“(He) worked hard all his life,” said son, Todd Fronce. “Never made a ton of money, but we always (were) comfortable, always got by and we knew how to do with what we had.”
Larry, 80, is one of five Riley County people who died after testing positive for the coronavirus. He died July 29, the latest fatality in Riley County.
“He had a good, long, full life,” Todd said. “He did a lot of things, was loved by many and I don’t know if you can ask for a whole lot more than that.”
Larry was a resident in the Stolzer House, which provides dementia care to patients, at Meadowlark Hills.
His children say he had a high fever at times that would come and go, but was not experiencing any extreme breathing problems after testing positive for the coronavirus.
“That seemed to be the only part of (COVID-19) that was really happening,” daughter Krista Thaemert said about her father’s fever.
Before he passed away, Larry experienced confusion and began not eating and drinking as much, his kids said.
“We think it was more a dementia-related thing,” Thaemert said about his death. “I mean, I’m sure the (COVID-19) did not help and then, on top of it, being confused.”
Larry was admitted into Ascension Via Christi Hospital after testing positive for the virus but eventually moved back to the Stolzer House to receive care in his final days.
“He wasn’t getting better in the hospital,” Thaemert said. “He was even more confused there. The surroundings were different; the people were different. So we decided to put him back in the Stolzer House for the final days, hoping that it would make a change.”
Todd said his father loved Manhattan and the people he interacted with.
“If you needed his help, he would,” said Todd, who lives in El Paso, Texas. “If he could fix it, he would. He reached out to the community a lot.”
In addition to Todd and Thaemert, Larry is survived by his wife, Darlene, who he was married to for 62 years, his son, Larry of Manhattan; his sister, Joyce; five grandchildren as well as several nieces and nephews.
One of his sons, Jeffrey, died prior to Larry’s death, which was very hard on Larry, Todd said.
Jeffrey lived in the Stolzer House too, Todd said. He said his family is very appreciative of the staff at the Stolzer House and Meadowlark Hills.
Thaemert said her father was a part of the generation of men “who just knew how to do things right.”
“If something was broken, he didn’t throw it away by any means,” said Thaemert, who lives in Manhattan. “They worked until it was fixed and it was running again, whether it’d be a lawn mower or car, whatever. You know he took good care of everything, valued people and the things and just did things right.”
He enjoyed hunting, fishing and water skiing, often at Tuttle Creek Lake.
“We were on the lake a lot,” Thaemert said.
Larry served as a firefighter for the Fort Riley Fire Department for 34 years, according to Larry’s obituary, which ran in Sunday’s edition of The Mercury. He worked at Dillons after retiring from the fire department.
Todd said the family is figuring out how to organize a memorial service for Larry in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We don’t know how to like have a memorial, a funeral, all of those things are kind of up in the air,” Todd said.