Madison, Wisconsin--Larry Gleasman, age 79, passed away on January 2nd at Agrace Hospice in Madison from complications due to a fall.
Larry was born in Rockford Illinois on October 18th, 1939, the only child of Bob and Marion Gleasman. The family lived with Larry’s beloved grandparents, William and Edith Molson in a home “Grampa” built himself in Rockford. Larry was a Police Cadet in the Rockford Police Department in the late ‘50’s before joining the USMC where he was a corporal in the 20th Rifle Company USMC-R based in Rockford. He attended the University of Northern Illinois and later Milton College in Milton before moving to Madison in the mid-60’s.
Larry was employed in Madison as manager of Gino’s restaurant from 1968-1971; he then enrolled in gunsmith school at the Colorado School of Trades in Denver where his skill and craftsmanship earned him his certificate. Back in Madison, he became a housefellow at the UW YMCA and was employed at the Buy and Sell shop in sales and as a gunsmith. His craftsmanship was impeccable.
Larry was elected and served in the ‘70’s on the Dane County Board, representing a downtown student-oriented district where he became known for his steady work, active engagement and commitment to his constituents and the greater community. Larry was a leader in the development of Dane County’s excellent human services delivery especially for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled. As colleague Bill Lunney said: “…his compassion and….fairness and (insistence) on equality for all pervaded all his actions in life.”
On leaving the County Board, Larry moved to Williamson Street where he purchased a building in the heart of the Willy neighborhood and opened “Grampa’s Gun Shop” where he held forth until retiring from active business in 2012 when he moved to an apartment on Ingersoll. Larry was a fine son as, when his mother’s husband passed; he remodeled his shop and home and invited her move in with him. Larry and his Mom, Marion, lived together until her death in 2006. Marion was an inspiration and source of joy to Larry and many of us, his friends, who frequently gathered on Friday afternoons in “Miss Marion’s” kitchen for good conversation, many laughs and the ‘odd’ adult beverage.
Having gained a deserved reputation for good common sense and an extensive knowledge of Dane County politics, government and land use policy, Larry was hired by the Greater Madison Board of Realtors and worked for them through the ‘90’s.
Larry is survived by four first cousins, Joyce (Shapcotte) Kelly of Council Bluffs, IA; Judy (Arduino) Short, Bel Air MD and her husband Burdette; Paul “Mike” Arduino and his wife Barbara of Rockford, IL; and Will Arduino and his wife Cindee of Loveland, CO.
Larry was married and divorced twice: to Lucy Cooper of Milwaukee from 1968 to 1972 and to Donna Covey from 1982 to 1988. Larry remained close friends with both. Larry considered Donna’s son Jay A. Covey, as a son to him too, and treated Jay as a son from the time he was a small child. He was very proud of the man Jay grew up to be.
There will be a gathering of remembrance and celebration for Larry on Wednesday, February 20th, at Kavanaugh’s Esquire Club in Madison from 5:00 pm to 7:30 pm. A light dinner buffet and drinks will be provided with a program at about 6:00 pm. The Esquire Club is at 1025 N. Sherman Ave., Madison, Wi.
Ryan Funeral Home is handling the arrangements; a private interment in Rockford will follow the memorial at Kavanaugh’s.
The family and all of those who are friends of Larry would like to especially thank Catherine Hopewell who cared for him lovingly and carefully and who made it possible for him to live independently in his apartment for the last three, sometimes difficult, years of his life.
In lieu of memorials Larry’s friends and family suggest you consider contributions to Operation Fresh Start or Agrace Hospice, both of Madison.