. REPLY
    Jerry Brady says

    I did not know Larry well but saw him frequently at Holy Rosary where, as excellent obituary in today’s Statesman say, he such a faithful and I would say humble servant of the community. He was a few years ahead of me at Notre Dame so we had that in common, although he did not make of that anything special, which I appreciated. I only met Larry after he was married to Barbara but I liked that about him a lot as well. I knew nothing of his professional life, which sounds like one to be proud of. But not too proud! There was a Just Right, Balanced quality to him that comes through in his story. I must have moved to Boise a little ahead of Larry and would like to have seen him again, knowing he would be just as before. Yes, you have my condolences but I also feel really good that there has been a Larry Harrison in this world and a family to carry on. And I will send a donation to Holy Rosary in his name, from which I graduated in 1950, with all the warning from the nuns about the perils ahead in the public schools!

  8. REPLY
    Marilou and Ed Hart says

    We are so sorry to hear of Larry’s passing. He was such a kind and nice man. \

  9. REPLY
    Dane H. Watkins says

    Dear Harrison Family,
    Both Sherry and I wish to express our sincere condolences for the loss of Larry, he was a great man and we are grateful for his friendship and service in the community. He will be greatly missed.
    Sincerely,
    Dane & Sherry Watkins

  10. REPLY
    Robert Phipps says

    I was privileged to work with many exceptional engineers and scientists while at Argonne. Larry was one of the very best.

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