Earnest “Ernie” Larrick is being remembered by Edgerton residents as a caring leader who helped pave the way for Edgerton’s future growth.
Larrick, 60, passed away unexpectedly on May 1.
He was an active member of the Edgerton community, especially in the 1980s when he spent the majority of the decade as a mayor and a city council member.
Former Councilman Jerry Owens remembers Larrick as a hardworking man who sought to balance Edgerton’s growth with its small-town charm and character.
“We made Edgerton a bedroom community that small- or big-town people would love to live in,” Owens said. “He (Larrick) was instrumental in that type of culture.”
According to city records, Larrick was first elected to the council in 1983.
As council president in 1988, he became mayor following the resignation of Mayor Bob Wise.
In 1989, Larrick decided to relinquish the mayor’s office and seek another term on the city council. He was successfully elected.
Larrick continued to serve on the council until November 1989, when a move outside of city limits prompted him to resign.
Maurice Taylor succeeded Larrick as mayor.
Taylor said Larrick was among those who worked to make Martin Creek Park a reality. Larrick, along with his wife LaVersa, even volunteered his time to help build the park’s concession stands.
According to city council minutes, Larrick pledged upon his resignation from the council to continue to “assist the city in any capacity possible concerning the completion of Martin Creek Park.”
“He was very community-oriented,” Taylor said.
Glyn Powers, former city superintendent, remembers Larrick getting citizens involved in the city’s Pride Committee, which was responsible for planting several trees.
He said he believes Larrick was also a driving force behind getting shelter houses built at the lake.
“He liked to get things done,” Powers said of Larrick.
Mike Schmidt, former mayor and councilman, agreed.
“He (Larrick) was always congenial and worked with the council,” he said. “He was a good volunteer. Anything we needed, he helped us. He was very good for the city.”
Owens added that Larrick was a “great” father and grandfather, “an upright citizen” and “a role model for any young person to look up to.”
He said Larrick was also proud of his wife LaVersa, who was also active in the community.
In addition, Larrick was an entrepreneur who owned and operated Toney’s BBQ in Gardner for several years.
“He contributed a lot to both communities (Gardner and Edgerton),” Owens said. “He had a lot of wisdom. He was a good man.”
In addition to his wife LaVersa, Larrick is survived by three children and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Funeral services will be at 11:30 a.m. on May 6 at King of Kings Lutheran Church, 306 E. Madison St., Gardner. Burial will follow at Edgerton Cemetery. Visitation will precede the service at 10 a.m. at the church.
Memorial contributions may be made to Open Arms Lutheran Child Development Center.
Community mourns death of former Mayor