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Lawrence George (Larry) Vihtelic

May 26, 1942 ~ December 6, 2023 (age 81) 81 Years Old
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Lawrence Vihtelic Obituary

Lawrence George Vihtelic

May 26, 1942 – December 6, 2023

Lawrence George Vihtelic passed away peacefully at home in Fennville on December 6th, 2023, after a multi-year battle with Primary Progressive Aphasia. He was 81. The eldest of nine, Larry was born on May 26th, 1942, to Lillian and Frank Vihtelic in Detroit, Michigan.

Larry spent most of his childhood in Whitehall, Michigan. A high school summer job trimming Christmas trees introduced him to this part of Michigan's lakeshore and planted the seed to raise a family there later in his life.

After high school and college at Michigan State, Larry joined the Air National Guard, where he pursued his love of flying. In 1964 Larry rode in an airplane for his very first time to Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta, Georgia to begin his USAF pilot training. For the next 22 years Larry served his country flying RF-84s, F-106s and F-4 Phantoms out of the Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Mt. Clemens, Michigan.

In 1966 Larry joined American Airlines to fly commercially as a first officer. He became a Captain and spent the next 35 years flying a variety of jetliners. Larry was based out of O'Hare the duration of his successful 35-year career and spent his last professional years at American Airlines flying the Boeing 777 to Europe & Japan.

After retirement, Larry did not hang up his wings. He built a Van's RV-7A experimental aircraft in a hangar in South Haven, Michigan (with the help of some very talented colleagues!). He enjoyed flying with friends all the way to the west coast, and tail #SV672 was a frequent sight flying low & fast along the lakeshore.

Friends and family were most important to Larry. He always looked forward to the annual Whitehall family gathering, and he loved to spend time at coffee with friends in Glenn. Larry enjoyed having beers with the guys at The What Not, spending time on the golf course, and he loved helping at his Christmas tree farm  meeting and greeting his holiday visitors. All friends were important, appreciated, and loved by Larry.

He loved idle days on the beach and swimming in the Lake, but Larry also loved putting in a hard day's work in the yard with his landscaping partner in life, Susie.

Larry was proceeded by his parents, brothers Frank, Charles & Lou, and his nephew Daniel. He is survived by his loving wife of 51 years, Susan, his son Frank and wife Colleen, and his grandson Vaughn, and his daughter Annie and her husband Craig. Additionally, Larry is survived by five siblings: John, Mary, Joseph, Martha, James.

There are no memorial services scheduled at this time. Memorial contributions can be made to the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration (




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