Obituary for Seawolf Larry Lee Kier, Passed 10/12/2020
(LIFE Member) DAT Seawolf Larry Lee KIER, LTJG, Dets 5 & 6, 06/30/1967 to 06/15/1968 passed away 10/12/2020.
Larry Lee Kier
1941 - 2020
Larry Lee Kier passed away on October 12, 2020 at home with his devoted wife by his side, he was 79 years old. Larry valiantly battled a 3-year fight against multiple complications related to Agent Orange from his service in Vietnam some 5 decades prior! He was born in Dayton Ohio, later moved to Ludington MI, where he played sports, a natural athlete, and played saxophone. He attended Michigan State 1964-1967 until joining the USN.
For 12 years Larry served his country in the United States Navy. He enlisted as a Naval Aviation Cadet, received flight training in Pensacola FL. After rigorous 18 month training regimen, including fixed-wing aircraft carrier qualifications. Larry received the coveted Wings of Gold of a Naval Aviator. His first duty station was Naval Air Station Lakehurst NJ assigned to Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 4 (HC-4) as a helicopter pilot.
Larry volunteered for Vietnam as part of initial cadre of a new Navy helicopter gunship outfit: Helicopter Attack Light Squadron Three (HAL-3), the only active duty Navy helicopter gunship squadron the history of Naval Aviation. During his 12-month tour of duty he flew over 400 combat missions in the Mekong Delta of South Vietnam. For his heroic actions he was awarded 25 Air Medals, a Presidential Unit Citation, the Vietnam Service Medal and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal. Larry was a member of the US Navy SeaWolves Helatktron-3, the most decorated aviation squadron in USN history and the only Navy squadron ever "organized" and "disbanded" in a foreign country 1966-1972. A PBS special documentary was made in 2018 about this elite group titled "Scramble the SeaWolves" a must see. It premiered on the USS Midway San Diego with Larry and hundreds of other SeaWolves members & families present.
After returning from Vietnam, Larry had a number of diverse flying assignments in the U.S. He was later assigned to the Mediterranean on the USS Columbus. He often flew Admiral Bulkley, the task force Commander on the Columbus including on occasion with Movie Director John Ford, friend of Bulkley, as they did "low flying missions" over the French Rivera! Larry was also involved with search and rescue of the Greek ferry, Heraklion, picking up bodies out of the water for 3-4 days. He later did search and rescue out of Lemoore NAS CA including dangerous Yosemite rescues. He was an incredibly skilled pilot. Adding to his diverse skills he played saxophone in the Navy band performing many places including Mardi Gras, New Orleans! Larry finished his naval career obtaining his BS degree in Computer Science at the elite US Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey. He served active duty until 1975 discharged at the rank of Lieutenant. Larry rarely spoke about Vietnam, he was one to look forward and not dwell on past, always encouraging his family to do the same. So admirable.
He later moved to Ukiah CA with his family and became real estate manager at Gallery of Homes later becoming Selzer Realty. He served on the Ukiah City Council '84-'87. Larry was very active in the California Association of Realtors and the local Mendocino Association of Realtors serving as President and later CAR Region IV VP. He was active in Ukiah sports both as a coach (women's softball), played men's softball, bowling and golf, loved to fish. He loved the Giants most! He was quite the all-around guy.
He continued his real estate career in Napa CA managing Crown Realty. Eventually he went back to his computer roots and studied Databaseetworking Management at UCD later working for Citigroup until retirement in 2014.
Larry is survived by his loving wife, local Napa Realtor Rose-Marie Yull, who is beyond grief for the loss of her beloved husband and soulmate. They had the best partnership, loved traveling together, going to music festivals, being with family, dressing up in silly Halloween costumes, redoing homes in Napa and simply enjoying each other's company. He is the love of her life forever. Larry is survived by his children, Chris Kier (Aiden, Jacob) of Ukiah and Jennifer Kier Walker (Zoie, Nikales) of Roseville; his step children, Christina Yull (Connor) of Sacramento and John Yull (wife Andrea, children Scarlett & Jada) of NYC; his sisters Carol Kier, husband Gary Marsden, and Virginia Bauman, mother Bonnie Sims of Michigan; half-brothers Scott Kier and wife, Diane of Ohio, and Tom Kier and wife Kelly of Michigan. He was predeceased by his father Harry Kier.
We wish to thank the many doctors who cared for Larry whose case was very complex, Drs Umutyan, Manubens, Suard, Geiss, Healy, Vickstrom, Tate, Hallabi & Southard (UCDMC), the VA and some 4 hospitals!
Larry will be remembered for his positive easy-going spirit, intelligence, kindness, devotion to his wife and unwavering hope as he navigated his illnesses. He inspired all of us.
Larry will have a Military Committal Honors service at the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery in Dixon when Covid19 restrictions allow more guests to attend, announcement to follow. To reach the family please call his wife, Rose-Marie (707) 738-1943 or write us at PO Box 3958 Napa 94558
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Published by Napa Valley Register on Nov. 1, 2020.