Lawrence Philip Elwell (aka “Larry”) died in peace on the evening of February 6, 2022 at his home in rural Bosque County with multiple family members present. He was a very physically, intellectually, and socially active vibrant person until dementia progressively limited him over the last 3-4 years. He has now been delivered from the confinement and is no longer imprisoned by this disease. Funeral services will be at 11:00 A.M. Monday, February 14, 2022 at First Baptist Church, Clifton. The family will have a private burial. Visitation will be held from 3:00-5:00 P.M. Sunday, February 13, 2022 at Clifton Funeral Home.
Larry was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma on December 17, 1930 to his parents Henry Stewart Elwell and Gladys(Dimond) Elwell. His mother died of tuberculosis when Larry was 1 year old. He grew up in downtown Tulsa with his father and his older brother Ronald Stewart Elwell.
He joined the US Marine Corps infantry in 1950 and soon joined the offensive into North Korea in late 1950. His Marine Corps Battalion was surrounded by the Chinese Communist army and the North Korean forces at the Chosin Reservoir. Larry was part of some of the most lethal battles in some of the worst (and coldest) conditions in Marine Corps history. Larry survived when most of the Marines he was closely serving with did not. He was shot in a crossfire during the evacuation from Chosin.
His experiences in combat in the Korean War powerfully encouraged his commitment to patriotism, and contribution to the community and country for the rest of his life.
Larry married before going to war in Korea in 1950. His first child Carol Anne was born in the 1950s.
Larry became a dedicated Christian within the Restoration Movement/Church of Christ in the mid - 1950s. A gifted communicator, he started preaching and teaching in this movement.
After his first marriage ended, he met Nellie Capps in 1957, and decided to give up bachelor status 4 years later. Larry and Nellie were married in 1961. They were gifted with four sons Zachary in 1962, Steven in 1964, Daniel in 1968, and Lucas in 1970.
Larry continued preaching and teaching as a lay-preacher and lecturer from the 1950s on through various churches and ministries finishing with a long-term prison ministry around 2005.
Larry earned a BA, MA, and PhD in liberal arts in the late 1960s through 1971. He was a professor of communication and mass media at several universities, beginning with the University of Tulsa, ending with the University of Texas at Arlington. He was a controversial and popular teacher/professor much beloved by hundreds of university students over several decades.
Larry was always attempting to teach, influence, support and promote Christian, family values and patriotism though his daughter and sons, grandchildren, church and prison ministries, and veterans groups. He was opinionated, outspoken, energetic, controversial and completely dedicated to those around him.
Among the greatest joys to Larry were the grandchildren that his 5 children brought. He and Nellie developed rich relationships with his fifteen grandchildren.
He has also been blessed with 16 great-grandchildren who have given him wonderful times in these latest years.
He is survived by his wife of 60 years Nellie Elwell of Clifton.
Also survived by daughter Carol Anne Hagan and her husband Rich Hagan of Clifton, son Zachary Elwell of Joshua, Tx, son Steven Elwell and his wife Debbie Elwell of Clifton, son Daniel Elwell and his wife Lisa Elwell of Robstown, Tx, son Lucas Elwell and his wife Michele Elwell of Arlington, Tx, and by his 15 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren and multiple other cousins and extended family members.
Larry endured a childhood of deprivation with negligible nurturing, severe life-altering combat and injury, and multiple other life challenges without being defeated.
Springing from his faith in Christ and a belief that he could make a difference, he became a nurturing, stimulating, faithful husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, minister, counselor, professor, mentor and friend.
We have all been blessed immeasurably by God’s gift to us of Larry Elwell.