Larry E. Klahn

August 12, 1955 - October 11, 2021

Many are mourning the death of Larry Earl Klahn of La Crosse, who passed away at the age of 66 at Gundersen Health System on October 11, 2021. He was born in Viroqua, WI, to Carl and Lucille (Morelli) Klahn on August 12, 1955.

Larry E Klahn 2Larry graduated from De Soto (Wis.) High School. He earned an associate degree at Western Wisconsin Technical School and went on to get a PhD in philosophy.

Larry worked at Trane Company until 1975 when his interest in martial arts that started in 1973 led him to his passion and career. He and his business partner and friend Ferd Roth opened the Three Rivers Martial Arts Academy in 1975, and it’s still going 46 years later. Larry has earned a 9th Degree Black Belt in Taekwon-Do, 6th Degree Black Belt in Kyuki-Do, 3rd Degree Black Belt in Judo, and 1st Degree Black Belt in Hapki-Do. Besides developing and teaching a variety of classes, in 1980 he designed and started teaching the W.I.S.E. (Women Initiating Safe Environments) program to help women prevent and terminate a sexual assault. To date over 5,000 women have graduated from this program, with 34 documented saves.

After giving a martial arts demonstration in 1974, Larry met Dan Marcou, who in 1978 became his partner in teaching law enforcement classes. In 1998, he became a special/reserve deputy for the La Crosse County Sheriff’s Office and became a member and one of the lead tactical instructors for the Emergency Response Team from July 1998-June 2013. He worked as an officer for the Village of Trempealeau from 2013 to the present.

In 2005, the United States Army asked Larry to develop a course in Close Quarter Combat to teach to the troops who were going to be deployed to Iraq and combat zones worldwide. He trained 2,300 soldiers at Fort McCoy who all came back safely.

Larry enjoyed collecting Japanese swords and military items, but he loved his mom, family, and friends the most. He loved spending time with all of them and telling stories. He was notoriously late many times because of events that led to the stories.

Larry was preceded in death by his father, Carl; his brother, David; his grandparents, Richard and Matilda Klahn and George and La Vina Morelli; and several aunts, uncles, and cousins.

He is survived by his mother, Lucille; sister, Trudy Mendez; brother-in-law, John Mendez; nephews, Trent and Trevor Mendez; a sister-in-law, Faye Klahn; one aunt, Nancy Klahn; and many cousins.

Larry’s funeral service will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, October 16, at Living Word Christian Church, 2015 Ward Ave., La Crosse, with visitation beginning at 10:00 a.m. Rev. Mark Clements will officiate. Masks will be required for those who attend. Because of limited parking at the cemetery, a private family burial will follow at the St. Matthew’s Church cemetery in Stoddard, WI. Because of COVID restrictions, no lunch will be served. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred and will be donated in Larry’s memory.

Special thanks to all the friends who have helped, the staff in the Critical Care and COVID units at Gundersen Health System who valiantly worked to save Larry, the three chaplains who cared for him, and Schumacher-Kish Funeral Home who made accommodations and the arrangements for the service.