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January 10, 2013 8:26 am

Larry John Van Epps

(May 31, 1949 - Jan. 9, 2013)

Larry John Van Epps of Powell died Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013.

Larry was born May 31, 1949 in Mahnomen, Minn., to Louis and Alice Van Epps. He was first generation Dutch as both his parents came over to the United States from Holland in their early years.

He was preceded in death by his brother Louis (Sonny) Van Epps, Jr., both his parents, also his nephews Micheal Van Epps, Jake Larson and Tim Larson.

He leaves behind three siblings: Mary Ann (Elmer) Pulscher, DeLores Larson and Jim (Marguerite) Van Epps. He also leaves behind his loving wife, Madeleine, and three children: Stephanie (Jake) Johnson, Heidi (Adeeb) Khan and Chase (Angela) Van Epps and three precious grandchildren: Maizy, Berkeley and Emery Johnson.

Larry was an avid outdoorsman and conversationalist. As a Ducks Unlimited and Pheasants Forever supporter, Larry spent the most time bird hunting but also enjoyed big game hunting. Hunting brought him much joy for he was able to be outdoors in God’s creation. 

Another great pastime he loved was fishing. Larry was mostly a walleye man, and he loved being out for hours at a time whether it was the middle of summer blazing hot in a boat, or the dead of winter freezing cold on the ice. His mother-in-law diagnosed him with housatosis (allergy to being inside).

He graduated from Bethel College in 1971 with a double major in political science and history. He returned to school at the College of St. Thomas receiving a master’s in the art of teaching. He then moved to Riverton, where he taught at Shoshoni High School for six years and also coached basketball, track and football.  

Feeling the need for something greater, he returned to Minnesota after marrying Madeleine Kupfer in 1979. He received a master’s degree from St. Cloud in guidance and counseling. After working in the Canby, Minn., school system for four years, the family wanted to return to “God’s Country.”

Larry started as a guidance counselor at Powell High School in 1984 where he remained until he retired in 2008 after working one year at the middle school.

Larry had a great love for people. His wish was to help all students who struggled and those who performed well become successful adults. After retiring from Powell, still feeling the need to help students, he worked part time in Basin and Burlington in counseling for another two years.

His disease, Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD), started to take over his life in his late 50s and finally took his whole life on Jan. 9, 2013, at the age 63. Due to Larry’s disease, organ donation was accepted by the Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center and Science Care programs. His family hopes that these donations will help lead to a better understanding of FTD and diseases like it.

Larry will be remembered by his loved ones as a man of God who greatly loved people. He will be missed by the many people he helped during his years of service both for the schools and the church.

A memorial service for Larry will take place Saturday, Jan. 12 at 5 p.m. at First Baptist Church in Powell. The service is open for all who would like to attend.

16 comments

  • Comment Link January 10, 2013 12:22 pm posted by Tom Knutson

    Madeliene, Our deepest sympathy to you, your children and your entire family. Larry was a very wonderful man respected by all. When his brother Jim called me yesterday with the news, I was very saddened and I want you know how we wish we could be there with you all during these difficult times. You may remember a number of years ago my wife Pat, our son Jacob and I stopping in Powell and spending an evening with you and your family. May god bless each and every one of you. Tom, Pat & Jacob Knutson

  • Comment Link January 10, 2013 3:41 pm posted by Mary Robertson

    Hello VanEpps family. I was so saddened to hear of your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this season of grief. I remember Larry as described. He loved people and loved to help. I remember him walking the dogs, summer and winter across the street to the field (that probably is no longer there.) Hugs, thoughts and prayers go to all of you.
    Mary (formerly Cox) Robertson

  • Comment Link January 10, 2013 4:57 pm posted by Dick Wray

    Mattie, our prayers are with you and your families at this time. It was a privilege to work side by side with Larry assisting students at Powell School High make career choices. Larry, God Bless your wonderful soul.

  • Comment Link January 10, 2013 5:24 pm posted by Millie Bob Kruse

    Dear Maddi & family:
    We are so very sorry to hear of Larry's passing. We will always have the memories of you folks as our neighbors (oddly enough in both neighborhoods). Bob still remembers his and Larry's fishing trip for walleye. I do and will always miss his teasing and his great laugh. Our prayers and love go out to you, Steph, Heidi, Chase & families.

