OBITUARY

Larry Dean Grantham

Passed away on June 23, 2020
Play Tribute Movie

On Tuesday, June 23, 2020, Larry D. Grantham of Columbia, Missouri passed away at the age of 69. Larry was born on July 31, 1950 to Joe R. and Elizabeth (Brewer) Grantham.

Beloved son of the late Joe R. Grantham, father, and Elizabeth Katherine Grantham (Brewer), mother. Adored husband of the late Candace Sue Grantham (McChesney), and father of the late James Michael Grantham. He is survived by sister, Kathy (Grantham) Phillips, and daughter, Sarah A Grantham.

Larry graduated from the University of Missouri with an MA in 1983 under the advisement of Dr. W. Raymond Wood, who became a treasured lifelong mentor and friend. He had an extensive and prolific career as a renowned Missouri archaeologist and preservationist throughout five decades for the University of Missouri Columbia, Truman State University, Missouri State Parks, of which he was most proud, Missouri Department of Transportation, and Gauss Archaeology. He was a proud member of the Society for American Archaeology and the Missouri Archaeological Society, among other numerous professional societies. Larry enjoyed discussing and teaching archaeology to the public as well as mentoring young archaeologists. He leaves a deep and lasting impact on close friend and colleague Christopher Koenig.

Along with his passion for archeology, Larry enjoyed many adventures traveling with his daughter, dining at fine restaurants, and appreciating a good gin and tonic.

A graveside celebration of his life will be held on Friday, July 10, 2020 at 2 p.m. at Memorial Park Cemetery, 1217 Business Loop 70 W, Columbia, MO 65202. In keeping with the guideline put forth by the Boone County Heath Director, we ask anyone attending to keep social distancing (six feet apart), cough into your sleeve, and wash and sanitize your hands often. We would also strongly encourage all guests to wear a face mask.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Archeologist Conservancy at: https://www.archaeologicalconservancy.org/.

Services

10 July

Celebration of Life

2:00 pm

Memorial Park Cemetery


Columbia, Missouri

A gathering to toast will follow immediately at Shakespeare's Pizza, West.

Memories

Larry Dean Grantham

have a memory or condolence to add?

ADD A MEMORY
David Kelly

July 8, 2020

I first met Larry 30+ years ago when I started working in Missouri State Parks. He was memorable because of his “whistling why he worked” and his intense concentration while he worked at his desk sifting through bags of rock and sand from one of his many projects. Larry was also a go to person for questions on history and information on Missouri State Parks.

I really got to know Larry through our monthly State Park Poker games. I started playing in the game in 1988. It started with a group of historians and Larry was one of the founding members along with Booker Rucker and Ralph Bray. As non-historians, Paul Nelson and I were considered outsiders and after winning a little money at my first game they tried to convince me that I had to buy everyone breakfast. Paul fell for their scheme, I did not. Larry would end any game where he lost money by saying “it was much better than a cheap date”.

The games were normally played in Jefferson City where most of the guys lived. We would occasionally play at Larry’s house in Columbia but it would always end a little earlier because most players would have to drive back to Jefferson City. They were fond of saying “it gets later earlier in Columbia” Larry and I would sometime carpool since I lived out of town in Ashland. I remember fondly our times together and the variety of conversations. Larry had a broad knowledge on many topic and I would always learn something new from our talks. At our next poker game we will leave Larry’s chair empty and toast to his friendship and our memories.
David Kelly, Deputy Director


David Kelly

July 8, 2020

Memories from Larry's Missouri State Parks Family

When I think of Larry I think of his great patience sifting through all those bags of gravel and rocks looking for significant artifacts. I also think of him lightly whistling all the time.
Marion Fleischmann, Retired Reservation Administrator

At Rock Bridge Memorial State Park, Larry helped us understand how to decide if something like a glass jar was trash or an artifact! I remember that lines in the glass told how old it was.

He came out along with other staff, to look at a barn that we hoped could be saved. I learned a number of things from Larry about how barns were built such as the practice of using green oak wood during construction so the nails could be easily driven in (not the case after it hardens), but since the oak wood shrinks as it dries, people put little boards over the cracks that would form to keep out the winter wind.

