As he put it, Larry escaped the pre-dawn to midnight grind of the dairy farm to attend Southwestern Oklahoma State University. There he completed the pre-med requirements in only three years and was selected to start medical school at the University of Oklahoma a year early. He commented that the pace and workload were easier than working on the farm.
Following his graduation from medical school in 1963, Larry was a general practitioner covering an immense area in northwest Oklahoma and southwest Kansas for nine years. He relished the fact that he had delivered most of the small children one might encounter running around in his area and he cared for them and their families with empathy and diligence as though they were family.
Ever the curious scientist and student, Larry returned to the Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City where he completed a residency in Ophthalmology, thereafter opening a private practice in Edmond, Oklahoma where he became Chief of Staff of the local hospital. Due to his interests in the advancements in eye care and surgery, Larry volunteered to serve as part of a team of American surgeons who traveled to and trained in Russia in a time when relations between the two countries were not particularly friendly. Thereafter, Larry helped to develop and bring to the US the initial surgical procedure for improving sight in nearsighted people. He loved to hear his patients say “Wow Doc, I can see!” Larry was also an assistant professor of Ophthalmology at the Dean McGee Eye Institute, a fellow of the American College of Surgeon, a member of many state and national medical societies and had been awarded the commission of Kentucky Colonel by the Governor of Kentucky.
Having enjoyed his medical practice to the fullest, Larry retired in 1998 at which point Sue informed him that they were relocating to Beaufort to be closer to their grandchildren. Larry quickly ensconced himself into the Beaufort community where he sang in the choir at Sea Island Presbyterian Church and enjoyed “friendly golf competitions” with his newfound friends. Larry and Sue used Beaufort as a launching point for many a worldwide adventure.
Larry had a lifelong passion for flying. He instilled and encouraged that love of flying in Sue and his boys, all of whom he supported in obtaining their pilot’s licenses. He said he loved the look of wonder on his young sons’ faces whenever he took them flying. Over the years he flew and owned a number of different types of airplanes and his pride and joy was his Beechcraft Bonanza which enabled him and Sue to escape skyward whenever the whim for flight and adventure overcame them. Ceiling and visibility unlimited Dad, you are cleared for takeoff. Have a good flight.
Larry is survived by his loving wife of 53 years, Sue (Chaney) Weidner; their sons and daughters-in-law Larry and Pam of Bluffton, South Carolina and Bryan and Tiffiny of Pensacola, Florida; their grandchildren, Katie, currently a student at the University of South Carolina, Beaufort; Jake, currently a student at Dartmouth College; Repp and Lula Sue, currently students at Episcopal Day School; a Brother Loren and his wife Diane of Schertz, Texas and his nephew, Lance of Los Angeles, California as well a plethora of family, friends, colleagues, patients, golfers and pilots who already miss his company.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Friends of Caroline Hospice at 1000 Ribaut Road, Beaufort, SC 29902 or Sea Island Presbyterian Church Choir at 81 Lady’s Island, Drive, Beaufort, SC 29907.
A celebration of Larry’s life will be held at Sea Island Presbyterian Church at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 2, 2016.