Dr. Larry Goetz Obituary

Dr. Larry William Goetz
Dr. Larry William Goetz

February 3, 1936 - November 16, 2023
Born in Mayview, Missouri
Resided in Des Moines, Iowa
  • Contat Us
  • Videos
  • Guestbook
  • Photos
  • Services
  • Send Flowers


Dr. Larry William Goetz, a beloved family physician, devoted husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, passed away peacefully at his home on November 16, 2023, after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease and pancreatic insufficiency. Larry was born on February 3, 1936, in the family farmhouse in Mayview, Missouri, to Leander and Minnie (Starke) Goetz. Dr. Goetz was known to all as a beacon of kindness, compassion, and quiet strength.

Larry’s early life was marked by resilience and hard work. His father passed away when he was just 13 months old, leaving his mother, Minnie, to raise him and his older sister, Wanda. Minnie, a cafe owner, worked tirelessly from sunrise to sunset, instilling in Larry the value of hard work and determination. While in high school, Larry would often walk to Minnie’s Cafe to fix himself a hamburger or help wash dishes.

Larry was an exceptional student, excelling in English, math, and science at Higginsville High School. He also showcased his talents in the school’s band, playing the cornet and participating in multiple varsity sports. It was in the band that he met the love of his life, Patsy Vahrenberg, a love story that would span over 7 decades.

After high school, Larry pursued his passion for science at the University of Missouri, studying chemistry and zoology, and later at the University of Kansas Medical School. After Larry’s first year of medical school, Larry and Patsy were married on June 6, 1959 in Higginsville, Missouri. Immediately after, Larry spent three years as an army flight surgeon. During this time, he and Patsy were blessed with four children: Devon, Dana, Lauren and Lance. In 1965, Larry and Patsy and their children moved to Creston, Iowa. There he established a distinguished career as a family practice physician, a role he served with dedication and compassion for over 40 years. Larry’s contributions to his community were immense, serving on numerous boards and delivering over 2,000 babies.

The Goetz family eventually expanded to 13 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren, all of whom Larry adored. His family was his pride and joy, and he cherished every moment he spent with them. After 40 years of practice at Creston Medical Clinic, Larry and Patsy moved to Des Moines in 2006.

Larry was a man of many interests. He enjoyed golf, movies, and driving to Iowa Hawkeye football games from 1979 to 1992 while his 4 kids attended college there. He was also an avid player of board games and cards. His happiest moments were spent holding hands with Patsy while watching a film, or attending Turner Jazz concerts and Des Moines Playhouse productions. He also enjoyed playing golf at Waveland Golf Course just after the sun rose in the morning. In 1995, Larry scored a hole-in-one in the rain on a 190 yard par three at Glen Oaks Country Club. Every summer after the Creston Fourth of July parade, a traditional pool party was held in the backyard with family and friends, and everyone dressed in red, white and blue. Larry also spent many hours at the YMCA swimming laps. During his mile long swims he would pray for each family member and try to remember their individual birthdates. To celebrate Larry’s 80th birthday, his family and several friends gathered at their vacation home in Green Valley, Arizona. He received hundreds of cards, letters and e-mails from people whose lives he had touched with his kindness and exceptional medical care. Larry also enjoyed all desserts and believed he invented the blizzard because he liked to crumble up candy bars in a milkshake.

Larry was a lifetime member of the United Church of Christ, where his faith and community spirit shone brightly. His unique blend of kindness and humorous pessimism endeared him to all who knew him. Larry’s life was a testament to quiet strength, compassion, and the power of hard work.

Larry had many professional affiliations and board positions along with being involved in several community activities including: Past President of: Creston Chamber of Commerce•Creston Medical Clinic, P.C.•Hospital Staff of the Greater Community Hospital•Crestmoor Golf Club Board•Interstate Postgraduate Medical Association•Iowa Foundation for Medical Care (Telligen); Member of: Union County Board of Health•Original Board of Crossroads Mental Health Clinic and co founder •Founder of the Union County Hawkeye I-Club•Creston Community School District •Iowa Academy of Family Physicians Board of Directors •Iowa Medical Society Delegate since 1975•Iowa Medical Society Committee member: Alternate Delivery Systems Committee, Member Services Committee, Delivery of Health Services Committee, Program Chairman for IMS Scientific Assembly•American Medical Association•Wellmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield•Board of Directors for Caring Foundation for Children in the State of Iowa•Iowa Foundation for Medical Care (Quality Improvement Organization for Iowa/Illinois also known as Telligen)•Original Board of Directors of Iowa’s first HMO Rural Health Services, Bloomfield, Iowa•Advisory Boards of Green Valley Area Education Association•Advisory Board of Southwestern Community College LPN and RN Training•Advisory Board of First National Bank of Creston•Sigma Chi Social Fraternity 1954-1958•Creston First Congregational UCC church council, search committee and choir member•Creston Wrestling Hall of Fame•Creston Community Chorus; •Board Certified Family Physician-1975, recertification-1995•State of Iowa Family Physician of the Year-1981•State of Iowa Wrestling Team Physician Award-1983•Volunteer doctor for Creston Athletics•Preceptor for University of Iowa medical students since 1965•Planned Parenthood volunteer.

Survivors include his wife, Patricia “Patsy” Goetz; Son Devon (Kathy) Goetz of Des Moines, Iowa and their children: Katelyn (Alex) Goetz-Taylor, Kirsten (Chris) Dickinson (their daughters Eleanor and Sosie), Maggie (fiancé Kyle Ornce) Goetz, Jake (fiancé Megan Rushing) Goetz, Jeff (Kate) Goetz; Daughter Dana (Michael) Langley of Shawnee, Oklahoma and their children: Taylor (Hope) Langley (their daughter Caroline and son Luke), Phillip (Chelsea) Langley (their son Leo and daughter Benni), Daniel Langley; Daughter Lauren (Joseph) Crippes of Cedar Rapids, Iowa and their children: Kylie (Vaughn) Costello (their son Owen), Landon (Cassie) Crippes, Connor Crippes; Son Lance (Eva) Goetz of Midlothian, Virginia and their children: Devon Goetz and Daniel Goetz.

A celebration of Larry’s life is scheduled for Sunday, December 3 at 3:00 pm at Plymouth United Church of Christ where the family will receive friends one hour prior to the service. His family invites all who knew and loved him to join them in remembering a man who touched so many lives with his kindness and dedication.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Larry’s name to Plymouth United Church of Christ, 4126 Ingersoll Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa, 50312. Larry’s legacy of love, compassion and service to his community will live on in the lives he touched.

We are deeply grateful for the life of Dr. Larry William Goetz, a man who loved deeply, served passionately, and lived fully. His memory will forever be a beacon of love and compassion in our hearts.

Special thanks to Unity Point Hospice and Senior Helpers of Central Iowa for their in-home personal care and companionship they provided for the entire family.

Online condolences are welcome at www.IlesCares.com.





Celebration of Larry's Life
Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ
4126 Ingersoll Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50312
Sunday, December 3, 2023
3:00 PM
- Show more -