Larry Vern Thiel

Thursday, July 30, 2020
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Larry Vern Thiel was born to Vernie and Katherine (Hill) Thiel on Feb. 17, 1940, in Sidney. He died on July 25, 2020, with his family at his side.

He is survived by his wife of 58-1/2 years, Marlene (Gehring) Thiel of Laurel; son Shawn, wife Michelle, grandsons Kyle and granddaughter Kyra, all of Billings; son Corey and wife Jena of Laurel. He was preceded in death by son Mark in 2015. Also preceding him were his parents; brothers Clyde and Jerry; and sisters Emma Kopp and Sharon Christie.

Larry graduated high school in 1959 in Sidney. While in school, he started work at Safeway Stores. He was too young to be put on the payroll, so they wrote him up as a bottle deposit and he got paid. They say where there is a will, there is a way. After graduation, he moved with his family to Billings, where he resumed working for Safeway until he got notified he was being drafted. He was not going to be a foot soldier, so he enlisted in the Navy in January 1962. He came home on leave in April and married Marlene Gehring, to whom he had been engaged for two and a half years. She was still a senior in high school at that time. After she graduated, she went to Hawaii, where Larry was stationed and spent the next two years there. He was transferred to Moffett Air Field in California and finished his service time there, being discharged in 1966.

Upon returning to Montana, he once again resumed working for Safeway. Larry and Marlene purchased a rental house in 1964 and that started a magic ball that kept rolling for many years. They went on to invest in several more properties over the years. Later, they became a partner with his brother Jerry in Magic Carpet RV Center. The partnership eventually got into more real estate investments and three motels. Larry was kept so busy that, in 1973, he retired from Safeway to be able to spend more time with his family and keep up with the business end of things. Eventually, the partnership was dissolved and Larry continued on investing in real estate, etc. He opened Scary Larry’s Pawn Shop and always told everyone it was a fun business, although at times it could be otherwise.

Larry had a stroke in 2016 that slowed him down considerably and he finally retired.

As busy as life was, he still managed to get in a lot of hunting and fishing trips and camping with his kids or any other family members who wanted to go. Ahhh, the memories of those days. Some of our best times were spent camping with our boys: first in a camper and later in a motor home.

Holidays were always a special time with all the family, usually gathering at his parents’ home. His mom was a great cook! After they passed on, the tradition carried on, though somewhat changed. Thanksgiving was usually at Larry’s, and Christmas was at Sharon and Bob’s.

Before he had his stroke, we traveled a lot, the last few years with Bob and Sharon. The four of us had some great times together and saw so much, including all 50 states.

He was the last surviving member of his family, and I like to think that the circle is no longer broken, but a full, complete circle once again.

Thank you, my love, for the 60 years that you made my life so interesting and complete. Life was never boring; didn’t have a chance to be. I will always cherish the memories we made together along life’s highway. You will be missed by me and your family forever.

Rest in peace and go with God. Give our Mark a hug from me. Love you now and forever.

If you love someone, take the time to tell them and hug them tight.

Memorial services will be at 1 p.m. Thursday, July 30, at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary, 1001 Alderson Ave.

Condolences may be made at


Upcoming Events

Thursday, August 6, 2020
First Thursday, 5 p.m., City of Laurel Council Chamber
Monday, August 10, 2020
2nd Mondays, 6:30 p.m., at Wood's Powr-Grip, 908 West Main St., use the west entrance, open to the public. 
Monday, August 10, 2020
2nd Tuesday, 6 p.m., Laurel Public Library
Monday, August 10, 2020
Mondays, 1:30 p.m., 201 1/2 E Main St.
Monday, August 10, 2020
Second & fourth Monday at 11 a.m., Big Horn Resort, 1801 Majestic Lane, 281-8455
Monday, August 10, 2020
Free, 2nd Monday, 3-5 p.m., Frontier Cancer Center, 1315 Golden Valley Cir., Billings, 800-227-2345


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