Beyond the knowledge that Larry obviously had, what I admire most as I look back is his manner. While he was intelligent and confident, he was down to earth, listened well, reserved yet had a great sense of humor and in the end helped you feel good about getting bad news! He had to tell us that while our barn was wonderfully built, it really wasn’t anything special and there was absolutely no money for restoring it! But, on that day, we appreciated it and enjoyed each other’s company.
Roxie Campbell, Rock Bridge State Park


David Kelly

July 8, 2020

Memories from Larry's Missouri State Parks Family

I first met Larry in 1976 when I was at Northeast Missouri State University (Truman State) and he was at UMC. NMSU had landed a contract with the USACE for a survey of archaeological resources at the proposed Long Branch Reservoir without having a staff archaeologist. As they were going out of state with their search, I felt we needed to try to get someone who knew North Missouri archaeology. I made a quick trip to UMC to talk to Dr. Ray Wood. Ray said he had one student, Larry, who would be a good fit, but Larry had plans to soon be doing archaeology in Colorado where his close friend, Bill Butler, was.

Ray sent me to the basement of Swallow Hall where I found Larry surrounded by several trays of fire-cracked-rock. It took several hours of talking but I finally swayed him with a promise of a good salary and health care and that he could leave anytime he wanted. He was clearly a grad student living on the economic edge. He often reminded me thru the years (jokingly) that I had trapped him into staying in Missouri. From the years at Long Branch through the many years at Athens and Iliniwek and many smaller projects in between, Larry and I maintained a close friendship. I will always value our friendship, until I too, draw my last breath.
Roger Boyd, Retired Site Administrator, Battle of Athens State Historic Site

I ran into Larry at the grocery store in May; he seemed to be doing well. He said he was working at Rock Bridge on archaeological projects. For sure, he was a fixture in the Parks/Cultural Resources, along with Booker Rucker & Stan Fast. I still remember the tune he whistled continuously. He was very knowledgeable & a kind person.
Mike Currier, Retired, Natural History Program

David Kelly

July 8, 2020

Memories from Larry's Missouri State Parks Family

Jerry and I are saddened by the death of our friend Larry. We remember him fondly. Larry really loved being an archaeologist and didn't mind hot, humid weather, bugs, or snakes when he was out in the field. Fortunately, he was immune to poison ivy. He loved his family, and he liked to play Bridge. He also whistled a lot -- a tune of his own that nobody recognized. We will miss him.
Bonnie Stepenoff, co-worker and friend

Larry was a coworker of mine, and for a brief period of time he was my immediate supervisor, and much later after we both retired we became friends. We both talked about relocating and being closer to our family. We both agreed that State Park Poker Night was a social outing that we both enjoyed and often compared it to a cheap date but with a lot more fun. There was this on incident that I remember that was typical Larry. It was my first Historic Site Administration Meeting and it was Larry’s turn to give his speech. Only employees with twnty plus years were allowed to speak. Short and straight to the point, Larry took to the podium and said, “I didn’t think I would be here this long!” He then took his 20 year plaque and walked out of the limelight. Short and Sweet!
John Spencer, Retired Cultural Resource Management Program


David Kelly

July 8, 2020

Memories from Larry's Missouri State Parks Family

One of the things that always tickled me was his tossing his cigarette butts into the dig trenches, on the grounds that any archaeologist revisiting the dig would find the eternally undecomposed filters as proof it had already been explored. An acceptably amusing excuse for the intrusion. His knowledge and careful professionalism made him a first rate archeologist, one of the best I've worked with. He proved the 1877 drawing of the house, and by default the mill, was completely accurate in all details, and that, despite what the naturalists claimed, that WLW built his home on undisturbed prairie.
Ann Sligar, Retired Site Administrator, Watkins Woolen Mill State Historic Site

Although I didn’t know Larry well, I did work with him upon occasion while at State Parks. He was just a wealth of knowledge about all things Missouri. He always took the time to explain or tell a story in a way that was enlightening and understandable for lay persons like me. He always had a smile and kindness about him. And, he whistled his own tune! I loved it! He sure had an impact in archaeology in Missouri through his knowledge and professionalism and personally on the many people who had the pleasure to meet and work with him. May he rest in peace.
Jane Lale, Retired Director, Planning and Development Program


