Larry James Etheridge, 76, passed away on June 4, 2023, in Liberty, Texas, surrounded by his loved ones. He was born on May 22, 1947, in Liberty, Texas, to his parents Oris Lee Etheridge and Lucille Falk Etheridge. Larry was a cherished member of the tight-knit community of Liberty/Dayton throughout his entire life. He had a deep sense of belonging and made a lasting impact on the lives of those around him.
Early on Larry was a devoted member of the First Baptist Church of Dayton, where he found solace in his faith. He dedicated 5 years of his career to working at US Steel, demonstrating a strong work ethic and commitment to providing for his family. However, Larry's true passion lay in the realm of entertainment. For many years, he became the beloved "comedian" of the Liberty Opry, captivating audiences with his magnetic stage presence. After an illustrious 26-year tenure at the Opry, Larry retired, leaving behind a legacy of memorable performances.
In addition to his theatrical endeavors, Larry also served as an umpire for high school and junior college baseball. His fair judgment and love for the game contributed to the development of young athletes, leaving an indelible mark on the local sports community.
Larry and his beloved wife Judy, whom he shared 54 wonderful years of marriage with, earned a special place in the hearts of their community as the Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus. Their enchanting portrayal of Santa and Mrs. Claus brought joy and holiday spirit to countless individuals, especially the children of Liberty/Dayton. Their dedication to spreading happiness during the festive season touched the lives of many and created cherished memories for years to come.
During his leisure time, Larry found immense joy in woodworking, crafting beautiful creations with his skilled hands. He also indulged in occasional visits to the casino, trying his luck and savoring the excitement of the games. Additionally, Larry had an appreciation for classic Western films, finding comfort in the nostalgia they evoked.
Larry was preceded in death by his parents, Oris and Lucille Falk Etheridge. He is survived by his loving wife, Judy Etheridge, their children, Pam Bradford and husband Jerry, and Julie DeShazo and husband Marty. His grandchild, Logan McNeil, who brought him great pride and joy. Larry is also survived by his brother, Kenny Etheridge, and wife Sophie, as well as numerous nieces and nephews who held a special place in his heart.
To honor Larry's remarkable life, a celebration of his journey will be held on July 1, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. at the Hardin Baptist Church-Family Life Center in Hardin, Texas. Friends, family, and all those touched by Larry's warmth and kindness are invited to come together to pay tribute to his memory.