Lawrence Bouton


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CHAMPAIGN – Dr. Lawrence Bouton, 85, passed away on Wednesday (Feb. 1, 2017) at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana after a long battle with COPD and heart disease.

He is survived by his wife, Marjorie; his two children, Kristin and Pete; his grandchildren, Ian Rodriguez, Santiago Rodriguez, Cole Bouton, Cooper Bouton and Grace Bouton; as well as his brother, Norman and his wife, Jane, and his brother, Peter, and their families.

A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11, at the Emmanuel Memorial Episcopal Church, 208 W. University Ave., Champaign. A reception in the church will follow the service from 5 to 7 p.m.

In lieu of other expressions of sympathy, the family requests memorial donations be made to Lawrence Bouton Memorial Fund at Howe Military Academy, P.O. Box 240, Howe, IN 46746, Attn: Development Office (Please reference his name in the memo section), or Emmanuel Memorial Episcopal Church, 208 W. University Ave., Champaign, IL 61820.

Larry was born on June 30, 1931, in Sturgis, Mich., son to Burrett and Katherine (Young) Bouton. He grew up in Howe, Ind., and graduated from Howe Military Academy in 1949. He remained dedicated to the school for the rest of his life, serving on the Howe Board of Trustees for many years.

After high school, Larry attended Yale University, where he graduated with a degree in English literature in 1953. While at Yale, he met the love of his life, Marjorie Dahl Bouton, whom he married in 1954. They were happily married for 62 years.

After college, Larry entered the Navy and served for five years. He left in 1958 with the rank of lieutenant. Afterward, Larry and Marjorie moved to Iowa where he got his M.A. in English literature at the University of Iowa and then worked as a high school English teacher in Keokuk, Iowa. In addition to teaching, he was a successful debate coach, taking second in the state in 1963.

Larry came to University of Illinois in 1965 to do his Ph.D. in linguistics. After graduation he became one of the first faculty members for the M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language at Illinois.

As a faculty member, he was dedicated to the welfare of his students and, in the 1970s, helped found the first bilingual program at BT Washington school in Urbana. He also served twice as head of the Division of English as an International Language.

During his tenure as director, he set up exchange programs in Spain and Costa Rica to give graduate students opportunities to teach abroad. He also founded the International Conference on Pragmatics and Language Learning. He retired from the university in 2000.

Larry loved life. He loved to talk to people and had a great sense of humor. He loved nothing better than a good meal with friends and family.

His favorite sport was tennis - both playing, which he did until he was 78, and watching his son, Pete, play.

He was fascinated by cultural differences and loved to travel. During his life he visited most of the U.S. and many countries around the world, including many trips to Spain, where he visited his daughter, Kristin.

After he retired, Larry dedicated himself to his five grandchildren. He developed a love of gardening and took great pride in his roses. He also became an excellent cook, his specialty being fish dishes.

Larry was a devout Episcopalian and was very active at Emmanuel Memorial Episcopal Church. The role he was most proud of was his 30-plus years as acolyte master, during which he trained multiple generations of children as acolytes.

Most of all, Larry loved his family. He was a loving brother, husband, father and grandfather. He was the definition of unconditional love and unending support. He will be greatly missed.

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