David Kelly

July 8, 2020

Memories from Larry's State Park Family

When I think of Larry I know think of his pleasant demeanor and of course like everyone else, his whistling. You never had to ask if Larry was in the office because you just had to listen. I also remember being on work trips with Larry where he would collect bags of “stuff”. When I questioned what he was collecting he said it was flint/chert flakes from the making of tools or points. To me it looked like every other piece of stone on the ground so of course I questioned the value of what he was collecting. But there was no doubt, he was confident in his in his work. Thanks Larry for making us all wiser stewards of our cultural resources.
Deb Schnack. Retired Planning and Development Director


I just remember him always whistling while working and that big grin through his mustache. One time he had a coffee can of pebbles on his desk and a pile of them he was poking thru. I asked why and he said they were from Illiniwek screenings and he didn’t want to miss anything. He invited me up to see what it was all about and I ran a screen for a day. We uncovered a bison knuckle, copper tinklers, fish bones etc. He took all the left over screenings and I always wondered how many pounds of stuff he went thru in his career. I always learned something every time I saw him and consider myself fortunate to have worked with him.
Dan Files, Retired Northern Parks District Supervisor

David Kelly

July 8, 2020

Memories from Larry's State Park Family

I first met Larry 30+ years ago when I started working in Missouri State Parks. He was memorable because of his “whistling why he worked” and his intense concentration while he worked at his desk sifting through bags of rock and sand from one of his many projects. Larry was also a go to person for questions on history and information on Missouri State Parks.

I really got to know Larry through our monthly State Park Poker games. I started playing in the game in 1988. It started with a group of historians and Larry was one of the founding members along with Booker Rucker and Ralph Bray. As non-historians, Paul Nelson and I were considered outsiders and after winning a little money at my first game they tried to convince me that I had to buy everyone breakfast. Paul fell for their scheme, I did not. Larry would end any game where he lost money by saying “it was much better than a cheap date”.

The games were normally played in Jefferson City where most of the guys lived. We would occasionally play at Larry’s house in Columbia but it would always end a little earlier because most players would have to drive back to Jefferson City. They were fond of saying “it gets later earlier in Columbia” Larry and I would sometime carpool since I lived out of town in Ashland. I remember fondly our times together and the variety of conversations. Larry had a broad knowledge on many topic and I would always learn something new from our talks. At our next poker game we will leave Larry’s chair empty and toast to his friendship and our memories.
David Kelly, Deputy Director

David Kelly

July 8, 2020

Memories from Larry's Missouri State Park Family
I will not be able to attend the service on the 10th, but can certainly affirm that Larry was a valuable state employee, with a cordial and constructive personality. He made a significant contribution to the state park mission, and will surely be missed by all who worked with him. Our thoughts and prayers are especially with his family.
John Karel, Former Director

My lasting memory of Larry, among others, was how pleased he was to get our new ground sourcing radar unit. He guarded it with his life, as it was a great research tool and time saver. He was a unique individual and totally dedicated to his profession. There were many top notch professional staff in the Division and Larry was among the best.
Doug Eiken, Former Director

I remember a trip that he, DK Hirner and I took across South Missouri doing LWCF inspections and checking some archeological sites. We started out in the far southwest corner and ended up in the boot heel. I learn a lot from Larry on that trip about archeological sites in the areas we visited.
Nonie McClammer, Retired Deputy State Park Director


Chris Koenig

July 7, 2020

I will never forget all that Larry brought to my life: laughter, generosity, kindness, informative instruction, career suggestions, and above all else, a sincere friendship. You are sorely missed and will remain close forever.

RIP Larry and cheers to what is beyond.

Chris

Rick Rahe

July 6, 2020

His friendly smile, a whistled tune, and great stories helped to make a long day in the field a little better. Working with Larry was one of the highlights of my time at MoDOT. He was willing to let a less experienced person take the lead and would provide support and guidance when asked or needed. He will be missed by all who knew him.

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY