Larry Gene Shields, 61, a loving and devoted husband, father and papaw, was called to his heavenly home on Dec. 10, 2007. Larry fought a long and courageous battle with diabetes and complications from the disease.
He was born on March 3, 1941, in Abilene, Texas, to the late E.V. (Buster) and Daphene Sewalt Shields. He was raised on the family farm in Brookesmith where many of his fondest memories were made. He was a standout football player for the Brookesmith Mustangs and graduated from Brookesmith High School in 1965. He was honored in 2004 as the Coming Home King for the Mustangs.
Upon graduating from high school, Larry volunteered for the U.S. Army. He was in the 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry, 4th Division. He served one year in Vietnam in combat infantry. He received an award for outstanding service against the North Vietnamese Army and The Viet Cong. He was stationed in Fort Hood after returning from this Vietnam deployment until his tour of duty was completed. He received an honorable discharge in 1968. Immediately after returning home from Vietnam, Larry was sent to help with the Martin Luther King riots in Chicago. He stood guard over Martin Luther King’s picture in front of his library. Serving his country was one of the proudest times in Larry’s life. He recently told his family that he wished he was younger and in better health so he could go and help his military brothers and sisters in Iraq.
Larry met the love of his life soon after leaving the Army. He married Pamela Laird on July 5, 1970, in Brownwood. They were blessed with three children whom he adored. He was a wonderful husband and father and was so proud of his children and their accomplishments. He was very active in their lives, coaching their soccer and little league baseball teams. His children’s friends always loved to come to his house because they thought he was so cool. He taught several of the kids how to drive and most of them how to throw a football. The neighbors often told Larry that he needed to plant more grass in his front yard to which Larry told them that he wasn’t growing grass, he was raising children instead. He often referred to their front yard as the neighborhood soccer field.
Larry worked for several companies during his life including Ross Co., JR Beadel Warehouse and Superior Cable. The last two jobs he held before his illness were very special to him. He served as foreman for the Gordon Wood Stadium and later building superintendent for Coggin Avenue Baptist Church in Brownwood. During his time working at the stadium he got a great pleasure watching the young boys playing football and then later seeing them grow into successful young men. He also was able to watch his son, Keith, play football for the Lions while he was over the stadium. One of his special memories was watching Coach Sam Harrell’s little boy, Graham, run around the field carrying a football. This year Larry got to watch Graham throw the football on TV as Graham played quarterback for the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Larry loved the Dallas Cowboys and the Red Raiders, but his heart was with the Brownwood Lions. Win or lose, no matter what, they were his team.
In January 2000, Larry received the greatest blessing. He received a new kidney from a very special man, Robert Sellars. His family was adamant that Larry get his kidney when he passed away. The kidney was a perfect match and because of this family’s gift, it allowed Larry more time to see his children get married and to be present for the birth of his granddaughter.
The time spent with his children and grandchildren was very special to him. They are his greatest legacy.
Survivors include his wife, Pam, of Brownwood, a daughter, Lori Hightower and husband Jim of Brownwood, two sons, Kolby Shields of Brownwood and Keith Shields and wife Kerri of Shallowater; three granddaughters, Kylee, Kelsee and Kynlee of Shallowater, three brothers-in-law and two sisters-in-law, Billy and Lana Laird of May, Jim and Donna Laird of Allen and Ronnie Laird of Brownwood, an aunt, Maxie Sewalt Low of Brownwood, five nephews, two nieces and numerous cousins and friends and his faithful companion Marlee.
He was preceded in death by his parents, EV and Daphene Shields; brother, Don Shields; his in-laws, Willie and Frances Laird; a niece; numerous aunts, uncles and cousins; a special caregiver Mike Allgood, and his two faithful companions, Bo and Boomer.
The family would like to give special thanks to Dr. Stephen Oines, and the staff of Heart of Texas Internal Medicine; Guardian Ambu-lance; Brownwood Fire Department; Coggin Avenue Baptist Church; Solaris Hospice; and Brownwood Regional Medical Center.
Services for Larry Gene Shields will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, 2007, at Coggin Avenue Baptist Church with burial to follow at Eastlawn Memorial Gardens. The Rev. Bill Allen, the Rev. Ricky Cavitt and the Rev. Tim Skaggs will officiate. Visitation will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13, at Davis-Morris Funeral Home. Condolences can be left for the family at www.mem.com.