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Dr. Larry Harred 12/30/2020

Dr. Larry Harred 12/30/2020

Dr. Larry Harred of River Falls, Wisconsin, passed away on December 30, 2020, with his wife at his side, telling him she loved him and holding his hand.

Born in Dallas, Texas, on November 17, 1951, to B.R. and Eva (Lawrence) Harred, Larry grew up in the Pleasant Grove section of the city and graduated from W.W. Samuell High School.  He earned a Bachelor’s degree at the University of Texas, Arlington, and a Ph.D. at Purdue University.

He met the love of his life, Jane (Thielman), while at Purdue.  They were married in Lafayette, Indiana, on August 10, 1980.

As a professor in the English department at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls from 1980 to 2012, he loved introducing his students to Native American literature, detective fiction, and autobiography.  He created the campus Writing Center and acted as its director for many years.  He established the Academic Success Center, writing the initial grant that funded it and serving as its first director.  He also directed UW-RF’s pre-major program, co-directed a project to infuse literature by women of color into the curriculum, and served on the Faculty Senate.  He was honored twice with a Compass Award for his positive influence on first-year students.

He spent a year as a Fulbright scholar at the university in Alcala de Henares, Spain, helping to launch their program in North American Studies.  He and Jane enjoyed traveling throughout the country while there and were famous for fifteen minutes in the tiny town of Algodor.  They also lived for a happy four months in Dalkeith, Scotland, while participating in the university’s Wisconsin in Scotland program.

An enthusiastic traveler, a voracious reader who enjoyed his book club, an officer in the local retired educators’ organization, a music lover with tastes ranging from Beethoven to James Brown, a movie fan with an amazing memory for detail, Larry especially enjoyed gathering with Jane and their friends and was a fine cook who made a fantastic paella.  He was allergic to dogs but loved them anyway and took joy in many things, from the music and food of New Orleans to the bunnies and deer in the back yard.   Despite having pitched for America’s worst amateur softball team, he remained an ardent and knowledgeable baseball fan and Twins’ supporter.  According to a young friend, there is no excuse for the Twins not to win it all in 2021, now that Larry is calling the shots.

He was preceded in death by his father.

He leaves behind his wife, his mother, one brother and his wife, two nephews and their wives, a niece, five grandnieces, a brother-in-law and sister-in-law, and many friends who will miss him deeply.

As his brother-in-law said, the world will be a dumber place without him.

Memorials honoring him are preferred to

Department of Development

Mayo Clinic

200 First St. SW

Rochester, MN 55905

A memorial gathering will be held at a later date.


  • Faye Perkins Posted January 4, 2021 12:18 am

    So sorry to hear of Larry’s passing. I was a colleague of Larry’s at UW-River Falls and enjoyed working with him on various committees and seeing him around campus. My condolences to Jane and extended family.

  • Peg Erickson Rowland Posted January 4, 2021 11:05 am

    Larry was so dearly loved by Jane, who was my neighbor and classmate growing up. I met him only a few times, but each were memorable for his warmth, clever wit, and love for Jane. Sending comfort to Jane and both families at this most difficult time of grief.

  • Gail Enkers Posted January 4, 2021 2:47 pm

    Larry became my friend when I first met him. Him came home with Jane , before they were married ,for Christmas break. He was a dear friend for 40 years and my heart feels so sad.

    • Gail Posted January 4, 2021 4:38 pm

      Gail Enkers

  • Patricia Berg Posted January 4, 2021 3:32 pm

    Larry was our friend for many years, and we are heartbroken at his passing. We first met him and Jane at the Unitarian Society of River Falls back in the early 1990s, and I worked with both of them at UWRF for 25 years. Larry had an exceptional mind, lending his wit and extraordinary knowledge of music, literature and culture to our frequent gatherings. We miss him terribly. All our love to Jane at this difficult time.

  • Deb Johnson Posted January 4, 2021 4:14 pm

    Well done, Larry! I’m so blessed to have known you. My love to Janie. Sending a big hug!

  • Bonnie JonesWitthuhn Posted January 4, 2021 4:59 pm

    Larry shared a life well lived with Jane , family and friends, students and all the rest of us. Thanks be for his life.

  • Jane Kadlec Posted January 4, 2021 5:35 pm

    Larry was brilliant, funny and kind. It was a privilege to know you. I miss you dear friend. Sincere condolences to my lifelong friend, Jane Thielman Harred.

  • Paula Wilson Posted January 4, 2021 5:50 pm

    My life has been enriched by knowing Larry! He was my friend, office mate, trivia sharer, and political analyst, and I can remember being in Jane and Larry’s wedding as if it were just a short time ago. Tom and I are lucky that we reconnected with Larry and Jane last year, easily picking up our friendship as if 40 years had not passed. The world, Jane, and the rest of us have lost a good man. He will be greatly missed.

