Larry Kent Kilmer, passed away at the age of 67, at his home in the mountains of Colorado. Born in Winfield on Jan. 26, 1949, he was the second son of Kent Robson and Zoreda Mae Kilmer.
He was raised in the small town Claflin, coming from a lineage of farmers, educators and soldiers. Despite the devastating loss of his father to a brain tumor in 1963, he continued to excel in school academically and athletically. He was a star athlete throughout his high school years. By his senior year, he was quarterback of the varsity football team, valued guard of the basketball team, and recognized in pole vaulting in track and field.
After graduating Claflin High School in 1967, he attended Kansas State University before enrolling in Pittsburgh State College, earning a Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics in 1971. He was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha.
A Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, he served during the Vietnam War and was awarded The Joint Service Accommodation Medal. He served his nation with fortitude, honor and a great sense of duty. While stationed in Washington, D.C., he met his former wife, friend and mother to his two boys, Kathleen (Wilkins) Gabel.
His Naval career took him across the country to California, later returning to the East Coast upon his Honorable Discharge in 1978. He accepted a position with Harris Corp. in 1979, relocating to Palm Bay, Florida. He left the company to join a group of colleagues forming Computer Science Innovations (CSI) also based in Palm Bay, where he worked as Senior Software Engineer for over 15 years and formed many treasured friendships.
He was driven to succeed, possessing a strong work ethic and an astonishingly brilliant mind. His work continued after leaving CSI as an independent contractor prior to his retirement in 2010. After retiring, he began to express his creative side learning to cook. He enjoyed the intricacy and experimentation of the culinary arts.
Larry was a kind man, carrying with him the small town mentality of Claflin everywhere he went. Despite his dizzying intellect, he was a simple man who never wanted for much except to do all in his ability, to care for those he loved. As a young man he enjoyed countless hours riding dirt bikes around the once empty hills surrounding the D.C. area, was an avid jogger and even learned to scuba dive. He remained very physically active throughout his life and often joked he had probably broken every bone in his body.
He had a generous heart and kind disposition. As a father to two boys, he could be found hollering down the chimney as Santa Claus to them on Christmas Eve. He spent two summers designing and building lavish forts for his boys, with his former father-in-law and good friend, Don Wilkins. He had an intriguing ability to use his intelligent creativity and jovial nature to bring smiles. He even brought smiles to the four-legged members of the family, graciously sharing his lap with canine family members while watching Star Trek. He was an extraordinarily gifted engineer with a progressive way of thinking. The thought process and mental challenges required for constant innovation often stretched beyond his work as a professional, spilling over into his personal time. He found immense enjoyment working with electronics, especially robotics and could spend hours calculating how to make something work or discovering how it already did.
He was the type of man, who despite his personal struggles, could always be counted on to act with compassion, without having to be asked. He always felt a great need to protect those he loved, especially the women in his life and abhorred violence of any kind. His smile and laugh were infectious, his love was genuine. He will be forever remembered for his intelligence, sense of humor, strong moral fiber, steadfast nature and the love he gave so freely to the people in his life.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Kent and Zoreda Kilmer; stepfather Edward Schultz; and cherished aunt, Margaret Kilmer; and deeply admired friends, Donald and Sellena Wilkins. Larry is survived by his beloved sons, Lance Kent (Pauline) Kilmer of Athens, Ga.; Kyle Eugene Kilmer of Center, N.D.; long time and very dearest friend, Gail LaPinsky of Melbourne, Fla., and daughter Erin (Michael) Pearce of Orlando, Fla.; brother Carl James (Sharon) Kilmer of Halifax, Nova Scotia; step-brother Gwen (Leanna) Schultz of Selden, KS; nieces, Yanna (Russ) Conway of Halifax, NS, Darby (Paul) Kilmer-Rudolph of Winnipeg, Canada , Melanie (CDR Carl) Schultz Ruoff of Gales Ferry, Conn., Theresa (Carl) Morris of Miami, Fla., Tracy (Brad) Meyer of Cypress, Texas; nephew Eric (Pam) Schultz of Eudora; ex-wife and friend, Kathleen (James) Gabel of Apache Junction, Ariz.; former brothers-in-law Gary (Pamela) Wilkins of New Smyrna, Fla., Larry (Linda) Wilkins of Winchester, Va.; and several great-nieces, great-nephews, cousins, and many wonderful friends across the country.
Larry will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery. Funeral arrangements will be announced at a later date, entrusted to Harwood Cremation and Funeral Services. Memorial donations may be made to Vietnam Veterans of America or Disabled American Veterans. Online condolences at harwoodfunerals.com.
Great Bend (Kan.) Tribune, May 29, 2016