Lawrence E. “Larry” Menke, 87, of Billings, went home to be with the Lord on Wednesday, April 23, in Billings.
Larry was born Sept. 16, 1926, on a farm near Brush, Colo., to Charles and Leona Menke. He received his early education in Brush, graduating in 1944. After graduation, Larry enlisted in the United States Army and served in Europe with the 1262nd Military Police Company and was honorably discharged as a corporal in 1946. Larry farmed for two years and then attended Adams State College in Alamosa, Colo., graduating in 1952. He went to work for Shell Oil Company shortly after graduation.
On Feb. 14, 1953, Larry married Wanda Patras in Denver, and they were blessed with three children. During his 35-year career as a supervisor in oil and gas exploration and production, Larry and his family lived in Denver; Sterling, Colo.; Casper, Wyo.; Baker; Belle Fourche, S.D.; Sheridan, Wyo.; Buffalo, Wyo.; and Glendive.
After his retirement in 1986, Larry was elected and served one term in the Montana House of Representatives, representing Dawson County. Larry and Wanda retired and moved to Billings in 1989. Wanda passed away in 1996, and Larry was remarried to Georgina Sieler in 1997.
During his life, Larry enjoyed family, travel, sports, hunting, fishing and politics. He was a voracious reader and always stayed abreast of current events. He was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather and will be sorely missed.
Larry is survived by his brother, Robert Menke of Ardmore, Okla.; his wife, Georgina Menke of Billings; daughter Rhonda Johnson of Wright, Wyo.; son Mark Menke (Deborah Parsons-Menke) of Helena; son John Menke (Melanie Dufour) of Homer, Alaska; stepdaughter Betty Koch of Billings; 14 grandchildren; 22 great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren; and many extended family and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, Charles and Leona Menke; brother Darrell Menke; and his first wife, Wanda Menke.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, April 29, at Emmanuel Baptist Church, 328 S. Shiloh Road, followed by interment at Sunset Memorial Gardens and a lunch reception at Emmanuel Baptist Church to follow the interment. Viewing will be Monday, April 28, from noon to 8 p.m. at Smith West Chapel, 304 34th St. W., in Billings.
Memorial donation in Larry’s name should be made to the Emmanuel Baptist Church or the charity of one’s choice.