Larry Keppler, 74, died Oct. 8, 2022, in Hailey, Idaho, with his son and daughter by his side. He passed away peacefully after a courageous battle with Parkinson's Disease.
Larry was born June 3, 1948, in Newport News, Virginia, to parents Marjorie (Rowe) and Lt. Col. Charles N. Keppler. Larry's father was a fighter pilot in World War II and a U.S. Air Force career officer from 1939-61. Raised in a military family, Larry and his sisters, Lynn and Diane, moved to many countries and communities while they were growing up. They lived in London, England; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Madrid, Spain; as well as California and Massachusetts. He attended high school in Ridgewood, New Jersey, where he was a member of the wrestling team.
After graduating from high school in 1966, he attended Hastings College in Nebraska for a short time, then enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and served in Vietnam. Larry served his country proudly. He achieved the rank of sergeant and completed two combat tours in Vietnam. He was awarded a Purple Heart medal, RVN Cross of Gallantry, Presidential Unit Citation, Navy Commendation Metal with Combat V as well as various other commendations and citation awards for his service.
Upon his return from Vietnam he lived in Boston where he attended Boston University. In 1974, he married Mary Hinds at the Keppler family's summer cabin on Crescent Lake in Maine. They embarked on a road trip to the West in their white camper van, touring ski areas. They settled in the Wood River Valley in Idaho where their two children were born: son Charles in 1979 and daughter Lauren in 1983.
Larry worked for the Sun Valley Company for many years as a lift operator and on the grounds crew. He later worked for Anderson Lumber, for Louie's Restaurant as bookkeeper, and worked as an insurance agent.
He loved his time raising his children and living in the Wood River Valley. He coached his son's baseball team, skied often on Baldy and spent many happy hours with friends playing golf. He also managed and played on the Ketchum Drug Mets men's softball team for 10 years from 1976-1985. He was a member of the American Legion David Ketchum Post 115 where he served as commandant. Larry was involved in supporting the Wood River American Legion baseball team.
After his divorce, Larry moved to Indio, California, to work on a golf course and try to improve his game. He then moved to Redlands, California, and worked for the Veterans Administration hospital in Loma Linda, California, until his retirement in 2014. Larry spent many hours supporting Vietnam veterans and helping them with the struggles they faced, struggles that he understood.
When Larry developed Parkinson's Disease, due to his exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam, his son Charlie was his caregiver for several years, allowing him to live at home in Redlands. As the disease progressed, his daughter Lauren moved him back to Hailey in 2019 to live with her and her family and be his caregiver. Larry was grateful for the care and support provided by his children during the final years of his disease.
He was preceded in death by his parents and brother-in-law, James Carter. Larry is survived by his sisters, Lynn Carter of Vancouver, B.C., Canada, and Diane (Jeff) Cordes of Hailey; children, Charles (My Danh) Keppler of Westminister, California, and Lauren (Ciro De Lima) Keppler of Hailey; grandsons, Silas Lima, Matias Lima, Kaike Lima and Collin Lawrence Keppler; and many nieces and nephews.
Interment was in the Hailey Cemetery. Memories and condolences may be shared with the family on Larry's memorial webpage at www.woodriverchapel.com. Services are planned for next summer.