On Tuesday, October 24, 2023, Larry passed away at his home in Manning following a year-long battle with cancer at the age of 64 years, 5 months, and 15 days.
Larry Charles Blake was born on May 9, 1959, at St. Vincent Hospital in Sioux City, Iowa, to Glenn and Ruth Blake. He was the third child of six. He grew up in Sioux City and attended Crescent Park Elementary, Hoover Junior High, and graduated from West High School in 1977. While at West High, Larry was a letter winner in baseball (4x), football (3x), basketball (2x), and track and field (2x).
Before Larry’s sports adventures began, his family moved to an acreage where he spent many hours riding horses with friends. He and his horses won many ribbons and trophies. When he was 11, he discovered sports, and there was no looking back. He played little league baseball, winning the city championship with Loe’s Market when he was 12. He earned his nickname "Beef" while playing basketball in 9th grade for the Sioux City Boys Club Dodgers. They were state AAU champions and qualified for the next level in Denver. While at West High, his baseball team was the first ever team to qualify for state at the recently opened high school.
Larry's college career was, in his words, "interesting, but not recommended." He earned a full ride football scholarship to UNI coming out of high school, but transferred to Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa, after one semester in Cedar Falls. Larry started on the football team for two different years at Northwestern, 1978 and 1983. The 1978 team reached the NAIA playoffs, while the 1983 team finished the season as NAIA National Champions. This accomplishment held even more meaning because he played that season with his brothers, Dennis and ames. Following his time at NWC, Larry worked for Sioux City Juvenile Detention as a youth worker and assistant director for five years, from 1985 to 1990. Larry was able to finally earn his Bachelor’s degree from Morningside College in 1991 and complete his teaching endorsement at Briar Cliff University in 1992; he was a true Sioux City native, through and through.
Larry married Kathleen Marie Zielezinskio in October 19, 1991. It was, according to him, "the best decision he made in his life." They have four children: Kia, Cassie, Rick, and Kaylee. They made their home across Iowa, wherever their teaching took them: Sioux City, Atlantic, Altoona, and finally Manning.
He worked as a teacher aid in Sioux City before working as a full-time teacher and coach in Sioux City, Atlantic, Saydel, Manning, and eventually IKM-Manning. Larry taught mostly history and social studies classes, but did a small stint as science teacher in Atlantic. Throughout his career, he worked as an assistant and head coach across many sports, including basketball, football, baseball, and track and field. He received recognition as an IFCA Assistant Football Coach of the Year (2015) and the Western Iowa Conference Appreciation Award (2017). He had the privilege of coaching his children from elementary through high school and being part of their state appearances. Perhaps the peak of his coaching career came when he was able to coach with his son for a year at Adair-Casey/Guthrie Center.
Larry loved history, teaching, coaching, reading, traveling, and camping, and watching his grandchildren participate in all of their activities. His wife, Kathy, was his favorite travel partner, and they visited historical sites all over the US. They always made a point to plan family vacations during the summer months, and their travel throughout the years took them to the Black Hills, Yellowstone, and Glacier National Parks, Washington D.C., and other locations. After retirement, Larry and Kathy traveled the Upper Peninsula and Mackinac Island in Michigan, and the Grand Canyon and Southwest. Larry was able to take one final family trip in the summer of 2023 - with all four kids and all eight grandkids - to his favorite place, the Black Hills.
Larry was preceded in death by his parents and brothers Richard, Steven, and Dennis. He is survived by his wife of 32 years, Kathy; four children, Kia (Scott) Moran of Waukee, Iowa; Cassie Hansen (Ben Hirsch) of Sioux City, Iowa; Rick (Hailey) Blake of Casey, Iowa; and Kaylee Blake (Lindley Daubert) of Omaha, Nebraska; 8 grandchildren, Blake, Dayten, James, Jacob, Bing, Lena, Kael, and Llewellyn; a sister, Janice (Roger) Scheffer of Omaha, Nebraska; a brother, James (Jill) Blake of Sioux City, Iowa; and many nieces and nephews.
The Blakes are the parents of four children: Kia graduated from Atlantic High School in 2000 and Central College in 2004; Cassie graduated from Whiting High School in 2003, and is attending Western Iowa Tech in Sioux City; Rick will be entering the 8th grade in Manning; and Kaylee will be entering the 5th grade in Manning. Cassie is also the mother of the Blake's first grandchild, Blake Robert Hogancamp. Kia will be marrying Scott Moran on June 25, 2005.
Larry and Kathy are both teachers and coaches for Manning Community School. Prior to moving to Manning in 2002, they both taught for the Saydel School District in Des Moines. Before that Larry taught in Atlantic and Kathy at Tri-Center Schools. When they met, Kathy was teaching for the Sioux City Schools and Larry had been the Assistant Director at the Woodbury County Juvenile Detention Center in Sioux City.
Manning Jr. High Students 2007-2008
2008 Seventh Grade Social Studies
2008 girls Jr. High track
Back: Kaylee Blake, Taylor Fox, Paige Sybesma, Katherine Vogel, Rachel Nulle, Kristina Halbur
Middle: Liz Halbur, Veronica King, Sarah Schlichte, Katie Sextro, Hannah Willison, Nicole Langel, Brooke Kahl
Front: MacKenzie Cast, Brittany Page, Tobi Lewis (manager), Taylor Boyle, Michele Arkfeld
Not pictured: Coach Kathy Blake