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Monday, February 6, 2023
Starts at 2:00pm (Eastern time)
Larry Alan French, age 78, of Dallas, Georgia and a native of Cumming, Georgia, born August 12th, 1944 in Columbus, Georgia, passed away peacefully and honorably on February 1st, 2023.
Larry is preceded in death by his father, Julius Oliver French, Sr., age 79 (8/21/1909-12/13//1988); his mother, Ruth Merle Bell-French, age 87, (11/22/1915-7/23/2003); his older brother, Julius Oliver French, Jr., age 48 (7/28/1939-7/5/1988); and his aunt, Frances Ethel Bell-Bruner, age 99 (11/21/1921-12/22/2020).
Larry graduated with honors from John Marshall Law School earning a Bachelor’s of Law. Larry had many learned lessons as a young man following his older brother’s path, however completely turned his life around, finding God, knowing Christ, and exemplifying the definition of walking in the footsteps of Christ completing Seminary School, becoming an Ordained Minister, and devoting his life to a very successful and rewarding Jail and Prison Ministry known as “Lively Hope Ministries,” providing testimony to inmates across the Southeast United States showing them the possibilities of turning their lives around by using the “R” word, which in 2nd or 3rd Larry, Chapter 4, Verse 27 clearly defined itself as establishing a relationship with Christ and giving your life according to His Divine Purpose and more vividly explained in what was later titled as his thesis for obtaining a Master’s Degree of Theology - “The Word Made Flesh”.
Larry was incredibly well known for his uncanny work ethic, humility, servant-like behavior, and his never-ending, unrequited, sacrificial love and passion for his family and legacy.
Larry’s greatest advice received by his parents when asked was, “My Daddy told me that you never know how much you miss out on in life, until you simply have the courage to ask.”
His happiest memories of his childhood when asked were, “The early childhood days with his cousins Rita and David playing Cops and Robbers, Cowboys and Indians, and baseball at Grandma’s house and her incredible biscuits she would bake for everyone,” with a close second answer of “His later teenage years living in Decatur, GA in Avondale Estates with his brother and their cousin Benny Beard and building cars and working on them-(growing up)" as he put it.
His favorite family memories were so very numerous to list, but Larry asked that I ensure these were mentioned after his passing:
#1 - The rides with the entire family across the counties during ice storms and blizzards in our 1970 International Harvester Scout with everyone all bundled up together.
#2 - Watching Carl and Jeffrey graduate Basic Training for the Marines and U.S. Army, respectively.
#3 - Watching Jennifer Graduate EMT School.
#4 - Every year taking Jeffrey and Jennifer on December 13th to pick out a Christmas tree and without fail get hot chocolate afterwards (Again…in our Scout).
#5 - Seeing the passion and drive in Carl’s eyes while racing dirt track cars in the Florida Panhandle and traveling there to watch him race as frequently as possible.
#6 - His first hug with Jeffrey after returning back from deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and with an addition - his first biological granddaughter, Ariana Skye French. He said that was potentially the most rewarding moment he ever had, knowing his son was home alive and safe, and the continuance of our bloodline and the love in Jeffrey’s eyes having his first born daughter.
#7 - Watching Carrie become everything that everybody said she would never be and have, despite the world’s discouragement, he knew she could do it, was capable, and is this very moment proving everyone wrong each and every day of her life and was very proud of the legacy she has self-built.
#8 - One of the very last things he said he was so happy and proud of, was the young man Nicholas his grandson had become, and how very smart and wise he was, after not having seen each other in many years.
#9 - How happy and successful Sarah, his 7th child (Granddaughter he and Cynthia raised themselves) had become of her own volition and against all odds to be the caliber of parent and mother to her two beautiful children, and how proud he was of her accomplishments and her love for Christ.
#10 - His overall happiest memories according to him even up to his last days were that of any one single, however brief, moment spent with his “Best Friend” Heather Grace French, his 2nd biological granddaughter and her greatest love. By his words, “My relationship with my best friend is the most special thing that God has ever given me, and Heather Grace has made the past 8 years of my life some of the very happiest, and a cornerstone to how I have been able to struggle along through LBD. I think God put her in my life so that I could make it as far as I have, and she will forever be my one and only 'Best Friend.'"
