Lawrence R. 'Larry' Keyser P.P. 81
Belvidere, IL. Larry died peacefully on February 19, 2020 with his loving wife by his side. Larry was born in Fairfield, IL on September 1, 1938 to Randall and Mary (Gabriel) Keyser. He attended Fairfield High School in Southern Illinois. Larry married his best friend and the love of his life, Jeannette (Jean) Pfauser on September 19, 1959 and celebrated his 60th wedding anniversary. He raised a son and daughter and was a father who loved to brag about their accomplishments and families.
Larry started working at a very young age to help support his two sisters and brother and moved to Chicago for a “better life”. With his beloved uncle’s help, Larry joined the Pipefitters Union Local #597 as an apprentice and worked as a foreman for many years. He was proud to be a pipefitter and worked on numerous buildings throughout the Chicagoland area, including the John Hancock Center, CNA Plaza, GD Searle Pharmaceuticals, Fermilab, Mars Candy, to name a few. Larry retired after 46 years with the union.
Besides his large family and extended group of friends, Larry had three big passions – the Masons, Shriners, and Harleys. He became a Master Mason in 1960. He strongly believed in the principles of the Masonic Lodge and lived his life in accordance with those ideals and values. Larry was elected Worshipful Master twice, first in 1966 and again in 1977. He was a member of two lodges, was actively involved in several additional lodges and was awarded honorary memberships in seven lodges in Northern Illinois. Larry mentored and raised hundreds of men in the Masons and was proud to raise his son, Bill and grandson, Henry who became the 5th generation of Keyser Mason in the state of Illinois. Larry had the opportunity to serve his brethren after their passing and performed the Masonic funeral service for countless brothers.
In 1967, Larry joined Medinah Shrine and joined the Clown Unit and became known as “Blockhead the Clown”. He put several hundred miles on his roller skates representing the shrine in parades and picnics throughout the United States. Over the years, he joined many units and shrine clubs across Northern Illinois. In 1983, he demitted from Medinah and joined Tebala. While at Tebala, he continued his active involvement and belonged to a number of clubs and was a Director for several. In 2015, Larry served as Potentate and traveled extensively.
He was recognized for his 50 year membership by the Masonic Order, Scottish Rite and the Shrine. Larry received many awards and recognition including honorary member of the Order of Demolay.
His most treasured charity was the Shriners Hospital for Children and he sponsored many children for the hospital and for many years transported children and their families to and from the hospital for medical care. Further, Larry donated blood consistently throughout the years and was frequently called on to donate for special surgeries.
Larry also greatly enjoyed riding his Harleys. His bought his first Harley-Davidson in 1974 and named it the “Pumpkin” because of its unique color. Larry and Jean put thousands of miles on that Harley for many years and across many states before giving it to their son, Bill who also rode it for thousands of miles. Over the years, Larry owned a total of six Harley-Davidson motorcycles before finally selling his last one at the ripe age of 79. They traveled on motorcycles across all 50 states, including Alaska and Hawaii, as well as toured Europe for three weeks with friends from their H.O.G. chapter. Larry and his family are avid Harley riders and have attended many H.O.G. rallies, bike shows, and events across the country, and attended the anniversary celebrations of Harley-Davidson in Milwaukee, WI. With his twin granddaughters, he enjoyed competing in the various field events at numerous H.O.G. rallies and earned many 1st and 2nd place awards and came to be known as “Grandpa and the Twins”.
With his huge group of family friends and his training as a pipefitter, Larry was known as the “go to” guy who could fix or customize anything, especially anything on a motorcycle. He would sit in the garage and contemplate the challenge and develop a game plan even after a lot of people told him “it couldn’t be done” and to just give it up. But, Larry always delivered which eventually became known as “Keyserizing”.
He was preceded in death by his parents Randall and Mary Keyser and his sister Ann Clifton. Larry is survived by his wife, Jean, son Bill (wife Lee) and daughter Brenda Keyser; sister, Diane Pritchett, and brother, Kenneth Keyser; grandchildren Jayme (& Joel) Durrwacter, Jennifer (& Brian) Hecht, Henry (& Sindy) Keyser, and Cheyenne Keyser; 3 great grandchildren; and many loving nieces, nephews, and cousins. Family was everything to Larry and he was thought of as a second dad to several of his children’s friends. He never met a stranger and could talk to anyone anywhere anytime so he collected a wide variety of friends and acquaintances throughout his life. Larry will be missed by everyone who knew him.
Visitation will be from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm and immediately followed by Masonic Services on Sunday, February 23, 2020 at Anderson-Long-Klontz Funeral Home, 6825 Weaver Road, Rockford, IL 61114. A reception to celebrate Larry’s life will be held at Tebala Shrine Center, 7910 Newburg Road, Rockford, IL 61108 from 3:00 to 5:00 pm.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial contribution to the Shriners Hospitals for Children at www.donate.lovetotherescue.org. For more information about the organization, go to www.shrinershospitalsforchildren.org.
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Shriners Hospitals for Children
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