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Larry Gates

Larry H. Gates, age 83, of Willmar, passed away peacefully on Monday evening, September 25, at Rice Therapy Suites in Willmar.

His memorial service will be 10 a.m. Tuesday, October 3, at Vinje Lutheran Church in Willmar. Interment will be at the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery near Little Falls. Visitation will be 5-7 p.m. Monday, October 2, at Peterson Brothers Funeral Home in Willmar and will continue one hour prior to the service at the church. Memorials are preferred to Vinje Lutheran Church or Rice Hospice.

Larry Howard Gates was born July 28, 1934, in Little Falls, Minnesota, to Francis and Irma (Perry) Gates. He was the oldest of six children. They were raised on Langola Holstein Farm in rural Rice, Minnesota. Larry attended District 15 country school in Benton County for eight years and graduated from Royalton High School in 1952. He was active in 4-H Club and won his first trip with a dairy calf to the State Fair in 1946, which was later cancelled due to the polio epidemic. He received his Bachelors of Arts degree in Office Management from St. Cloud State Teachers College in 1956. Needing to fulfill his military obligation, Larry served two years in the U.S. Army, including 17 months in Wurzburg, Germany. On June 17, 1961, Larry said "I do" to Roberta "Bobbi" Priest Stradtman. This union was blessed with three children: Tim, Julie and Bill.

Larry began his career working at Univac in St. Paul in the military contracts division for eleven years. Larry and Bobbi then operated Dairy Queen Stores in Willmar and Montevideo for three years. Larry then was employed at Willmar Poultry Company for 25 years, the last 11 years as the hatchery division manager.

Larry was a dedicated Willmar Noon Lions Club member for many years. His passion was bringing Willmar High School seniors to their weekly Wednesday noon meetings during the school year. He enjoyed his many years with the Lions bowling team and received the Lions Melvin Jones Award. Vinje Lutheran Church activities were also important to Larry. He served on the church council, for 6 1/2 years as the church treasurer, a greeter, and with the meal of the month activity.

Larry and Bobbi traveled to all 50 states and 38 foreign countries and enjoyed wintering in Arizona. They attended many of their children's and grandchildren's high school sports and music events. Larry also enjoyed watching many Gophers, Twins and Vikings games on TV. He was always available for party bridge or a game of cribbage.

Larry is survived by his wife of 56 years, Bobbi; son, Timothy Gates (and Janeal Burbank) of Tempe, AZ; daughter, Julie (and Paul) Nafzger and grandchildren, Brent, Elizabeth and Natalie, of Albert Lea, MN; son, William (and Marjorie) Gates and grandchildren, Katie, Alex and Parker of Glenview, IL; and extended family, Ami Nafzger, Aron Spiess and Aiden and Adaeva. Also surviving are sisters, Carol (and Steve) White of Sartell, MN, Jennith (and John) Froyd of Santa Rosa, CA, Vivian (and Greg) LaRock of Little Canada, MN, and Evalie (and Doug) Nemeth of Rice, MN; brother, Rollin (and Marilyn) Gates of St. Paul, MN; sisters-in-law, Marian Stradtman and Dorothy Stratton Marino; 14 nieces and nephews; many great-nieces and great-nephews; and other relatives and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his parents-in-law; and two brothers-in-law, James Stradtman and Peter Marino.

Cemetery Details

Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery
15550 Highway 115
Little Falls, MN, 56345



OCT 2. 05:00 PM - 07:00 PM

Peterson Brothers Funeral Home

700 Becker Avenue Southwest

Willmar, MN, US, 56201


OCT 3. 09:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Vinje Lutheran Church

1101 Willmar Avenue SW

Willmar, MN, US, 56201


Celebration of Life

OCT 3. 10:00 AM

Vinje Lutheran Church

1101 Willmar Avenue SW

Willmar, MN, US, 56201


To plant memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Larry Gates, please visit our flower store.


Julie's ECSE family purchased the Peace, Prayers, & Blessings- Lavender and White for the family of Larry Howard Gates.

Julie''s ECSE family - September 26, 2017 at 08:11 PM Nov 30 -0001 12:00 AM

Larry was the oldest of six siblings raised on a Rice, MN, dairy farm. He will be missed by his siblings, Carol, Jenny, Rollin, Vivian and Evalie.

Rollie Gates - September 27, 2017 at 12:11 PM Nov 30 -0001 12:00 AM

From sister Jenny - these words came to mind in seeking to describe my "big brother": upbeat, fun-loving, sport statistic keeper, optimistic, hardworking, loyal and loving husband and friend, family oriented, civic and church participant.

Jennith Froyd - September 27, 2017 at 03:38 PM Nov 30 -0001 12:00 AM

Words that describe my "big brother": upbeat, fun-loving, hard-working, optimistic, family oriented, loyal and loving husband, father and friend.

Jennith Froyd - September 28, 2017 at 01:05 PM Nov 30 -0001 12:00 AM

Simply Lily was purchased for the family of Larry Howard Gates.

September 28, 2017 at 06:28 PM Nov 30 -0001 12:00 AM

1 file added to the album New Album Name

Kal Perry - September 28, 2017 at 11:11 PM Nov 30 -0001 12:00 AM

Blue & White Sympathy Floor Basket was purchased for the family of Larry Howard Gates.

September 29, 2017 at 01:05 PM Nov 30 -0001 12:00 AM

I will always remember Larry's enthusiasm for everything he did, his cheerful personality, and his optimism. His courage and determination were an inspiration to us all. He was a loving and dedicated husband and father and was proud of his family! Emilie Odde

Emilie L Odde - September 29, 2017 at 11:07 PM Nov 30 -0001 12:00 AM

Florist Choice Bouquet was purchased for the family of Larry Howard Gates.

September 30, 2017 at 10:19 AM Nov 30 -0001 12:00 AM

My deepest Sympathy to the entire Gates family during this difficult time. I had hoped to be able to attend the visitation and service but unforeseen circumstances prevented me from coming. Dr. Louis Fussy-Duluth, MN.

L. Kubishak - October 02, 2017 at 03:17 PM Nov 30 -0001 12:00 AM

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