Larry W. Echols, surrounded by his family, passed away peacefully on May 1, 2017 at Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen, Texas at the age of 74.
He was born at that same hospital on November 1, 1942 to Clovis and Rava Nell Echols. His life was lived almost entirely in the small community of Rangerville, Texas. Upon graduation from San Benito High School in 1960, he attended Abilene Christian College where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Agronomy in 1964. While at ACU Larry met and married Wanda Wiley of Aledo, Texas.
After graduating from ACU, Larry returned to the Rio Grande Valley to begin a farming career that would span more than 53 years. From growing vegetables in the early years to cotton and grain in the latter, Larry had a true passion and love for farming that was evident to all who knew him. He especially loved being able to drive from field to field checking on his crops.
Larry (PawPaw) loved and adored his 7 grandchildren giving each one their very own special nickname. They will forever have precious memories of time spent fishing at Boca Chica, going to get breakfast tacos at Stripes, and, of course, riding around in his truck while he checked on his fields.
We were so blessed to learn many valuable lessons from him during his 74 years, among them: Keep a daily time book for future reference. Keep used envelopes for notepads. And never EVER throw away a jar. You never know when you might need one. His signature every day look was all his as well: a khaki-colored Cabela's shirt, starched jeans, and work boots. Even though he had multiple shirts (each one identical to the other), he would always joke and say “I'm wearing my favorite shirt today.”
In high school Larry was involved in FFA ultimately receiving the Lone Star Farmer Award, the Texas FFA Conservation Award, and the State Soil Water Conservation Award. He had fond memories of those years and believed strongly in the values and work ethic taught in the 4-H and FFA. Because of this, he gave sacrificially of his time for many years in support of the young people involved in these programs. He served, for 15 years, as president of the San Benito-Rangerville Beef Club. He also gave 35 years of service to the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show as chairman of the Carnival and Concessions committee with 24 of those years as a member of the Board of Directors. In 2002 he was honored as the show's Director of the Year.
He was also a lifelong member of the Rangerville Church of Christ and served that congregation faithfully as a deacon, song leader, and part-time preacher when needed.
Larry is preceded in death by his parents, Clovis and Rava Nell Echols. He is survived by his wife, Wanda, of 54 years, along with his two daughters Brenda Harris (husband Skipper, children Bradan, Skylar, Granger, Faith and Kerrigan) of College Station, Texas and Becky Neeley (husband Kevin, children Lauryn and Lacye) of Spring, Texas. He is also survived by his brother, Lyndle Echols (wife Mayela) of Chillicothe, Texas.
The family would like to thank Dr. Todd Shenkenberg as well as all the nurses and staff who cared for Larry during his 6-year long battle with Lymphoma. They are especially thankful for his caretakers Mary, Isabel, Blanca, and Gus who provided him with compassionate care and uncompromised dedication during his final months.
Buck Ashcraft Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements and will host the viewing from 12-9pm on Friday, May 5, 2017 with family present from 6-8pm. A Celebration of Life will be held at 11am on Saturday, May 6, 2017 at the 8th and Harrison Church of Christ in Harlingen, Texas. A private graveside service will take place earlier with Butch Echols, Ronnie Echols, Bradan Harris, Skylar Harris, Granger Harris, and Larry Norman serving as pallbearers.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show Academic Scholarship Fund in memory of Larry Echols. Donations can be conveniently made online by going to the “News Tab” at www.rgvls.com
or by mailing a check to Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show Academic Scholarship Fund, 1000 N. Texas Ave., Mercedes, Texas 78570.