I can hardly believe it! My dear brother Larry (Laramie as the brothers called him) went to be with the Lord on Sunday in his sleep! He fondly called me “Brainiac” and I want to honor him with this blog and tell the story of how he impacted my life.
Larry E. Wolfe came into the world on New Year’s Eve 1944. He had just turned 74 years old. He was the son of Irene & Warren Wolfe whose life together was tumultuous to say the least. As a result Larry and brother Warren (Pooch) attended thirteen different schools during their youth as the family moved from house to house just one step ahead of the bill collectors!
Incredibly, Larry still managed to receive a wonderful public school education and was mechanically brilliant! Likewise he was an amazing speller! As demonstrated one day walking home from school, as they passed a local grocer who called out to him and asked “What are you learning in school?” to which Larry replied, “Spelling!” The grocer quickly responded, “Well then, spell antidisestablishmentarianism!” To which Larry quickly responded spelling the huge word letter by letter to a “T” and the shocked grocer replied, “I think I owe you an ice cream cone!”
Larry would be forced to mature very early as our mom, a single mother surrounded by stress, would from time to time have nervous breakdowns and have to go to the hospital. So in one particular episode it was decided that our baby brother Stevie would go to live with our oldest brother Pooch and his wife Thelma, our younger brother Fred was taken in by an Aunt and Uncle, and Larry was charged with caring for “the twins” me and my brother Bruce! So he cared for his two younger twin brothers at home. From August of 1968 to the end of February 1969 he made sure Bruce and I would get up and get ready for school, give us lunch money and cooked our meals. We were seniors in High School but it was still good to have a big brother watching over us. What a brother! Though we were very glad when mom came home!
Larry married Elizabeth (Betsy) Ziegler and started their family and lived in “Ritzy Village” a small development in the mountains which had a community pool. Their house had the look of a modern log cabin with expansive windows in the living room and a stone fireplace.
We had many a family get together in his home which was the largest of the Wolfe Boys homes at the time. They would have 3 children, Wendy, Nathan & Andrea who all married giving them eight grandchildren.
Larry’s career led him into Machine Design and he had a very successful career with some of the major electronics manufacturing companies in the Harrisburg area. His talents were very obvious and he was promoted to Manufacturing Manager at his last position before the Lord called him into full-time Christian ministry. During the time preparing for ministry he continued to work part-time as a designer from home and in one of his projects designed a machine that could automatically fold a blanket!
His talent with his hands was also seen by his fascination with motor head cars, and he had many beautiful cars which he built or bought outright. In particular he loved the Ford Shelby Mustang of which he had two of them. He also loved foreign cars and had two Triumphs, a TR3 and a TR4 like the one below.
As my BIG brother, it was incredible that he would leave a young 16-year-old use his Shelby and his Triumphs to take my girl friend out on dates! Can you imagine that? What trust he had! Thankfully, I didn’t leave him down and always brought them home in once piece, though I won’t say how fast I might have driven them! But it was VERY cool as a teenager to be able to drive in such style as my friends drooled!
When I was 15 years old I joined a Rock and Roll band called “The Entertainers” as the Lead Singer and eventually Larry joined the band as our Manager and saxophone player. We played in a lot of bad places where booze and drugs were in use but Larry as the oldest member, and strict chaperone over the other 7 teenagers in the band, made sure NONE of us got into ANY trouble and I mean that seriously!
Larry lived on the “edge” as he often said! He came within an inch of his life on at least two occasions I can recall. The first was when he was driving to work in his souped up 1956 Ford Station Wagon on a three lane highway. He was in the passing lane (of course) and a driver who he was passing decided to pass and pushed Larry’s car into the oncoming lane and a PA State Dump Truck hit Larry’s car broadside driving the passenger door all the way over into the driver’s seat!
He was thrown from the vehicle onto a barbwire fence along the highway. When the police arrived they looked at him hanging there and said, “Well he’s dead” without even checking for a pulse. A womon who saw him hanging there went over to throw a blanket over the “body” and noticed he was breathing but hanging on by a thread! He recuperated with many scars but got right back to living life flat-out standing on the gas.
The second time he was headed home to their apartment on Colonial Road in Harrisburg and was driving “reasonably” but there was ice on the bridge spanning Rt. 81 and his Mint Green 1967 Shelby Mustang GT-500 skidded broadside and slid directly into a huge electric pole. The car hit the pole on the passenger side where the front fender meets the side door, tearing the front end of the car completely off the vehicle! Larry jumped out of the car through the opening where the windshield used to be and trotted home which was just a few hundred yards down the street! He escaped death with only a few scratches. The Lord had plans for his life and it wasn’t time for him to go!
Larry also had a fascination with motorcycles, the “Chopper” type. He built an amazing Harley 74 Chopper, complete with a custom green paint job and he also collected a number of other bikes including a Harley 74 with a Side Car and a Sportster.
It was at this point Larry trusted Christ as his Savior at the counter of his Country Store when he hit bottom and he remembered that his brother Pooch had told him once that whenever he hits bottom read the Gospel of John. He did and the Lord marvelously intervened in his life as he came to John 15:13 where Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” I’ll let Larry’s own words tell you about his life at this point:
My life changed drastically after The Lord saved me. Before, I was running from a violent motorcycle gang, before, my mind was consumed with evil being drenched continually with alcohol and drugs, causing me to live outside of the law, at times, running with the most raucous bunch of men. Then, I was building custom motorcycles living life on the edge. My slogan was “If you’re not living life on the edge you’re taking up too much room.” So, madness at the max ruled! But, The Lord in His great mercy wherewith He loved me, intervened, and now, all of the above are gone and my life is like the one: “Who hearkens unto Me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.” (Proverb 1:33)
Larry’s full testimony is here: http://www.btmi.org/harley.html
God would move quickly in directing him to seek training for ministry and within a year or so, with the help of his big brother Pooch, they moved all of their belongings and the whole family to Greenville SC. When he left for Bible School he had a total of four Harley Davidson motorcycles which as time went by would pay for his tuition as he sold them one by one to pay for college.
After achieving a Bachelor’s Degree in Bible at Bob Jones University he would come home and begin ministry as Pastor in a small Baptist church in Mechanicsburg. Within a couple of years he recognized his Spiritual Gifts matched him better for Evangelism than Pastoring, though it was a career with a much less than guaranteed income flow. His faith and trust in the Lord would be tested as he had to fall back on his engineering skills as a “Tentmaker” so to speak like the Apostle Paul to make a living and depend day by day on the Lord to meet he and his young families needs.
This life would take him going door to door witnessing, street preaching on Front Street in Harrisburg PA, starting a Revival ministry of holding Tent Meetings like the old-time evangelists, plus preaching in churches from time to time as the Lord would open doors. Eventually he would make the huge decision to get his CDL license and began to drive 18 wheel trucks across the USA. He would often say that the Lord used these times of extended seclusion to draw close to Him and reveal the deeper things of the Faith as he put Scripture on 3×5 index cards on his dash and memorized a huge volume of Bible verses.
In retirement he moved back to South Carolina where two of his 3 children lived with their families. That was when he began his truck stop ministry. He walked into the Pilot Travel Center on I-85 and walked up to the Manager and asked, “Do you have a Chaplain?” The Manager replied, well no we don’t to which Larry boldly said, “Do You want one?” And so started his 7 year-long fruitful ministry there.
His MO went like this. He would show up very early with his Chaplain name plate pinned onto his trademark black leather vest (which also served as his tract rack) then sit down in a booth in the McDonald’s side of the facility and place his well-worn Bible open on the table and sip a cup of coffee. The open Bible and the Chaplain label was like a magnet to spiritually needy people as they would stop by and ask a question or sit across the aisle or behind him and then meekly engage him in discussion.
Larry reached thousands of people in this manner. He tried to win the souls of many people who were “regulars” and time and time again they would stop at his booth to debate in a friendly manner or to seek God’s will on a particular issue. I remember he often told me of one Lawyer friend who was an atheist but loved to discuss topics with him, but as far as I know he never reached him for Christ.
His other ministry at the truck stop was nightly preaching at 6pm in his old Ford Econoline van in which he tore out the bench seats and added chairs for more capacity. He would drive by the line of parked 18 Wheelers who had settled in for the night with his sign boldly inviting them to come to his service. Even some local people would come regularly to be ministered to by his excellent Bible teaching and discipleship.
My big Brother Larry was more than a brother in the flesh, he was a Brother in the Lord. He was always on fire for Jesus! He was a no-nonsense Servant of the Lord. He knew more about the Bible and the Christian life than ANY one I have EVER known in my 40+ years of walking with Jesus. He encouraged me to memorize and meditate on Scripture, share my Faith with others and read through the Bible on a yearly basis.
He was an expert on the Prophecy surrounding the End Times and the Tribulation Period which you can read about on his website. He also wrote two books on the End Times, “The People of the Apocalypse” in 2007 and then “The Priesthood of the Apocalypse” in 2009, plus many other helpful pieces of literature found on his below website.
Most Christians that I know (myself included) have highs and lows in their zeal for the Lord and for sharing their faith. Larry was not perfect to be sure, but I never knew of a time where he grew lukewarm in his faith. Like in everything, he always ran FULL SPEED ahead!
Just take a look at the picture below which I took of his Study when we visited him last year. That’s his well-marked Bible on the reading stand. On the right is his microphone which he used to record his “New Song” Psalm of the Day which was a verse of the Psalms he sang to a melody he created out of his Love for the Lord. Yes, some were sung out of key and a little quirky but they were done to encourage the listener to make the Psalms a part of their daily lives. He would include his “New Song” recording in a daily devotional which he sent out 7 days a week to his Truckers and others in his family like me plus many friends. I will play and treasure those little “quirky songs” in the coming years from time to time when I long to hear his voice.
Then look to the left, those are pictures of people he prayed for on a daily basis. Also, see the big book on the left side? That’s his Bible Concordance which he used to look up different word meanings so he could understand what different words and verses meant in the Bible. The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, his son in the faith and said, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.” 2 Timothy 3:16
Studying the Word of God was his passion.
At the end of the Apostle Paul’s life he again wrote to Timothy: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:7-9
My brother Larry loved studying and preaching about the Lord’s appearing at the end of this age. Now he will have a front row Heavenly seat! Let me ask you, will you, like Larry, commit yourself to loving Jesus and serving Him by living in the Word of God, memorizing it and meditating upon it so that you too can be used for His Glory? I hope you will!
For more encouraging stories go here: New Blog Index
For a Reservation to Heaven: Guaranteed Reservation in Heaven!
Our Mom’s story which Larry wrote begins here: Movin’ On No More!