We gather today to remember and celebrate the life of Larry Boone and also to affirm our Christian confidence in life after death. In other words, in this time of loss we want to remind ourselves that this “ending” is only temporary.
In God’s Word we read,
For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. 2 We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. 3 For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. 4 While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. (2 Corinthians 5:1-4)
“I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. (John 11:25-26)
Please join me in prayer,
Father, we come to you today reminded that life on this earth is temporary and is a gift from You. Today as we grieve, grant us your comfort and your grace. Stir up within us cherished memories that will help us celebrate the blessing of Larry’s life. Fill us with the confident hope of life beyond the grave that is ours through faith in Christ. In this time of heartache draw us close. Amen.
Larry’s obituary is a good summary of his life.
Larry Boone was born on June 14, 1940 in LaHarpe the son of Murlie E. and Margaret Petty Boone. He was a 1959 graduate of the LaHarpe High School. On June 19, 1960 he married Carol Browning in LaHarpe. They had three children: Brenda, Rebecca and Scott. Carol preceded him in death on August 16, 1987.
Larry held many jobs in his life. He worked in the grocery store as a meat cutter and then worked stocking grocery stores all over the state. He even owned a grocery store.
He created the flower shop that he and Carol had in various locations. He loved people and so he was good at various forms of sales such as fabric parties and sweeper sales. He is most remembered for his time in the food business, owning The 8-Ball Café, The Country Café, Larry’s Country View and the Traveling Chuck Wagon working with local auctioneers.
At various times he managed a motel, apartment complex, storage facility, and worked a route filling the “junk machine” with stuffed animals and goodies the kids loved. If he didn’t have a job he’d create one and often included members of the family. He was a man of great ideas.
Larry was the director of the La Harpe Bicentennial Celebration where he was chosen as Man of the Year. He was instrumental in establishing the LaHarpe Summerfest Celebration. He was a member of the LaHarpe Lions Club and the Golden Rule Club.
Larry died on February 17th in Springfield. He was preceded in death by his parents, wife, Carol, and one brother, Gary Lee Boone.
The family has asked Larry Hobby, a long-time friend of Larry’s to share some memories of their times together.
SONG: Amazing Grace
It was hard to live in La Harpe for very long and not know Larry Boone. In the last several years you could often find him sitting in the Country Café at “his table” which was right near the cash register (giving him opportunity to visit with anyone who came in and monitor the kitchen to see if they were doing things right) or you might even find him working in the restaurant.
I knew him best from the first Country Café, Larry’s Country View, and the family weddings that I conducted. I always enjoyed visiting with Larry. In the last year I had the privilege of visiting with him when he joined us for worship on Sunday morning. He sat in the very last row of the sanctuary on the center aisle.
Larry was a people person. He wasn’t “touchy feely” but he was joyful and engaging. He loved being a dad even though he wasn’t a dad who gave out lots of hugs. His kids knew dad loved them in his own way. Larry did a lot of the family cooking and loved it. He worked hard to provide for his family and to make sure the family took a vacation every year. There were some years he finished a job that paid for the vacation on the day they were to leave on that vacation.
Larry was a unique guy. He was filled with ideas and knew how to make them work. Unfortunately, he also got discouraged easily. That may have been because he always felt he had to prove himself to be successful. As a result, he had many different jobs.
Larry loved animals and for a while even had a pet skunk (He did make sure it was “fixed” first). He loved finding deals on things and he was re-gifting things before there was a word for it. Larry “repurposed” all kinds of items. Things others threw out, Larry rescued and passed on to others. His family never knew what to expect from him at gift-giving time.
He was conscientious. Larry believed he should always look his best. He was what some have termed stubborn, bull-headed, single-minded, determined. He was persistent with his suggestions (like for Rebecca and CJ at the restaurant). If he believed he was right he would hound you until you did it his way.
Larry was always a busy guy. He made mistakes. But he did the best he could.
When Carol died, Larry was left with a giant hole inside of him. He struggled. Though he tried, he was never able to fill that empty hole. There was a measure of survivor’s guilt. Larry tried many different paths, locations and explored many different relationships. None of them could fill the emptiness inside. Ultimately he was led back to La Harpe. This was his home. This was the place he loved and where he felt he belonged.
As Larry Hobby has shared, Larry Boone understood the gospel. He knew that his only hope of life beyond the grave was in Christ. He believed Jesus died for Him. He believed in the resurrection of Jesus. He was a student of the Bible. And in the early days, I’m told, he could come across overly-aggressive in his Christian zeal. The term was “Bible-thumper”. But this aggressiveness came from his desire for others to find what he had found.
