Lawrence Gates

  • Born: August 9, 1925
  • Died: February 6, 2019
  • Location: Avon Lake, Ohio

Busch Funeral and Crematory Services

163 Avon Belden Road
Avon Lake, OH 44012
Tel. (440) 933-3202

Tribute & Message From The Family

Loving Husband, Father, Grandfather, Brother, Uncle, Friend

Lawrence "Larry" Walter Gates, age 93, passed peacefully away into God's hands on February, 6, 2019 after a brief illness. Larry was born into one of Avon Lake's oldest families and was proud of that legacy in Avon Lake and Avon, where his family settled after coming from Bavaria, Germany in 1832.

As a young boy and well into adulthood, he worked the Gates Family Vineyards, a commercial grape and berry producer for approximately 100 years.
Larry attended St. Mary's Elementary School in Avon, the church his family help build, where he served as an Alter Boy. After graduation from St. Mary's, he entered Avon Lake High School, serving as the Football Team Manager and graduated, Class of 1943. He also attended Ohio State University.

Upon graduation, Larry enlisted in the Army Air Corps on July 5, 1943 and was accepted into Cadet School where he graduated as a 2nd Lieutenant Bombardier Navigator on March 28, 1945; flying in the B24 Liberator. He was Honorably Discharged from the Army on April 19, 1946. He again was called to duty in the Air Force Reserve during the Korean War and was Honorably Discharged May 23, 1955.

Larry and his wife Lil had 3 daughters who became the center of their lives. Weekends were reserved for family; with trips to museums, hiking, canoeing, golf and many adventures and vacations.

Until his retirement 30 years ago, Larry enjoyed the reputation as a high quality home builder for over 40 years with an estimate that he built and remodeled approximately 1000 home in our area. He was a tough leader who taught integrity, perseverance and a disciplined work ethic. He felt honored and proud to have trained many young people who went on to be accomplished builders, business people and academics. He taught his three daughters practical skills and when they bought their own homes he made certain to work on them. Larry also taught these traits to his grandson Matt after he and Lynn relocated back to Avon Lake and was the greatest Grampa.

After retiring from the building trade, Larry went on to be a First Mate on a fishing charter boat at Drawbridge Marina in Port Clinton, Ohio, thus feeding his love of fishing. He was also an avid ice fisherman and hunter.
Also at that time, Larry began prolifically painting watercolors, primarily of coastal scenes and landscapes, until his death. His paintings grace many collections from Alaska to Africa. He was a life-long gardener, photographer, great cook and voracious reader and with his wife Lil spent their retirement years traveling both domestically and internationally.

He was a member of St. Joseph's Parish in Avon Lake, Ohio and Ushered Sunday Mass for 50 years.

The following are a few lines from writer Jack London's "Credo" that Larry lived by. "The function of a man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time". And that he did. Now he has joined his wife Lil, family and good friends by walking into theirs and God's loving arms.

He is preceded in death by his father, Gervas P. Gates and mother Mary Ann "Molly" Gates; his sister Elaine (Roland) Dietrich; His wife of 61 years Lillian "Lil" (nee Stanek) Gates and nephew David Dietrich.

Surviving are his daughters Lorene Gates-Spears (Jackson E. Spears, Jr.) of Milwaukee, WI and Avon Lake; Lynn Gates Maroon of Avon Lake; Lanette Armbruster (Robert) of Medina; and his much loved grandson Matthew L. Maroon of Malawi, Africa and Lawrence W. Kondowe of Dayton, Ohio. Larry will also be greatly missed by many loving nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, charitable contributions may be made to Determined To Develop, a 501(c)3 charitable organization his grandson Matt started and continues to run in Africa whose mission is to feed and educate orphans, both boys and girls, in Malawi, Africa. 100% of the donations reach the children. Larry had several "kids" he sponsored. Donations can be sent to Determined to Develop, 143 Woodstock Dr. Avon Lake, Ohio 44012.

Visitation will be held on Friday, March 1, 2019 from 4:00pm until 8:00pm at Busch Funeral Home, 163 Avon Belden Road, Avon Lake, Ohio 44012. A Mass will be held on Saturday, March 2, 2019, 10:00 A.M. at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 32946 Electric Blvd., Avon Lake, Ohio 44012. Larry will be buried with a Military Committal Service at the Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery, joining Lil, at a later date. 440-933-3202


Condolence & Memory Journal

I am sorry that I was unable to attend Larry's celebration of his incredible life, due to my illness. For over three decades I considered Larry to be my Father, not just Father-in-Law. I am honored to be part of the Gates family legacy. Throughout the years along with Lil, we shared many wonderful travels together and family occasions. Even at my own middle age, I learned many life skills from him, as he was a great leader and teacher. You will be sorely missed Larry, as it was and honor and privilege to call you Dad. Your service to our country will never go unnoticed, either. With much love, Jacque

Posted by Jackson Spears, Jr. - Milwaukee, WI - Family   March 14, 2019

So sorry for your loss. Your father was a wonderful, caring person. I ushered with him at St. Joe's. I had the pleasure of visiting him at his home on 83 and seeing some of his beautiful art work.
You were fortunate to have him as a father.
Judy Schmitz

Posted by Judy Schmitz - Avon Lake, OH   February 28, 2019

Please accept my sincere condolences for the loss of your loved one. May the loving God of all comfort and promised hope strengthen you during this difficult time. 1 Thessalonians 4:14 (JW)

Posted by Alex G - Cleveland, OH   February 23, 2019

Such great childhood memories. Larry and Lil were great friends of my parents and his mother babysat my brothers and I for most of my childhood. Wonderful people! Sad to hear of his passing.

Posted by Leslie Smaldone - Sylvania, OH - friend   February 20, 2019

Larry I will never forget you and the countless hours we spent together. My home is "Gates Gallery" of many paintings you gave me over the years. I will treasure them and your memory forever. The world was a much better place with you in it. I will love you till the day I die.

Posted by Joyce Boughter - Cleveland, OH - Family Friend   February 20, 2019


Lynn & Matt, my thoughts are with you.Remembering a wonderful man he was even though I knew him for a short period. wishing you comfort, thinking of you and wishing you moments of peace and comfort as you remember a Dad, and Grandpa who was so close to you.

Posted by Ponelo Kalonga - Nairobi - friend   February 20, 2019

Lorene, I'm so sad for you and your family.
Heaven is a better place because of our Dads.

Posted by Kathy Dubnicka-Schneider - Dade City, FL   February 20, 2019

I never had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Gates. As an Avon Lake ex-pat, I marvel at the amazing life he must've enjoyed. My condolences to Mr. Gate's extended family.

Posted by Phil Kempthorne - Houston, TX   February 20, 2019

Posted by Phil Kempthorne - Houston, TX   February 20, 2019

Lynn sorry for your loss.
Reading his obituary, it's sounds like he lived life his way, and to the fullest.
It also looks like he was able to pass that spirit onto Matt, which is a great gift.
May God continue to bless you and your entire family, and His spirit give you strength in your time of need.

Posted by Mark Meyer - Amherst, NY   February 20, 2019

Family Album