Larry Van Bussum, 76, a lifelong resident of Eagle River, Wis., passed away Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018, surrounded by his family.

He was born Oct. 2, 1942, the son of Lawrence “Punk” and Blanche (née LaHa) Van Bussum.

Larry graduated from Eagle River Union High School in 1961, and enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He served on the guided missile cruiser USS Canberra and was a veteran of the Vietnam War.

In June 1964, while in port one evening he met the love of his life, Virginia “Ginny” (née Burks). Not one to miss a catch, he and Ginny married Sept. 5, 1964, in Pomona, Calif.

After the Navy in 1965, Larry and Ginny moved back to Wisconsin.

Initially, he worked in Oshkosh, but an opportunity with General Telephone & Electronics (GTE) in Eagle River allowed him to return to the beautiful Northwoods where he resided for the remainder of his life. He worked at GTE for over 27 years, retiring in 1995.

In his younger years, Larry participated in the local Lions Club. As a Lions member, he worked at the World Championship Snowmobile Derby and had the pleasure of chauffeuring Ray Nitschke around the local area one year.

His true hobby and passion was hunting and fishing. He was happiest in the woods or on the lake. There was hardly a back road in either Vilas or Oneida County he hadn’t explored and furthermore, remembered every fish, deer or partridge that crossed his path.

He also had an affinity for historical markers, which provided a great excuse to veer off the beaten path to explore with family and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Sheri Peterson; stepmother, Irene McIntyre-Van Bussum; and his grandparents, Steve and Clara (née Ewald) Van Bussum.

Larry treasured his family above all else. Hunting, fishing or going on an adventure was best when it was time spent with his family.

A legendary storyteller, he also had a wonderful sense of humor.

His love for his family was unconditional and he didn’t hesitate to let us know. In separate letters to his loved ones, he said, “no man has loved his son, daughter and wife more than I.”

Larry is survived by his wife of 54 years, Ginny; daughter, Valarie (Phil) Wielhouwer of Eagle River; and son, Larry Jr. (Monica) of Boise, Idaho.

Larry was a beloved Papa to six adored grandchildren, Jacob, Brett, Madison and Ryan Wielhouwer, and Shiloh and Darcy Van Bussum.

A celebration of life will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019, at Gaffney-Busha Funeral Home. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service.

Memorials can be made to the Eagle River Recreation Association, the Gary Sinise Foundation (, the Arbor Day Foundation ( or a charity of your choice in his name.

Condolences may be expressed at

“Dad, your guiding hand on my shoulder will remain with us forever.”