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Larry D Contos

Obituary for Larry D Contos

November 24, 1940 - September 23, 2018
Anderson, Indiana | Age 77


Larry D Contos, surrounded by family and friends, died at home on September 23, 2018 after a courageous battle with cancer. The eldest son of Herbert J. "Bud" Contos and Eloise M. Contos, Larry was born November 24, 1940 in Anderson, Indiana. He married Margaret Louann (Weaver) Contos on August 31, 1963 and together they raised three children. Larry was a champion of the City of Anderson and one of its most successful business leaders. He leaves a legacy of hometown pride, an enduring belief in giving back to one's community, and the idea that an exciting auto race, basketball or football game can get anyone through the toughest of times.
Preceding Larry in death were his aforementioned parents, Bud and Eloise. His beloved sister Dixie passed in 2004. Larry and Louann lost their only son Colin in April of 2017. As Larry's disease progressed he found comfort that he would be reunited with his loved ones.
Larry is survived by Louann, his wife of 55 years, and daughters Courtney Contos and Meredith Contos-Brooks. His brother Kim Contos, also survives. Sons-in-law Jason Smith and Steven Brooks shared a special bond with Larry and will miss him for the rest of their days. A proud Grandfather who was happiest when he was cheering them on, Larry leaves eight grandchildren; Chloe Contos, Claire Contos, Cade Contos McCord, Maitland Contos McCord, Landan Contos McCord, Aidan Contos Smith, Carson Contos and Maya Brooks. He attended dance recitals, the ballet, soccer matches, and basketball games with equal enthusiasm. Larry loved sitting on his deck at Lake Tippecanoe and watching "the kids" as they swam or came in from a wakeboard run.
Extended family include: brothers-in-law R. Wyatt Weaver (Judy) and Robert Weaver; sister-in-law Barbara Fyock; nieces and nephews Rebecca Seiler, Margaret Schrieber, Cara Dykson, Heather Ramsey, Ashley Taylor, Casey Contos, Wyatt Weaver, Grant Fyock and Gretchen Fyock. Chris Wheeler of Miami, Florida will also cherish his memory.
The Contos home had an open door policy while Larry and Louann's children were growing up and many of their friends will always remember Larry as a mentor and lifelong friend.
Larry also leaves his steadfast canine companion, Leo; and Grand-dogs, Nicky and Bo.
Larry graduated from Anderson High School and Indiana University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Marketing. While pursuing his degree at IU Bloomington, Larry lost his father suddenly. He remained a fulltime student and stepped in to run the family business. After graduation, he became President and CEO of Pay Less Super Markets Incorporated. Under his leadership the company expanded and prospered, with stores in both Anderson and Lafayette, Indiana; ultimately employing over 2,000 associates. His vision in real estate changed the footprint of both communities with the development of Applewood Centre, Southtown Center, Cross Street Marketplace, Elmwood Plaza and Lafayette Plaza South. Larry was also a founder, principal partner, and board member of Ultra Steak, which led to successful restaurant ventures including Texas Roadhouse, Aspen Creek Grill, and Little Caesars Pizza.
In 1997, Pay Less Super Markets celebrated fifty years of being a family-owned business. As president and CEO, Larry was thrilled to commemorate "The Hometown Team." Throughout his career, he focused on building and giving back to the communities in which he lived and did business in. He was President of Anderson Chamber of Commerce, a member of the board of directors of: Anderson Corporation of Economic Development, Madison Community Foundation, Paramount Heritage Foundation, Anderson Banking Company, and was a member of the Saint John's Health Care Corporation Board of Trustees.
Additionally, Larry served as President of The Indiana Retail Grocers Association, and the board of The Indiana Grocery and Convenience Store Association. He was a member of the Board of Directors for the Indiana State Chamber of Commerce. On a national level, Larry served on the boards of The Efficient Consumer Response Joint Industry Committee, The Midwest Grocers Foundation, and Food Marketing Institute. In 1998 Larry was Chairman of The National Grocers Association.
As a proud Indiana University Alumnus, Larry continued to support the Hoosiers in various roles; including The Indiana University Alumni Association, The IU Varsity Club, Hoosier Hundred, The IU School of Business Alumni Association, and The 12th Man Club. He was a member of Theta Chi Fraternity, Alpha Iota Chapter.
Throughout his life Larry was honored to be the recipient of various awards and honors. He was always humbled and grateful for the recognition. They include: Grocers Spotlight Award for outstanding service to the food service industry in Indiana, Madison County Indiana Business Leaders Hall of Fame, Community Image Award by the Anderson Rotary Club, Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from Anderson University, and the Distinguished Alumni Service Award from the Indiana University Alumni Club of Madison County. He was also the first recipient of the Distinguished Citizen Award in Madison County from The Boy Scouts of America. In 1995, Larry was awarded the "Chief Anderson Award" and The Herald Bulletin named him "Person of the Year."
Auto racing was a lifelong passion of Larry's. Growing up he attended The Little 500 Sprint Car Race and The Indianapolis 500 annually with his father. In the 1980's he became personally involved in the Indy 500 when Pay Less sponsored cars driven by Pete Halsmer, Arie Luyendyk and Tony Bettenhausen. He always declared May to be "The greatest month of the entire year," and his time spent in Gasoline Alley as "Blissful!" Larry also owned Contos Racing, which won the USAC National Sprint Car Championship in 1996 and 1997.
In 1988 Pay Less became the title sponsor of Anderson's famed Little 500. Led by his sister Dixie and with the support of the entire Pay Less team, a month long Little 500 Festival was created. It brought an unprecedented level of enthusiasm and community involvement to the race. In 2000 Larry was honored to be inducted into The Little 500 Hall of Fame. In 2008 and 2012, after years of near-misses and tough breaks, a Contos Racing owned car finally won the race. He described winning the Little 500 as "Finally getting a beast off my back!"
Since his passing on September 23, so many have reached out to relay stories of first jobs given, charities supported, community involvement, brilliant business moves and kindness that was quietly offered. While all of these are true, to his family Larry was simply "Dad" and "Grandad." He was generous, funny, and quirky. He was an animal-lover who cried at the passing of the fur-babies of every family member, and always left food on the porch for the feral cats that always found the Contos household. Larry was an Indiana Hoosier, a Colts and Pacer fan even in the darkest of seasons, and an Anderson Indian who bled red and green.
Larry Contos' community has lost a giant; his family and friends have lost a bright light that we will hold forever in our hearts. Godspeed. The race is done.
Arrangements are being handled by Brown, Butz and Diedring. Services will be private. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to The Animal Protection League, Riley Children's Hospital, Simon Cancer Center, or the local charity of your choice. The family thanks Dr. Nassir Hanna and Julie Rasmussen for treating Larry with kindness and respect.

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Brown-Butz-Diedring Funeral Service and Crematory

515 East 53rd Street
Anderson, IN 46013
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