Larry Freimark: 1957-2021

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Larry Francis Freimark passed away from a heart attack on Aug. 25, 2021, at his home in Portland, Oregon.

Larry was born in Iowa on March 16, 1957, the second child of Chester and Lois Tramner Freimark. Larry and his older sister, Theresa, were later joined by younger brother Dale.

In 1971, when Larry was 14, his father Chester died suddenly, at home, in front of the children. The experience proved very difficult for Larry, and he was sent to live with a Methodist minister on the Santee Sioux Reservation in Nebraska.

In healing from the trauma from his father’s death, Larry was drawn to the spiritual life of the Sioux, a deep connection he held for the rest of his life, finding comfort in its rituals.

Larry married and had three children, Jason, Tony and Stephanie. He moved to Phoenix and later relocated to Portland, where, now divorced, he started a business, "Them Two Guys Moving." He was one of them two guys who moved Tonya Detlefsen into her new house. Larry then moved in and never left.
In the late 90s, Larry decided to go back to school. He became a journeyman electrician and was proud to be a member of the trades.

"Larry and I decided we needed a dog," Tonya said, "so we bought a Field Spaniel puppy." The breeder lived about 30 minutes away in a beautiful house with an airstrip and a swimming pool. "One day, shortly after we got Chester — yes, he named his dog after his late father," she said, "If you want to keep the dog, I want you to show him."

"We thought, mistakenly, that it would be like showing cows in 4-H. Larry accepted the challenge and spent a lot of time in the breeder’s airplane hangar, learning how to show dogs. His first showing was at Portland’s Rose City Dog Show. I was at work, and he called me to say he was scared to death. He and Chester had won. And he had to hang around until evening to go with the other winners on ‘Animal Planet.’ When the episode showed, Larry — who thought he looked 'like a fat Don Knotts' — was relieved. Chester was the star; only Larry’s feet made the frame. Later in Redmond, Oregon, at the Field Spaniel West Coast Regionals, Chester won again, easily. The judge said it was because of Chester’s muscle tone. Larry, the breeder, and I knew why: all summer long, while we were home with our window air conditioner, Chester had been with the breeder, his 'grandmother,' swimming all day, every day in the elegant pool. It’s a dog’s life."

In 2004, when Tonya was 50, she and Larry rode the ferry to Victoria, B.C., to celebrate. Upon arrival in Canada, Larry was detained by border officials. Turned out about 30 years earlier, he was 18 and in the state of Washington visiting his cousins. They camped out near a farm and drank beer. Larry looked up from the firepit and saw that one of his cousins had wandered into the field and was riding a cow. So, they all decided to ride cows. Not enough for Larry. He decided to one-up and do it in the nude. Not surprisingly, the farmer was alerted, and he called the police. They arrived to find Larry trotting down the country road, naked on the back of a cow. The cops followed him, with lights and sirens that frightened the cow into running faster.

Larry and all the cousins were arrested and arraigned and charged with cattle rustling, but when the judge heard that Larry had been naked, he dropped the charges.

Canada never got the memo.

But someone did. When Larry was in the hospital for gall bladder issues a few years back, he figured out the place where people snuck out to smoke, only to realize after he was outside that the door had locked behind him. To get back into the hospital, he had to walk down the busy Tualatin street for about a mile, pulling an IV, and with his open-backed hospital gown revealing the usual view. When he finally reached the emergency room entrance, a hospital employee working outside glanced up, looked him over, and said, “You Larry?”

In 2016, the Detlefsen family in California needed a caretaker for Tonya’s 101-year-old mother, Maxine. Larry volunteered and moved to Ferndale.
When he first arrived, Tonya told him, “Mom will be having ladies from her church’s bible study stopping by to visit.” Larry was eager to please everyone, so he made cookies and tea every time they showed up. About the fourth time, they arrived, he realized they weren’t “ladies from Mom’s church,” they were Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Nevertheless, Larry enjoyed his time with them at tea, and with Maxine, the town, and Jim Bass's sheep (all of which he named). In 2018, Maxine died just before her 104th birthday, and Larry returned home to Portland.

Larry will be remembered for his sense of humor, for being the best storyteller ever and for his love of cooking. (His skill with curing and smoking meat so impressed Tonya’s father, Doc Detlefsen, that Doc gave Larry, and only Larry, the coveted family sausage recipe.)

Larry Freimark is survived by his partner of 26 years, Tonya Detlefsen; his children, Jason Freimark, Tony Freimark, and Stephanie Blacketter; six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren; and his good friends, Thea Coppini, Russell Yates and Donna Reed. His ashes were scattered at Trillium Lake on Mount Hood, one of his favorite places.

One of Larry’s oft-told stories was about his grandparents. One day, somewhere in Iowa, Larry’s grandfather was sitting on the porch of his farmhouse, when one of his grandchildren ran up.

“Grandpa! Grandpa! Grandma has been hit by lightning!”
Slowly, and clearly annoyed, Grandpa said, “Again?”
Yes, Larry’s grandmother was hit by lightning twice.

But we won’t be. There will always be only one Larry.

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