When asked what Larry’s greatest disappointment and regret in life, he quickly answered verbatim, “Not being able to see the signs himself and denial of the LBD Symptoms exhibited so long ago, and the strife, pain, and anguish inevitably shouldered by Sugar and his family. I do know one thing though, and make sure you tell them this: I am no longer confused, disoriented, or a victim of unconscious self-destruction. I am contrite for my transgressions, and have been washed clean of them in the Blood of the Lamb - playing baseball with my brother pitching and Daddy catching and David trying his best to keep up all-while Mama makes Ugly-But-Good Cake for everyone. I am laughing watching Fie, Tuffy, Archie, Sally and Izzy all pout because they can’t catch Eeyore galloping around with his extra-large beef bone and he’s pain free too, and Grandma Bell is hollering at Pawpaw to keep the biscuits warm and keep his hand out of the basket, and WHOOOOSH another fastball from Julius blows by me and I can only hear it, never see it, and Daddy chuckles saying, 'Son you’ve done well and I'm proud of the man you’ve become, but you ain’t ever gonna whoop Julius’ fastball.' And all of a sudden the most amazing and incredible thing happens, out in right field in the distance I see a strong man who you can tell carries unspoken burden and weight but valiantly and graciously, and he’s holding the hands of two beautiful girls - one carrying a rope in her hand and the other holding a basket of something, familiar but uncertain. I shade my eyes and tell Pop to hold up, then I notice what the rope is attached to and uncertainty leaves my mind and victory is sung through the heavens when I see Ariana walking with Diesel and my Best Friend holding a basket of never ending popsicles, and a tired, rugged but joyous face looks at me, and Jeffrey you say 'We made it, it was hard but we are here, now let me show you how to hit that fastball you can’t catch up to Daddy,' and you knock the first one over the fence while the dogs are running chasing you around the bases, and I'm dancing with the girls, and I say I knew you were better than I could ever be, and Aunt Ethel says I told you Sister, I told you Little Larry, he would keep his promise, because you showed him what being a promise keeper is all about, and Mama chuckles with Grandma Bell 'We are certainly-CHILDREN OF THE KING!!!!' That’s where I'm going buddy, that's what I’ll be doing - waiting for your silhouette to appear in right field, striking out over and over while Julius works over Daddy’s catching mitt. Patiently. confidently knowing, we will see each other real soon son. I love you Jeffrey Alan Frenchfry and I am so proud of you and who you have become. We beat the odds son, no matter any outcomes, we win, we win eternally.”
Larry married the love of his life, “Sugar”, Cynthia Louise French on July 30th, 1988. He took in, as his own, without hesitation or conditions, cared for, provided for, and raised his 4 step children: Candace L. Dodson, Carl R. Dodson, Crystalyn L. Dodson, and Carolynn L. Dodson. Larry loved each of them with all of his heart and soul, as he did their Mother.
Larry at the age of 45 had his first born son, Jeffrey Alan French. Larry previously had fathered no biological children, and diligence of prayer came finally to fruition. At the age of 46, he was blessed with a daughter, Jennifer Louise French, as well.
Larry lived a truly incredible life and continuously sacrificed without hesitation anything and everything needed by anyone, even complete strangers in need. He was the first one to act when adversity or tragedy showed overwhelming and tremendously poor odds. He set the standard and exceeded his very own expectations daily, leaving an incredible and eternal legacy where he will be spoken of for generations to come. Forever the words spoken in his name: Daddy or Papa or Larry or Larrr or “Best Friend” was the hardest working man, he was a believer and follower of Christ, he was the best Daddy and Papa anyone could ever dream of, he was the cornerstone to our family, he never gave up, he never faulted or wavered, he was Larry French, the Word Made Flesh.
Larry will be laid to rest at Union United Methodist Cemetery in Buena Vista, GA on February 6th, 2023 at 2 PM EST where a gathering and ceremony celebrating his life will be held and his life to be remembered. The family welcomes anyone and everyone to attend and share this experience with us of putting my precious father to rest. Thank you to everyone for the overwhelming amount of support for our family through these challenging and difficult times. Everyone’s unconditional kindness and understanding has been one of the few things holding me together through the entirety of this transition.