  • Comment Link January 10, 2013 6:00 pm posted by Darren Cannon

    VanEpps Family. So very sorry to hear of Mr. VanEpps passing. He was my high school guidance counselor from 1984-1987. What a wonderful guidance counselor and even more amazing person. God Bless. Darren Cannon

  • Comment Link January 11, 2013 9:28 am posted by Kristin Gustafson

    What a beautiful tribute to a great man. It really documents a life well lived. Praying for your family as you grieve the loss of a wonderful husband, dad, and grandpa.

  • Comment Link January 11, 2013 9:43 am posted by Ingrid Eickstedt, Powell Valley Community Education Executive Director

    On behalf of all the beginning drivers Larry taught, I'd like to thank him and his family. It takes a special kind of person to teach driver education. We'll never know how many lives were touched in a positive way because of his shared knowledge, patience and caring attention in the classroom and behind the wheel.

  • Comment Link January 12, 2013 10:49 pm posted by Madeleine Van Epps family

    Thank you for the kind words, thoughts, and prayers during this difficult time. It means so much to us all.

  • Comment Link January 13, 2013 8:57 pm posted by nancy kapalka

    WE enjoyed the times we were in conversation with Larry. WE felt his true spirituality in his offer he made to other persons in sharing our LORD's love. WE know he was a great guy because all his family reflected part of him!
    Love to all of you.
    Nancy and Ron Kapalka

  • Comment Link January 19, 2013 8:41 pm posted by Carol Norby

    We are saddened to hear of Larry's passing. Our prayers are with you. He was a very special man of God.
    Dean & Carol Norby

  • Comment Link January 28, 2013 7:00 am posted by Karen Anne (Nelson) Kitt

    Those of us in his hometown of New London, MN were fortunate to know Larry from childhood. We remember him as a bright and talented kid with a big heart and a wonderful sense of humor. Larry grew to be the finest of men and will be missed so very much. Our sincere sympathy to your dear family.

  • Comment Link January 29, 2013 7:46 am posted by Terry Kaelke Dybsetter

    Madeliene and family, I wanted to offer my sympathy for your loss. I also wanted to add a memory as well. I lived just about a half mile down the road from Larry and his family when he was growing up. The thing I remember the most is that every time we drove or walked by the "culvert", (now the public access) down the road from their house - there was Larry fishing. My dad (also a fisherman) would usually stop to chat and see what was biting.

    A classmate and early neighbor, Terry Kaelke Dybsetter

  • Comment Link January 30, 2013 2:25 pm posted by Leo Febus

    Sad to hear Larry passed away. He was in my classyear when I attended highschool in New London as a foreign exchange student from the Netherlands. We had good talks and friendship. He was a very nice person to socialize with. When we were together his catch-phrase was: "You ain't much if you're not Dutch". I'll cherish the good memories. I wish Madeleine and the family much strength in this difficult time.
    Former classmate Leo Febus,

  • Comment Link February 24, 2013 5:06 pm posted by Jim Nadine Edmunds

    Dear Maddi and family, Jim and I are saddened to hear of Larry's passing but thankful for the great joy that he surely is experiencing with his loving & gracious Savior. During those early years after we were first saved, Larry was a great example to us of a sincere follower of Christ. We will always remember Larry with great fondness. We pray that as Philippians 4:7 assures us, your sweet family will experience the peace of God that passes all understanding. Love to you all in Christ Jesus, our Lord.

  • Comment Link October 05, 2013 3:56 pm posted by Patty Lakin Carroll

    Dear Madeline,
    I just read your note to my Mom, Maxine.
    I am so sorry to hear about the loss of Larry. I never had the chance to get to know him well, but I remember his enthusiasm for life and kind spirit.
    Now that I know your address, I will be getting in touch by mail.

  • Comment Link January 16, 2014 2:51 pm posted by Gaye Winter

    Oh,Maddy, I cannot believe it has been a whole year! You and Larry have been missed for many many yearsin Canby school system. I am so sorry for your loss of such a wonderful man and to see FTD take him so early in life. When you are back in MN please call or stop in! Skype, too. 3 grandbabies wonderful! Peace be with you and yours HUGS!

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