LAWRENCE ROBERT TOLLENAERE
Lawrence (Larry) Tollenaere, age 88, passed away peacefully in his home in Ashland, Oregon, on Wednesday April 20, 2011.
A native of Chicago, Illinois, Larry attended Morton High School and Iowa State University where he played football and graduated with a B.S in Industrial Engineering. Serving in the U.S. Navy during WWII in the Pacific Theater, he was a Beach Master for the invasion of Okinawa. He returned to Iowa State to teach and complete a M.S. degree in Industrial Engineering where he met his beloved wife, Mary.
In 1950 he joined American Pipe and Construction (now Ameron) in Monterey Park, California, where he spent his entire business career. Soon after arriving at Ameron he was dispatched to South America to seek and develop pan-American business opportunities. From this early venture, company projects developed in Chile and Colombia. The latter business remains a wholly-owned Ameron subsidiary with headquarters in Bogota. After serving as President and CEO beginning in 1967 and Chairman of the Board of Directors since 1989, he retired in 1993. Under his leadership, Ameron made significant contributions to the heavy construction industry, particularly in the use of large diameter concrete and steel pipe for the construction of major water transportation projects in the American West, the Middle East, and South America.
Additional academic degrees include a M.S. in Business Administration from the University of Southern California Graduate School and an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Claremont Graduate School. Active in business, cultural and civic affairs, Larry served on the board of directors of Parsons Corporation, Pacific Life Insurance Company, Newhall Land and Farming Company, Gifford-Hill-American, Inc. on the board of Avery Dennison Corporation for over 30 years. Other Board and Trusteeships include Chairing the Board of Overseers for The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens; emeritus membership on the Board of Fellows of the Claremont Graduate Center; and a past president and honorary director of The Beavers. Additionally Larry was an active member and past president of the California Club and member of the Jonathan Club, Bohemian Club and Lincoln Club.
A wine connoisseur, he was a member of both the Commanderie de Bordeaux and Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin. An avid sportsman, he enjoyed fly fishing and grouse shooting in Scotland each August. Larry was devoted to his family. One treasured memory, shared by all, is the celebration of Larry and Mary’s diamond wedding anniversary with their family in Maui. He was fond of reminding his family that “Trifles make perfection but perfection is no trifle” and reflected this thought in all he did.
Larry will be truly missed by his wife of 63 years, Mary Elizabeth (nee Hansen); five children, Elizabeth Walsh, Homer Tollenaere (Virginia), Stephanie Tollenaere Goerdt (Peter), Caswell Abrams (Matt); Mary Jennifer Damon-Tollenaere (Matt); and ten grandchildren, all of whom he loved dearly.
Services will be private in Maui, Hawaii. Donations in Larry’s memory may be made to Iowa State University Foundation, P.O. Box 2230, Ames, Iowa, 50010-2230 or to a favorite charity.
Arrangements: Litwiller-Simonsen Funeral Home, Ashland, OR. www.litwillersimonsen.com