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Columbia Missourian

Larry N. Winfrey devoted countless hours to helping the community

By Kate Hrdina
August 10, 2012 | 6:35 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Larry Winfrey’s work ethic transcended the walls of his office.

As a 32-year volunteer reserve deputy at the Boone County Sheriff’s Department, Mr. Winfrey devoted much of his time outside his position at Shelter Insurance, formerly known as MFA Insurance, to the community.

“He may have worn a suit and tie during the day, but he would get down in the mud and the blood and the beer just the same,” said Warren Brewer, chief jailer at the Sheriff's Department.

Larry N. Winfrey of Columbia died Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. He was 78.

Mr. Winfrey was born Feb. 23, 1934, in Easley to Walter Leon and Myrtle G. (Hudson) Winfrey.

He graduated from Hickman High School in 1952 and, after attending MU for one year, went on to serve in the U.S. Army's Fifth Army Machine Records Unit from 1956 to 1958. He also began work at MFA Insurance during that period.

He married Phyllis M. Dolen on Oct. 1, 1960, and the two began a family.

“He had a nice home and a good family and a good work ethic,” Brewer said. “He instilled that in his family.”

Putting that work ethic to good use, Mr. Winfrey earned a bachelor's degree from Columbia College in 1976.

After working for the insurance agency for 43 years, Mr. Winfrey retired in 1999 but continued to volunteer with the Sheriff’s Department. When his body grew too tired for the physical demand of making arrests, he helped at the information center and then worked the phone booths.

“No job was too low for him,” Brewer said. “It just didn’t matter as long as he could be of help. I’m glad to have known him and fortunate to have worked with him.”

Mr. Winfrey is survived by his wife, Phyllis Winfrey, of Columbia; two sons, David N. Winfrey, and his wife, Tammy R., and Dennis J. Winfrey, and his wife Tammy L., of Columbia; and five grandchildren.

Private services will be held at a later date.

Memorial contributions can be made to Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans Hospital Voluntary Services, 800 Hospital Drive, Columbia, MO 65201.

Condolences can be left for the family at

Supervising editor is Hannah Cushman.