Cover photo for Larry James Manion's Obituary
1935 Larry 2024

Larry James Manion

September 22, 1935 — May 18, 2024

The second son of Mabel and Clarence Manion, Larry was born on September 22, 1935, in Houston, Texas. The family moved to Denver three years later so Clarence could take over the Manion Placer Mines in Blackhawk after the death of the operation’s owner, Larry’s grandfather Edward Manion. They settled in Park Hill and spent many memorable summers in Central City. 

 Larry attended East High School, where he won not only the state hurdles championship but also the heart of Jean Altendorf. He then attended the University of Kansas, a member of Phi Gamma Delta. After two years at KU, Larry enlisted in the Army, serving at Camp Hale, an unforgettable, very meaningful chapter of his life, where his unit trained paratroopers and special forces in cold weather survival and combat. 

 After the Army Larry earned a BS and MS in Geology from the University of Wyoming. Another of the happiest times of his life involved the summer he and Jean, now his wife, camped on Vermillion Creek in northwest Colorado so he could complete his master’s thesis involving the geological mapping of Irish Canyon.

 The young couple followed the oil patch, initially living in Casper, where they had their first child, Kerry, then moving to Lafayette, Louisiana, where they had their second child, Mary, and then back to Denver, where they had their third child, Sarah. Larry worked in the oil industry his entire life. He loved analyzing maps and geological data, chasing deals, and speculating–but perhaps he relished even more going out into the field, where he worked on oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico and “sat wells” in magnificent remote locations in Wyoming and Colorado. 

 Larry had many life passions. He loved opera and served on the board of the Central City Opera Association. He loved history and was an avid reader and crossword puzzle enthusiast. He loved music and the University of Wyoming and combined those two passions by founding a scholarship at UW for student musicians. He enjoyed cross-country skiing and golf–and he fell head-over-heels for squash, for decades playing at the Denver Athletic Club, where he was also on the board of directors. He was a vibrant member of the Denver Gyro Club. He played in a summer softball league with his middle-aged friends, the Time Park Panthers, where he was, probably by default, the team’s catcher. He adored the Rockies from the get-go and was a huge Broncos fan, enjoying for more than forty years coveted season tickets on the fifty-yard line, seventh row. He loved fly fishing and duck hunting and elk hunting with his buddies, though one questions whether his elk hunting trips were anything besides backcountry boondoggles, as nobody at our house ever ate any fresh elk meat. He loved to scuba dive, and he and Jean would go on diving trips all over the Caribbean. He loved taking his young family to Mexico, and would befriend and crack up the locals with his limited Spanish, telling them he was having dinner that noche with “el Presidente Lopez Portillo.” By the end of these trips, everybody was slapping his back and calling him Lorenzo. 

 Larry lived a darn good life. He and Jean shared a grounded, vital, happy marriage for sixty-six years. They loved each other through life’s joys and life’s tragedies, through his long battle with Parkinson’s, all the way to the end. He reared three daughters who inherited their dad’s love of the mountains and sports and music and laughter–and who also have lived rich, fulfilling lives. Innately funny, positive, kind, a great storyteller, Larry had many, many friends–people just liked being around him. If you want to channel his prodigious spirit, look for the inimitable Larry Manion in the high mountains surrounding Camp Hale, the DAC squash courts, the Central City Opera House, or the sparkle in the eyes of his three grandsons, now young men all. 

 Larry is preceded in death by his parents, Mabel and Clarence Manion, and his brother Robert Manion. He is survived by his beloved wife Jean; daughters Kerry Manion and Mary FitzSimons; son-in-law Dan FitzSimons; and three grandsons, Jack FitzSimons, Ben Weissman, and Gunnar Holmes. His youngest daughter Sarah died eight days after he did. A celebration of his life will be held at Holly Creek in Centennial on June 21 at 1:00. Memorial donations may be made to Central City Opera or the Parkinson’s Foundation.

 

 

 

 

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