June 25, 1941 – September 14, 2020
Laurence “Larry” Goodger, loving husband, father, father-in-law, brother, grampy/poppa and great-grandfather entered into rest September 14th at the age of 79.
Larry was born in Tonbridge, Kent, United Kingdom. He attended school in Tonbridge through 8th grade and later completed vocational training in auto mechanics. After a few years working odd jobs Larry was drawn to service for Queen and country. Accordingly, he entered the British Army, where he proudly served in the 14th Field Regiment of the Royal Artillery, including deployment to Yemen as an artillery scout.
Following his military service, Larry spent time traversing London’s daunting streets as a double decker bus driver. However, seeking greater adventure, Larry followed a friend’s suggestion and became a contracted worker for Save the Children Fund, a British relief organization. Larry’s first assignment took him to Nigeria, then mired in civil war. His work as mechanic, driver and logistics manager often involved traveling through war-torn areas to deliver food and medical supplies to remote villagers, many of whom were children.
While in Nigeria Larry met the love of his life, a beautiful, tall American Red Cross nurse, named Dorlie. Romance quickly led to their marriage. On December 20th, 2019, they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.
They moved to the United States in 1971, initially residing in Oakland, California, before making Los Banos, California their permanent home. Larry began work as a mechanic at Bressler’s Auto and later served as manager at Cleo Rhyne’s Shell. Through a combination of hard work and the generosity of family friends, Larry achieved his dream of business ownership and in 1977 became a Shell dealer at 849 W. Pacheco Blvd in Los Banos,a business still operated by the Goodger family today. Larry Loved all his employees and the customers alike.
Along with the challenges of running a business and providing for his family, Larry became a very active participant in Church and civic life in Los Banos. Many are the organizations that thrived with both his participation and leadership.
With his wife, Dorlie, Larry cherished membership at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, where he held the position of congregational President until his passing. Everyone knew when he was present on Sunday, if not from a greeting at the front door, then surely from his confident, booming singing voice.
Volunteerism was a word which had few boundaries for Larry. Indeed, he was only saddened when he was NOT asked to do something. For decades he served as a volunteer fireman with the LBFD, including time on the BBQ crew, where he got to also start fires. Another cherished duty at LBFD, and around the community, had to do with a red suit towards the end of December…, shhh.
Additionally, Larry was involved with Kiwanis, Chamber of Commerce and Merced County Grand Jury. He also served as a Los Banos Planning Commisioner.
While Larry valued his British heritage, he was also a patriotic naturalized U.S. citizen.
Larry was gifted with athleticism. As a young man in England he played professional soccer. Across the pond here he learned the game of golf and played avidly with many golf buddies. He also enjoyed coaching and served as soccer coach for Los Banos High School many years.
Notwithstanding his many involvements, family was his greatest joy. Larry always looked forward to sit-down dinners with as many family members as possible around the table, and family vacations could never start soon enough.
Larry is survived by his wife, Dorlie, sister Shirley Wolfe-Holdsworth (Graham), sons Tim(Kristi) and Mark(Jill) and grandchildren Kelsey Goodger-Howard(Brice), Paige, Karson, Kali, Jack, and Great-grandchildren Sebastian, Ezio.