Larry Diffley, age 74, of Bemidji, and President of Bemidji Aviation, died doing what he loved, flying an airplane, December 4, 2012 near Joliet, IL.
Funeral Services will be 11:00 am Monday, December 10, 2012 at the Evangelical Covenant Church in Bemidji. Visitation will be from 5-7 pm, Sunday, December 9, 2012 at the Cease Family Funeral Home of Bemidji and one hour prior to the service at the church. Interment will be at the Becida Cemetery with military honors by the VFW Post #1260 of Bemidji.
Larry was born in Bemidji and raised on a small farm with six siblings in Becida. He graduated Bemidji H.S., attended Bemidji State College and worked on the family farm. He later joined the Natl Guard and continued his service after moving to Los Angeles. While living in LA, he married Mimi Stevens of Edina. In LA, Larry was a UPS driver, earned his pilots license and met future business partner, Mark Shough. Larry and Mark purchased Bemidji Aviation in 1970. The company grew from 2 employees and 3 airplanes, to over 50 employees and 37 airplanes offering a multitude of flying services. They also created and operated Bemidji Airlines, with service throughout MN between 1981 and 1991. Larry truly loved his work. That passion, combined with his exceptional skills as a pilot, fervor for negotiation, dedication to employees and limitless energy helped ensure the company's success. Larry cherished his tight-knit family, enjoyed spending time at the farm and land he grew up on, large family gatherings, visits to Arizona, reading to his grandchildren and spoiling them with bags of cotton candy, and boat rides to the Dairy Queen. He will be remembered as a man with unmatched work ethic and drive, who was a proud and loving husband, dad, grandpa, brother and loyal friend.
Larry is survived and deeply loved by children, Tony (Amy) Diffley, Jennifer (John) Benjamin and Carrie (Tim) Lundgren; grandkids, Allison, Elizabeth, Lily, Anne, Samantha, Jack and Ivy; siblings Ila Olson, Nina Anderson, Terry Diffley and Patty Kluzak. He was preceded in death by wife, Mimi; infant son, Steven; parents Jack and Marian; brothers Mike and Hank.
Memorials suggested to Larry Diffley Memorial Fund, which will provide financial assistance to beginning pilots.
Messages of condolence may be left at ceasefuneralhome.com.