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After a long battle with cancer to which he gave all the strength he had, on the afternoon of Monday, February 22, 2021, Lawrence A. Kirchoff, age 73, made a perfect tackle on his journey to be with the Lord. He lived a fulfilled life mentoring, educating, and coaching generations of students and athletes for over forty years. His death leaves an immense void in so many lives.
He was born on October 6, 1947 to Arthur and Margery (Schmitz) Kirchoff.
Larry was a loving husband, father, and friend. He nurtured his three children to be models of compassion and leadership in all their endeavors. His kindness and love for family will be cherished. He was an outstanding coach and memorable teacher, both humble and intense and always a positive motivator. He brought out the best in his friends, his students, and the people he worked with.
Born on a farm with five siblings in Waterloo, Iowa, he grew up with a love for farming. As a young man, he brought the strength, endurance, and work ethic he developed on the farm to the athletic field. He played football for Dunkerton High School (1964) and Ellsworth Junior College-Iowa, (1965/66) before being recruited in 1967 by Yankton College in South Dakota where he had two successful seasons.
At Yankton College he met the love of his life, a drill team member named Joan Wilson. They met through Joan’s brother Bob (Larry’s best friend) who was the team’s place kicker. Larry’s promising football career as a defensive lineman came to a halt during the last game of his senior year due to a neck injury.
After graduating from college, Larry was drafted in 1969 and served in the United States Army (1969-1971), deployed twice to Germany. He specialized in Basic Infantry, Radio Comsec Repair, Training Clerk, Orderly Room Clerk, and Security Surety Clerk. After being discharged from the army in October, 1971, he married his love, Joan, in late December. Their strong bond and faith carried them through a wonderful forty-nine years of marriage.
Larry and Joan resided in Jericho, VT until they built their forever Northeast Kingdom home in Lyndon, VT in 1974. A jack of all trades, Larry worked at John Deere Carl’s Equipment/Amyot’s Inc. in Barton for seven years. In 1979, Jack C. King approached him with an offer to teach Lyndon Institute’s Agricultural Mechanics and Animal Husbandry programs. Several years later his programs were transformed into the Welding, Metal Fabrication, and Small Engines Repair. In addition to his work at LI, he taught technical classes for CNSU, Step up for Women, and Adult Education.
As an educator, his approach was professional but sometimes unorthodox. He had a gift for understanding what would encourage his students to make the most of their potential. Former students have told Larry and his family that he was a great influence on them and even, in some cases, helped save their life. Whether it was his teammates, colleagues, students, parents, fans, welding judges, competitors, referees, or even his farm animals, he treated everyone and everything with respect, gratitude, and integrity.
Larry was an Advisor for Future Farmers of America and VICA (Skills USA) and received the Vermont VICA Advisor of the Year, The American Welding Society Educator’s Award, Who’s Who Among American Teachers, and the Outstanding VT Teacher Award from UVM.
In addition to teaching at LI, Larry also served the school as a talented football coach (1979-2000). He started coaching Freshman, moved onto JV, and eventually transitioned into the role of Varsity Linesmen Coach. He was honored to be the offensive line coach for the 1997 Shrine Football Team, which was played at Dartmouth College. He also served as an assistant track coach and referee during his time at LI.
He was very active in the community, starting with the Lyndon Area Jaycees who helped put up Christmas trees on lighted poles in town and assisted with various other projects in Lyndonville. For thirty-seven years, Larry volunteered at the Fenton Chester Ice Arena where during the winter you would find him running the Ice Hockey Score Board. For thirty-two years he was heavily involved in the LI Alumni Chicken Barbecues. He served as President of the Lyndon Area Youth Hockey Board, Youth Football Offensive Coach, and Youth Girls’ Softball Coach.
Larry found joy in helping students and athletes reach their potential and encouraging them to have confidence in their skills. Watching his students and athletes grow up to become business owners, workers, teachers, and coaches in the community and help future generations made him both humbled and proud.
Besides his dedication to education and community, Larry found enjoyment in living and providing for his family in the countryside. He loved farm life, raising horses, pigs, rabbits, and beef cattle throughout the years. He had a special passion for hunting. Making the trip to Bob Heath’s hunting camp was a tradition he always looked forward to. All of these moments will be treasured by those who loved and spent their lives with him.
Larry is survived by his beloved wife, Joan, of Lyndon, son: Timothy L. Kirchoff and wife, Tiffany, of Lyndon, 2 daughters: Bonnie J. Kirchoff also of Lyndon, Jennifer J. Layn and husband, Joe, of Peacham, 3 brothers: James and wife, Cindy, of Evansdale, IA, Kevin and wife, Ramona, of Waterloo, IA, David Kirchoff and wife, Michelle, of Readlyn, IA, 2 sisters: Suzzanne Schaefer and husband, Pat, of Waterloo, IA, Karen Hibben and husband, Gary, of Waterloo, IA, 3 brothers-in-law: Dr. Robert Wilson and wife, Katherine, of Winchester, MA, William Wilson and wife, Barbara, of Del Ray Beach, FL, John Bateman and wife, Mary, of Frankfort, MI, 4 grandchildren: Addison and Korbin Kirchoff, True and Roarke Layn, 2 special cousins: Janice Rogers of IA, Gary Schmitz of IA and many more cousins, nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by his father: Arthur Harold Kirchoff in 2006, his mother Margery Elizabeth Schmitz Kirchoff in 1995 and a sister-in-law: Jeanne Bateman.
Larry’s family is extremely thankful for all the love, prayers, compassion, and assistance of relatives, friends, and neighbors. They would especially like to thank the Caledonian Home Health and Hospice RN’s and LNA’s and the Palliative Care Team (Dr. M. Ready and K. Lemieux, NP).
A Private Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated and attended by the immediate family at St. Elizabeth’s Church. This will be live streamed on the Guibord Funeral Home’s Facebook page just prior to 11AM Saturday, February 27, 2021. www.facebook.com/Caledonialifeservices This may also be found via the funeral home site at www.guibordfh.com through Larry’s obituary page. Please leave a note on his tribute wall, especially for those virtually attending the livestream. In addition, a committal and celebration of life will be planned for a later date when it is safe to gather.
There will be a commital service held on July 26, 2021 at 11AM at St. Elizabeth Cemetery with Fr. Hahr officiating.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks for memorial gifts to be directed to the following Lyndon Institute Programs: Welding and Future Farmers of America. The family will match up to $1,250 in gifts. Please mail gifts to: Lyndon Institute, Attn: Development Office, PO Box 127, Lyndon Ctr., VT 05850. https://www.lyndoninstitute.org/support-li/give-online
Condolences may be shared with the family at www.guibordfh.com
Lawrence Arthur Kirchoff
October 6, 1947 – February 22, 2021
US Army 1969-1971