Larry Paul Thornburg, 72, of Columbia, died Sunday, September 29, 2019 at home surrounded by his family. He succumbed to complications of progressive supranuclear palsy, a rare neurological disease.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, October 5 at Missouri United Methodist Church.
Larry was born Dec. 23, 1946 in Tulsa, Okla. to Paul and Melvine Thornburg. They preceded him in death. He grew up in Texas and was recruited out of high school to play football for Texas A&M. He distinguished himself as a veterinary student with acclimations and awards and received his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 1970. He went on to the University of North Carolina, where he received his PhD in histochemistry in 1974. In Chapel Hill, he met his wife Frances and her two young daughters, Lisa and Havan. They were married, and Larry experienced the joy of a ready-made family.
Larry accepted a position as a veterinary pathologist at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine. During his time at the university, he found satisfaction and joy in the challenges and curiosities he met each day in his research and in his love of sharing his passion with every student that passed through his classroom.
Larry loved to understand and explore things--especially if there was a challenge involved. This passion fueled his entire life. Larry’s unbounded enthusiasm, energy and confidence allowed him to meet every aspect of his life fearlessly. There was no challenge too great or detail too small for Larry to tackle. He devoted himself to his family, planted and nurtured trees on his land and built his home of 35 years. Soccer became his passion when his children Kate and Benjamin were young, and he went on to coach players of all ages.
Larry leaves behind his wife Frances of 47 years; four children and their spouses: Lisa and Kevin Hennessy, Havan and Zach Rodeman, Kate and Dave Metzger and Benjamin and Tarah Thornburg. He is survived by his siblings, Janet and Keith Thornburg; and seven grandchildren: Madison Mitchell-Pearson and her husband Jonathan, Avery and Liam Mitchell, Sully and Arlo Rodeman, and Elsie and Mabel Metzger.
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