Larry Patton Death – A well-known teacher, legendary coach, and pastor in the Belleville and St. Louis area, Larry Patton passed away on Saturday, July 29. He was 83 years old at the time of his death. He was announced dead by his beloved son on Monday, July 31st, 2023, in a social media publication. “His secret was committing every day to his own and others’ spiritual growth—to become the best human being God created him to be, from repentance to faith to spiritual growth.” The post read in part.
Who was Larry Patton?
Larry Edgar Patton was born on July 2, 1940, and reared in Fairview Heights, Illinois. He attended Belleville Township High School, where he was a standout student, basketball, and baseball player, and most significantly, where he met Diane Lengfelder, the love of his life. Larry Patton graduated from there in 1958. Larry was a teammate of famed baseball coach “Itchy” Jones at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, where he majored in mathematics and played four years for the Salukis. Larry attended SIUC on a baseball scholarship.
After completing his undergraduate and graduate degrees, Larry obtained his first position as a teacher and coach at Belleville Township. Diane Lengfelder, his soul mate, and his wife, whom he married in 1961, have been together for almost 62 years and have been each other’s constant companions. Larry was the first varsity baseball coach at Belleville East when it opened its doors in 1967, and he held that position for 27 years, finishing his teaching career in 1993.
Larry led the Lancers to 544 victories during that span, multiple titles, six state playoff trips, four “final fours,” St. Louis Area Coach of the Year, and induction into the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in 1988. He was also put into the Lancers Wall of Fame in 2018.
About Larry Patton
In 1971, Larry attended the Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ annual convention in Fort Collins, Colorado, when he had a profound encounter with Jesus Christ. After that, he developed a strong commitment to his Christian faith, became a licensed lay preacher, and began sponsoring the FCA huddle at Belleville East, which became into a beloved ministry. Larry loved teaching and coaching, and he gave FCA students credit for introducing him to the Lord.
Larry continued his education at divinity school after retiring from teaching, and in 1994, he was ordained as a priest. He worked as a minister on staff at St. Matthew Church until the end of 2021, when he fully retired. Beyond that, he dutifully served until the final few weeks of his life on earth as a teacher, preacher, counselor, visitor to the sick, and presiding over services. He was a kind friend to everyone.
Larry Patton’s obituary and funeral arrangements
Visitation: Friends may visit from 4:00 to 8:00 pm Tuesday, August 1st, 2023, and from 10:00 to 11:00 am, Wednesday, August 2nd, 2023 at St. Matthew Church in Belleville, Illinois. Funeral: Funeral Services will be at 11:00 am Wednesday, August 2nd, 2023 at St. Matthew Church in Belleville, Illinois with Pastor Bob Swickard officiating. Interment will follow at Lake View Memorial Gardens, Fairview Heights, Illinois.
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