  • Sandy And Charlie Posted January 4, 2021 6:58 pm

    Our hearts go out to you, Jane.

  • Lisa Schwerdt Posted January 4, 2021 9:47 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss Jane. Oddly enough, I had recently been thinking about you guys after all these years. Be well

  • David Furniss Posted January 5, 2021 1:00 am

    Larry befriended me on my first day on campus, and remained a dear friend ever since. Larry befriended me on my first day at UWRF, was a constant source of support during my career, and an invaluable collaborator. One (of many) memories is a trip we took with family and colleagues to New Orleans. We were attending the Popular Culture annual conference, but mostly I remember listening to music and eating in fabulous restaurants. I miss him already. I’m so terribly sorry, Jane.

  • Patti Ross Posted January 5, 2021 1:05 am

    Oh my goodness, such sad news. I knew you both when you met. We lost touch after graduation, but I thought of you over the years. Always picturing you alive and well, reading a lot, and keeping others engaged with books and critical thinking. My condolences, Jane. Larry’s death is a great loss to us all

  • Carole Mottaz Posted January 5, 2021 2:35 am

    I still remember when you and Larry came to campus and delightful conversations Cliff and I had with both of you over the years. I’m so sorry to hear this sad news, Jane.

  • Julie Sponsler Posted January 5, 2021 4:11 pm

    First impressions of Larry as a client at Shear Perfection in 1980, kind, wise, funny, storyteller & great hair. Have had the privilege of knowing both Larry & Jane as friends & clients for several years. Appreciate the deep love they share. My heartfelt sympathy & prayers to Jane & family.

  • Kathleen Blake Yancey Posted January 5, 2021 11:04 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear about Larry’s passing: hoping his memory brings you comfort, Jane.
    kathi yancey

  • Jim and Linda Madsen Posted January 6, 2021 2:10 pm

    So sorry to hear this news. Larry and Jane introduced me to gin and tonics on an incredibly hot day at a get together at their house before the start of the fall semester many years ago. It was a revelation in refreshment although in hindsight I realize it was the company that made the experience so indelible. Linda and I have enjoyed many great meals with Jane, Larry and the rest of the Wood’s gang. We were always impressed with Larry’s recall, whether discussing books, movies, music or meals. Our hearts are heavy with his loss but our spirits are buoyed by many happy memories. Hugs to Jane and the rest of the family.

  • Tom and Bonnie Russo Posted January 6, 2021 6:59 pm

    We will miss Larry, even though we were separated by distance these past few years, we looked forward to the emails with their adventures. It was wonderful to await the annual visit from Larry and Jane, the high point of our year, especially when we could travel with them to nearby Victoria, Vancouver, and the San Juan Islands. We enjoyed the music and travel and especially the conversation. Love, and all our support to Jane

  • Jan Hillard & Joyce Malek Posted January 10, 2021 1:07 am

    We are so very saddened by Larry’s passing. In September 1980 Larry and I met by chance in front of South Hall at UW-RF. We had just been hired as faculty. I was relieved to have a new friend and confidant. Soon thereafter I met Jane and so began a 40 year friendship. Over these many years, we took trips together, commiserated on faculty life, drank good scotch and wine, and feasted on Larry’s scrumptious paella. Larry and I discovered jazz and would keep one another up to date on our favorite group, CSNY. In 2001, Larry mentioned that I should call Joyce Malek. I did and we were married in 2004. Thank you Larry, you done good. Larry freely shared his gentleness and understanding. You could count on Larry, he wouldn’t let you down. We miss him so and send our love to Jane.

  • Gail E Possley Posted January 10, 2021 2:05 am

    We are both shocked with his passing. He and his wife have been very active in the River Falls Area Retired Educator’s Association. Larry was a very nice man and always willing to volunteer wherever he was needed. He will be greatly missed.
    Gail & Tom Possley

  • Ron Plummer Posted January 11, 2021 9:10 pm

    So very sorry to hear of Larry’s passing.

  • Swede and Kathy Svoboda Posted January 12, 2021 7:09 pm

    So sorry to hear of Larry’s passing. We enjoyed knowing and conversing with Larry over the years. Jane, we are keeping you in our thoughts and prayers.

  • Terry Brown Posted February 28, 2021 1:18 pm

    Saddened to hear the news of Larry’s passing. I remember Larry welcoming me to the UWRF English department as a new colleague. I have fond memories of long talks with Larry about literature and the arts. He introduced me to jazz performers that I still listened to, like Marcus Roberts and Joshua Redmond, who we saw perform in Minneapolis. He and Jane through great parties (he made a killer artichoke dip) that filled their home with warmth and love.

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