American Veteran 04

Lawrence Rodney DePeel

December 31, 1933 ~ January 8, 2020 (age 86)


Lawrence (Larry) Rodney DePeel passed away at his home in Blue Lake, California from heart complications on January 8, 2020 at the age of eighty-six. Larry waged a fearless battle recovering from heart surgery but has now joined his loved ones in the arms of our Lord.  Larry was born on December 31, 1933 on Santa Fe Avenue in San Jacinto, California. Through his childhood years, Larry supported his father, Lawrence Emerson DePeel, who was raising his family as a single parent. Larry helped raise his two brothers, Michael and Richard, which included all aspects of parenthood. Larry grew up fast and learned the importance of self reliance and hard work at a very young age and never lost sight of his goals.


Larry attended a youth group at the Union Church in San Jacinto where he met his wife, Joan Marie Bartlett. During this time, Larry attended San Jacinto schools through his junior year in high school until he moved to San Jose, California with his father and brothers where he graduated from James Lick High School in 1951. After high school, Larry joined the United States Air Force and served in the Korean War. Larry was stationed in the Philippines and received a purple heart during his service. Throughout his time in the Air Force, Larry continued to communicate with his youth group at the Union Church that Joan attended. When Larry returned to the United States, and with the encouragement of his brothers, Michael and Richard, Larry visited the Gilman Hot Springs in San Jacinto and asked Joan on a date. During their courtship, Larry worked for the railroad in Oceanside, California, and they were ultimately married on August 30, 1958 in San Jacinto. The newlyweds started their lives in San Jose, California while both attended San Jose State University. Subsequently, they ended up living with Larry’s father in San Bernardino, California while Joan was pregnant with their first child. During their time in San Bernardino, Larry worked different jobs for Kaiser Steel and the Mira Mar Air Force Base while working on his college degree.


Larry and Joan moved several times while Larry attended college and Joan taught second grade, ultimately purchasing their first home in San Bernardino and welcoming their first child to the world, Michael Jeffrey DePeel. Larry also received his Bachelor's degree and Teaching Credential at Los Angeles State University that year. His first teaching assignment was at Rialto City Schools, which lasted five years. During this time, Larry was blessed with two more children, Scott Walter DePeel and Julia Maree’ DePeel-Row. After some soul searching, Larry and his family decided to make the move to God’s Country, Humboldt County, California in 1966, settling in McKinleyville, where Larry worked for the Eureka City Schools. Larry’s teaching assignments were at Franklin, Grant, and Worthington schools. During this time, his family was blessed with another child, Eric Lawrence DePeel. In 1970, Larry and Joan settled in their forever home in Blue Lake, California to raise their family. They joined the St Mary’s Catholic Church and were soon involved with the Church and the associated activities. Their children attended St. Bernard’s schools during this time.


Larry retired in 1998 but his retirement only lasted a year, and after realizing he had a gift for teaching, he returned to the classroom at the Humboldt County Jail for an additional eighteen years working with inmates on obtaining their GED. In all, Larry worked in the classroom for over fifty years and was awarded Outstanding Educator for the Humboldt County Department of Education.  For those who had the pleasure of meeting Larry, his humor, compassion, and caring for all made him an outstanding instructor that students would never forget.


Larry was blessed with an extended family, which included his children Michael (and Kelli), Scott (and Valerie), Julia (and Tracey), and Eric.  Eight grandchildren, Michael, Nicole, Chelsey, Josh, Cody, Cade, Marcus, and Briana. In addition four great grandchildren (Greyson, Ryland, Sage and Rowan) with one more great grandchild on the way. Larry is proceeded in death by his father Emerson DePeel, his mother Grace DePeel, his brothers Richard DePeel and Michael DePeel, and his grandparents Zella and Leroy DePeel.


Larry was best known for his sense of humor, honesty, compassion, dance moves, and always being the life of the party. Larry loved his family and former students with his whole heart. He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, and friend. Larry spent the remainder of his life at his home in Blue Lake with his family celebrating his 63rd wedding anniversary, enjoying the holidays, and celebrating his 86th birthday on New Years Eve. You are forever in our hearts Larry.


A gathering will be held in Blue Lake, California during the first week of April. Additional information will be provided at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to your favorite charity or St Bernard’s Academy in Eureka, California.

Photo by Ave Calvar on Unsplash

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