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Larry’s Story

The Irish say: 

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal; love leaves a memory no one can steal.

Larry William Haws

Long-time resident of St. Cloud, Larry Haws, died in his home on March 27, 2012, surrounded by his loving family.  Larry is survived by his wife, Faith, and their four children (Kelly, Shannon, Colleen and Ryan).  He loved the St. Cloud community and dared to "dream the impossible dream"  -- to imagine life as it should be and not as it was.  He modeled a life of service to others, and taught his children and eight grandchildren the power of "pride, prayer and perspiration" through his coaching and teaching.

The Haws family would like to thank the St. Cloud Hospital Home Healthcare/Hospice program whose professionalism sustained us these last fifteen months, and for the community's many kindnesses shown as you walked with us, never left our side, and held us tightly in prayer during this difficult journey.

Memorials are preferred to the Central Minnesota Community Foundation for the Larry Haws Family Fund that is being established in Larry's name:


101 South - 7th Avenue

St. Cloud, MN  56301





Please visit www.larryhaws.com for photos, videos and stories narrated by Larry during this past year.



Latest Journal Update

Happy New Year -- Happy Memories. . . .

Tonight we will listen to the hauntingly nostalgic refrain of Auld Land Syne and plot our well-intentioned new course for 2015!  

Today I am immersed in memories,  and wanted to share a letter I received from an old friend of Larry's and the Haws family.  The letter was sent by Jim Pollock whose life and work,  along with his family's, were woven through our family's a long time ago when we were a bit younger. . . .

This is from Jim:

"Sorry this response is so delayed, but the loss of Larry and who he had come to be, left me at a loss for words.  For so many years Larry was a large part of my life as were you and your family.  It was, of course, impossible to separate family from Larry.  I once counted up the number of Haws' on the Park and Rec payroll and ran out of fingers and toes.  Once, when I as Rec Superintendent, agonized over the conflict of hiring my sister Sally's daughters, Larry quickly pointed out that because we came from such good family stock, nepotism was inevitable.  "Besides, he said, we also have to hire the Mayor's sons."

Which brings me to Larry's humor.  Early on in life, much before it ever dawned on me, Larry had fully discovered the need for certain people to take advantage of others.  Life, if left to run its own merits, Larry might have suggested, would not only overlook the less fortunate, but also favor those born with silver spoons in their mouths.  So Larry with great good humor took pleasure in stepping on a few of the chosen one's toes while coming to the aid of the others.  Jimmy Bittner was one example.  Jimmy didn't get much of a break at birth, but he had a big heart and so did Larry.  So for many years those of us who worked at the old Civic Center were blessed with Jimmy's delightful, innocent spirit.  Whether he rounded up all the dust balls in the corners of the gym was of little concern.  Larry set a tone in the Park and Rec Department that allowed us, not only to get our work done, but also enjoy the people we worked with.  I've never laughed so much at "damned foolishness" as I did during those years at the Civic Center.  Of course, we got plenty of help from Carol Thill.  If some of these employees, Larry would reason, had familiar last names or were ex-Cathedral or St. John's athletes, well, that shouldn't unfairly exclude them.

Larry was also remarkably creative and far-sighted when it came to how Park and Recreation best served the City.  He recognized the value of parks at a time when developers would have cut down every CO2 consuming plant in town.  He saw the need to replace shade trees during the Dutch Elm Disease epidemic with hardier stock.  He fought hard to hang onto the Forestry Division when other cities were dropping theirs.  Now, some forty years later, we see the results along our streets and boulevards.  He also recognized the need for keeping city residents active long before the trendy pilates and Jane Fonda videos came along.  Running and ski trails were developed, and, of course, Whitney Park.  When I revisit St. Cloud during the summer months, I love to run on the trail around the park watching all sizes and shapes of males and females burn calories chasing after balls.  Swimming pools and other facilities were adapted for use by the handicapped so everyone could get involved.

But there was also another side to Larry that I didn't see much of when we worked together, yet was able to see through other people.  Larry, this Park and Rec guy who could coach a squirrel out of a tree to defend a soccer goal, was also an artist.  He saw the beauty in nature and eventually expressed it with a paintbrush.  And he observed the music and poetry in life.  At my mother's funeral at St. Paul's Church, he sang in the choir.  At the Offertory, when the congregation began greeting each other, Larry came down and the two of us hugged each other.  Larry whispered in my ear, "We should have done this years ago." 

We should have.  All of us, I suspect, as we grow older end up with a number of "should haves."  Larry and I should have dropped whatever differences we had and enjoyed all the similarities, enjoyed all the things that both of us loved.  I can get some of this when I remember all the times we laughed together, and the times we also fought for the rights of the less fortunate and wrestled with the darker side of life.  I can still hug those memories."

-Jim Pollock



Lori Long
By Lori Long
This letter got me rememberin' too. Larry really got it. This thing we call life. Living life to the fullest, he seemed to always have time to pause, to smile or say hello. He enjoyed the beauty all around us in nature and in the faces of others. His Legacy is in the trees on my boulevard and Lake George down the street. But mostly, his Legacy is his family. Larry, here's to you!
Kelly Haws
I love this letter from Jim Pollock. My sister Shannon and I had so many good memories growing up with all the Park and Rec. activities. They never had to worry about no one showing up for the city events because the Haws kids would always be there. I remember the Turtle Derbies, swim meets at Municipal Pool, Day Camp at the Funny Farm, the Craft Mobile coming Pantown Park and also baton lessons and Silver Skate races. There were many summer events going on at Pantown Park. I remember the Hoola Hooping contests and Shannon and I were always the last two standing. When it got down to just the two of us left, I stopped to do other events because no matter how long I would go, Shannon could do 10 seconds longer.

Oh good memories....

I have had a wonderful 2014 and thought about my dad every day. I completed my 25th year of coaching cross country running at Cathedral this fall, but my third season without my dad as my "humble of lovable assistant". What a thrill it was to advance on as a team to one more State tournament when most people had counted the girls from Cathedral out this season. I reached into my memory bank and gave a coaching speech like my dad would have given before the race. When they announced the results of the Cathedral CC team beating their opponents by just 6 points, I could just hear my dad telling me, "When I grow up I want to be just like you."

Although I miss my dad every day, I'm trying to live life like he did. Life is a gift and we should help people along the way, every day....How lucky I have been to be able to have learned those lessons.

Happy New Year to everyone,

Kelly Haws
Mary C Opatz
By Mary C Opatz

This was timely to read as always....I just wrote a few year end checks...one to the Wobegon Trail and another to Quarry Park. Ha! Do you suppose Larry was whispering in my ear as I debated about the recipients or appropriate dollar amount??? I too see such value in maintaining our parks and recreational areas in the St. Cloud area.
Happy New Year to you and all the Haws clan. MC
Zachary Dorholt
By Zachary Dorholt
Thank you for sharing Faye!