Larry Francis Pershall, 73, of Overland Park, passed away peacefully at home Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022.
Born in Winfield, Larry was adopted at birth by Ray and Amanda (Sperry) Pershall. He spent his childhood in Iola, swimming, reading comic books, participating in Boy Scouts, and playing outdoors. One of his favorite memories was going on the Boy Scout trip to Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, N.M. As a teenager, he worked for Blacktop Construction while attending Iola High School and Allen County Community College in Iola. He enjoyed many evenings going out and about with his friends cruising around in his prized 1967 Chevy Impala Super Sport.
While attending Allen County Community College, he met Sharon Shields, also a graduate of Iola High School. They were married Aug. 2, 1969.
Larry and Sharon moved to Emporia, where she was enrolled in nurses training and he took classes at Emporia State University. While there, he worked for Gibson Discount Center which transferred him to Lincoln, Neb. Jumping through many hoops to get transferred to Lincoln, Sharon joined him about a month later.
With Sharon’s schooling completed, Larry bought a percentage of the first Sonic Drive-In in Ft. Smith, Ark., where their first daughter, Tiffany, was born. In 1974, he and his father, Ray, formed Sonray, Inc. a bulk oil distribution company, and the family moved back home to Iola. As part of Sonray, Inc. they purchased a Mobile Gas Station and built another convenience store in Iola and Gas. Part of his work included driving the bulk gasoline truck delivering gas to filling stations as well as to local farmers. His father, Ray, told him if he was going to drive the gas trucks, he either needed to quit smoking or take out more life insurance. Larry also purchased grazing land outside of Carlyle, and at one time, had as many as 150 head of cattle. It was during these years in Iola that daughters Laurie and Nicoletta were born. The family particularly enjoyed summers on Lake Stockton in Missouri cruising around in Larry’s boat named “Atsamyboat.” He passionately enjoyed scuba diving. In 1986, Sonray, Inc. sold the gas stations and Larry and Sharon purchased The Greenery restaurant in Iola. Again his father, Ray, was quoted in the local newspaper saying he was happy about the purchase because “I’ve been looking for a free lunch all my life.”
Larry and Sharon were divorced in 1989. Soon after, he moved to Lawrence, and again worked construction, this time with a foundation repair company. Moving to Overland Park in 1997, he began delivering mail as a substitute for the U.S. Postal Service in Nevada, Mo. Enjoying the work as a rural postal carrier, he eventually worked full time for USPS in Nevada, driving the long commute from Overland Park daily. He retired from the USPS in June 2014. While living in Overland Park, he made many dear friends who enjoyed spending evenings and weekends at Touche’s Night Club as well as taking vacations together.
Larry is survived by his sister, Sherry Hart of Iola; daughters Tiffany Bonnewell of Topeka, Laurie (Jeremy Rothe-Kushel) Pershall, and Nicoletta (Dylan) Coursen both of Lawrence; five grandchildren, Christopher Bonnewell, Layne Bonnewell, Ray Bonnewell, William Rothe-Kushel, and Luke Coursen.
He was preceded in death by his father, Ray Pershall, mother, Amanda Pershall, and infant twin sisters, Rae Pershall and Fae Pershall.
Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at Johnson County Funeral Chapel, 11200 Metcalf Ave. in Overland Park. A small graveside service will be in El Cado Cemetery, Peru. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date at Touche’s Night Club in Overland Park.