On November 27, 2020, Larry Gene Smerling passed away in his home in Ripon at age 73. Larry was born on August 5, 1947, in Omro, WI, to Henry and Helena Smerling; he attended Oshkosh High School, and it was there that his history teacher, Bertram Baxter took Larry under his wing. Bert became Larry’s foster father, encouraging him to participate in the high school plays’ stage & lighting crew, instilling a life-long love of music and theater.

Larry Gene Smerling

Larry Gene Smerling

After graduating from UW-Oshkosh with a BS degree in chemistry, Larry followed in Bert’s footsteps enlisting in the Navy on September 22, 1969; he was stationed at a military hospital in California until his honorable discharge on November 21, 1973.

Returning to Wisconsin, Larry took a position as Veterans Service Officer in Green Lake County and later became the Veterans Service Officer for Winnebago County on June 29, 1981 and held the position until his retirement on August 31, 2007. Along with his years of services in his career, Larry volunteered at the YMCA as a Fit-For-Life instructor and had an active role in the Winnebago County Historical Society.

Larry loved to fill his life with travel, excellent cuisine, and live music. He acquired an extensive collection of drumsticks from bands performed in the Oshkosh area. Antiquing through thrifting, Restore, flea markets, and auctions (and making additions to his glass hat collection) were some of his favorite hobbies. However, the greatest loves of his life were his two daughters and his granddaughter.

Preceding him in death are his parents, Henry and Helena Smerling; foster father, Bertram Baxter; brother, Jerry Smerling, and sister-in-law, Beverly. His legacy lives on in his beloved daughters Skylar Smerling and Larryn Smerling; and his granddaughter Audria Swanke. Larry is also survived by his brother, Roger Smerling (Tracy); sister, Roxanne Biffert (Dave); son-in-law, Zachary Swanke; nephew, David Biffert; three nieces, Brittany Vanderbilt (Jesse), Candace Smerling and Jessica (Joe) Roethig; and best friend, Jim Petersen of Berlin. Larry was smart, loving, and generous, had a great sense of humor, and was at ease talking with anyone; he will be greatly missed.

Visitation will be held on Tuesday, December 8, 2020, at the Uecker-Witt Funeral Home, 524 North Park Ave., Fond du Lac, WI, from 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM. A memorial service will follow the visitation at 1:00 PM. Due to Emergency Order #1 under Executive Order #82, masks are required while in attendance. Following the memorial service, Larry’s Navy service will be honored by the Military Honor Guard.

Guestbook and tribute wall may be found by visiting ueckerwitt.com.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Thank you for taking part in our commenting section. We want this platform to be a safe and inclusive community where you can freely share ideas and opinions. Comments that are racist, hateful, sexist or attack others won’t be allowed. Just keep it clean. Do these things or you could be banned:

• Don’t name-call and attack other commenters. If you’d be in hot water for saying it in public, then don’t say it here.

• Don’t spam us.

• Don’t attack our journalists.

Let’s make this a platform that is educational, enjoyable and insightful.

Email questions to darkin@orourkemediagroup.com.