Larry knew where he was headed. As I thought about his life I turned to 2 Corinthians 4. The apostle Paul wrote these words that could have, with some modification, been written by Larry Boone
7 We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.
8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. . . we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, so I spoke.” 14 We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you.
Larry Boone had his struggles, heartaches and disappointments in life, but he kept going. He trusted God to see him through. He remained faithful because he knew God was at his side. Deep down He knew this world is not all there is.
The truth that keeps us going even when times are rough are the words: “we know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you.” This is the hope that keeps us going. This life is not all there is.
The common mindset of the world is: we live, we die, and that’s all there is. For many, life is an exercise in futility. We work hard and then we die. It’s kind of depressing.
The message of Jesus is very different. He said we were created by God purposefully and lovingly. God wants a relationship with us and has gone to great lengths to make that possible.
Jesus said to His disciples,
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. 2 There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.
Things apparently were ready for Larry last Friday and the Lord came and got Him. Now Larry will be with the Lord forever. He has been reunited with Carol and those who have gone before Him. The most significant greeting however will be the greeting from Jesus, “Welcome home my child.” It can truly be said that Larry Boone is now where he always longed to be . . . in the arms of the Savior who died in his place. He is truly home at last. He has found his place at the Savior’s side. The emptiness is filled; his purpose has been realized.
I think if I could ask Larry what he’d like me to say at his funeral he would say, “Tell them about Jesus!” He would want you to know that even though we have all missed the mark God has set for us, Jesus came to make it possible for us to be right with God. He did what we could not do for ourselves.
The Bible tells us if we put our hope and trust in Christ, we will live even though we die. But this new life is not just for the future; we will find a new quality to life right here and now. There will be a new joy, a new confidence, a new sense of belonging. But what does it mean to “trust Christ’?
- It means recognizing that we are broken people, stained by failure and rebellion against God. In other words, we have to admit that we need help. We must stop trying to prove how worthy we are and accept that fact that we have lost our way.
- Trusting Christ means embracing Jesus as our only hope and the one true Redeemer. It means recognizing that when Christ died on the cross He died for you and for me. Think of it kind of like a drowning person who grabs onto a lifeguard. The only way you will be saved is if you stop fighting and rest in His arms. To be made right with God, we must rest in the arms of Jesus.
- Trusting Christ means betting your life on Jesus. In poker, I am told, it is called going “all in”. You put all your money on that one hand of cards. Going “all in” with Jesus means we put all our hope, all our confidence and give all of our allegiance to Christ. Halfway commitments are not commitments at all. A true commitment involves allowing God’s Spirit to lead in your life. It means hearing and obeying his Word and working with the community of believers to grow and serve the King.
You begin this process by talking to God. You might say something like: “Lord, I need you. I know that I cannot save myself. I recognize that Jesus lived a perfect life and died in my place. I know He rose from the dead to make it possible for me to live, even though I die. Today, I surrender to You. I put ALL my hope in what you have done for me. I ask that you forgive my sin, and fill me with your Spirit that I may honor you for the rest of my life and throughout eternity.” Those who sincerely pray that prayer will also live even though they die and their life will take a wonderfully dramatic and different turn from this day forward.
I think Larry would say to us, “Though I am glad you are going to miss me, know this: I am more alive now, than I have ever been. Someday, I hope I get to greet you in the place that he has prepared for us.
As we reflect on these things, it would be wise to remember some of the things we learn from Larry Boone:
- A good deal of life revolves around food to one degree or another
- If you can’t see a path on which to walk . . . make your own
- Everyone benefits from a vacation
- Finding the love of your life is a blessing you should never take for granted
- Every person you meet is interesting and valuable in some way
- If life knocks you down, keep getting back up on your feet
- When you walk with Jesus, even death can’t defeat you.
We mourn today. But it is important to remember that our grief is over what WE have lost. Larry has lost nothing! He has gained everything. Tears are gone. Heartache is healed. The fog has given way to clarity. Sadness is overwhelmed by joy. Insecurity has been erased by love. And questions have been replaced with worship.
La Harpe has lost a leader. We will miss him.
Please pray with me.
Gracious Father, draw near to us. For those who do not know what it means to be forgiven and made new I ask that would use this day to awaken them through the work of your Spirit. Help us to see with the perspective of eternity and temper our sadness with a sure hope.
For this family I ask that memories of Larry would be clear and cherished. Grant them comfort. Keep them close. And lead them by your grace. We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen