John Lawrence (Larry) Gorrilla died suddenly on Monday March 20, 2023, during a single person skiing accident at Winter Park Ski Resort, Winter Park, Colorado. He was 81 years old and skied since he was a little boy when he and his friends panked runs at Mt. Zion in Ironwood, Michigan just for the joy of being able to ski down. He was the first-born son of A.C. Gorrilla, M.D. and Betty Gorrilla, Ironwood, MI.
Larry graduated from St. Ambrose High School in Ironwood and the College of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN. He never considered himself an academic, instead he brought into reality the drawings he visualized and sketched "on a paper napkin.”
Larry met his wife, Colleen, during their college years and were married for 58 years. He served aboard the USS Passumpsic AO107 from 1966 to 1969 as a lieutenant in the United States Navy Reserve (USNR). Following his discharge from the Navy, the couple returned to the Midwest and Larry was hired by John A. MacLean of MacLean-Fogg Company, Mundelein, Illinois. There, he learned the art of industrial management and John’s son, Barry MacLean, entrusted him to design, build, and run a major award-winning facility in Savanna, Illinois. This first foray into construction management was just what he needed to expand his horizon into establishing his own business, Construction Consultants Ltd, which continues to exist. He never retired; he just moved his company to the Wisconsin Northwoods, where he and Colleen settled into the Gorrilla family cottage on Crab Lake and remodeled it into their year-round home.
Early on in business, Larry realized technology, like AutoCAD and the Internet, were important to keep his company competitive. His Larry’s creativity, innovation, and meticulous expectations kept the business thriving and his young employees developing their professional careers. By his side throughout all the years, Colleen worked with Larry to run the business. Keeping the company small and agile, they were able to take a visionary approach which allowed them to compete with many of the large construction companies throughout the Midwest.
For more than 10 years, Larry put his skills and efforts into the Winegar American Legion Post 480 in Presque Isle, WI. He was elected Commander of the Post then became the Financial Officer. Larry also partnered with Colleen, the Veteran’s Memorial Board, and other members of the Post and Community to raise funds and build the Wilderness Veterans Memorial Flame in Presque Isle. The Memorial honors all United States military veterans from all branches regardless of rank, from the inception of our great country to the present day. The Memorial was dedicated in 2017.
Larry always prioritized his family and spent time teaching them and helping them with building and construction projects. He was a fisherman and an avid hunter for his whole life. When the kids were young, he taught them the values of responsibility and hard work by raising sheep on Windy Hill Farm in Hartford, Wisconsin. . He loved spending time on his Kubota tractor and missed one heck of a snow-plowing season in Wisconsin this year! He loved his Model A and like-minded friends. This summer he will miss his last trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Northeastern Minnesota. He will be with us in spirit!
Thank you to the Winter Park Ski Patrol and all the medical and ski resort staff who helped Larry and his family. Thank you to Glen, Tawnya, Matt, and Father Peter. Thank you to all our family and friends for your kindness and support. Our family appreciates every one of you.
Larry is survived by his wife, Colleen, his brother, Bill Gorrilla, and his sisters Miggs Gorrilla, Susan Gorrilla Benton, and Gemma Gorrilla Lamb (Jerry Wanink); his three children: A. Christopher Gorrilla (Andrea), Elizabeth Gorrilla, and Michael Gorrilla (Allison); and his grandchildren: Cyrus, Kira, Justin, Seth, Owen, and Liam Gorrilla. Larry was preceded in death by his parents and a baby sister.
Funeral Details: April 29, 2023 @ 10:30 a.m. CST; St. Rita Catholic Church, 11568 Lake Street, Presque Isle, WI 54557. Lunch to follow at the Presque Isle Town Hall. Interment will occur at a later date at the Horihan family burial site, St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Lanesboro, Minnesota.
In lieu of gifts or flowers, please consider donating to the Wilderness Veterans Memorial Flame Foundation Endowment Fund, WVMFF, PO Box 83, Presque Isle, WI 54557.