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Larry Paul Washburn

January 21, 1947 January 3, 2020
Larry Paul Washburn
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Obituary for Larry Paul Washburn

Larry Paul Washburn was born in Detroit on January 21, 1947 into a hardworking family who had recently relocated from Houghton in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. He grew up playing baseball and climbing trees with his four brothers Bill, Bob, Mike, Jon and beloved sister Peggy. On one tree climbing adventure, Larry kindly taught his younger brother Jon the way not to do it spending a summer in the hospital with a broken leg after a fall.

Larry was fascinated by the way things work and after playing baseball at Lincoln High School he was the first in his family to attend college, enrolling at Michigan Technological University to study Civil Engineering. Jon joined him at Michigan Tech and many ski adventures accompanied their studies. After graduation, Larry accepted a job a Boeing and quickly realized he wanted to spend his time in the field instead of behind a drafting table. This prompted a move back to Michigan to work with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT).

Soon after returning to Michigan, Larry was drafted into the Army and served proudly gaining more engineering experience while stationed in Washington, D.C. After his service, Larry returned to MDOT and found a lifelong family among his colleagues. Among many accomplishments including a lead role on the I-696 project, the relationships he formed at MDOT proved most significant. More than just golf buddies, Larry respected and adored his crew and annual trips to Northern Michigan and Florida solidified these bonds. After retiring from MDOT, Larry founded a successful consulting firm, Eagle Engineering, where he continued to share his expertise.

After meeting on a canoe trip, Larry married the love if his life, Irene, on November 15, 1974. They settled in Royal Oak and were bonded by their faith, sense of humor and importance of family. They soon welcomed sons Paul and Michael into the world and raised their family in a house in Troy that Larry designed and built. A proud father, Larry’s instilled in his sons that all a person has is their reputation and modeled the integrity and kindness he urged them to emulate. Larry held his sons to a high standard and took an active approach to fatherhood spending hours reading to them and staying up late figuring approaches to explain math homework that was stumping his kids. He shared his passion for golf and skiing with Paul and Michael and some of their most fond memories were on trips to Treetops and Boyne. He was the kind of father who never missed a single hockey or lacrosse games and made them breakfast every morning before driving them to school or caddying in the summers. He cherished helping his boys with projects into their adulthood and his precision engineering led to the creation of indestructible workbenches and creative solutions of all kinds to make their homes safer and more comfortable. His family expanded to include four grandchildren that were the light of his world and they love their “Papa” dearly.

Larry will be dearly missed by everyone he touched, and a Memorial Mass will be held at 10am on Tuesday, January 7 at Holy Name Catholic Church in Birmingham. Friends may visit at church beginning at 9:30am.

Memorials appreciated to the American Cancer Society in support of his wife’s brave recovery.


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