Laurence Peter Feldman (Larry), formerly of Highland Park, IL, passed away on July 21, 2022 at the age of 90 after complications from Alzheimer’s Disease. He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Marye Feldman, his children Daniel Feldman (Jill Feldman) and Hilary Feldman (Michael Unger), and grandchildren Rachel and Collin Feldman.
Larry’s life was the embodiment of the American Dream
Born in London in 1932, Larry survived the London Blitz of WWII. Living through that horrific time, the years of war, and the aftermath, no doubt instilled in him the resourcefulness that defined his character.
On his own, and with no real financial resources, Larry left post-war England in 1948 at the age of 16 to seek out the father that had abandoned his family when Larry was three years old. He found his estranged father in California, but no material relationship formed. However, Larry remained in the US to build a life for himself.
His first job was scrubbing chili urns at the Hormel plant in Stockton, CA. From there he knocked about the country for a bit before joining the US Air Force and serving a tour in the Korean War. After his discharge, the GI Bill allowed Larry to earn his undergraduate degree from George Washington University in St Louis. His service also allowed him to obtain his US Citizenship, something he treasured for the rest of his life.
At age 24, Larry returned to England for a visit and met Marye Collins. Three weeks later, they were married, and Marye joined Larry in St. Louis soon afterward.
Larry received his PhD from the University of Minnesota and spent most of his career as a professor of marketing at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Larry and Marye raised their two children in their Highland Park home, an old Tudor built in the late 1920’s. Larry spent 47 years rebuilding that house from the inside out.
As with most things outside of his formal education, Larry taught himself the skills he needed – carpentry, plumbing, electrical, woodworking, and decorating – to work on the house. He was a capable man, who loved to learn, and believed in doing things himself whenever humanly possible. What was born of necessity, due to limited resources, remained a lifelong habit.
Although he had no formal training, he was quite musical. He taught himself to play the chromatic harmonica and enjoyed playing for the family on camping trips and, later, entertaining the neighbors at their retirement community. The list of songs he knew by heart seemed to have no end, and he frequently broke into song. In his last decade of life, Larry loved nothing more than joining his daughter Hilary at the piano for a sing-along. Even when his speech failed him, he could still sing.
Larry was playful when not working and had a quick wit. He was punny funny to the point of painful sometimes, and it was not unusual for him to laugh at his own jokes to the point of tears… which, of course, caused everyone in the room to laugh (and Marye to roll her eyes).
Whether it was camping, sailing, taking walks in the Botanic Gardens with Marye, sitting out on his deck, afternoon flights with his son, Daniel, or simply mowing the lawn, Larry was happiest in the outdoors. He loved to travel and try new things, and he enjoyed regaling his friends and family with tales from his remarkable life.
After retiring from the University, Larry continued to teach, volunteering as an ESL tutor for many years. He gave generously to causes he believed in and volunteered with his daughter’s nonprofit organization. The last trip he was ever able to take was to the University of Minnesota to set up a perpetual scholarship fund for children of immigrants.
Both of his children inherited Larry’s adventurous, entrepreneurial spirit. From him, they learned how to learn, how to be resourceful, how to persevere, and how to be of service. Larry was a real hands-on father and grandfather, and he will be dearly missed.
Per his wishes, no services or memorials are planned. If you would like to honor Larry in some way, please consider a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association or the Anti-Defamation League.
Arrangements entrusted to Chicagoland Cremation Options of Schiller Park, Illinois.