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Former H-R winner Larry Mulder dies

Larry Mulder

Larry Mulder, the West Central Tribune's Hengstler-Ranweiler Award winner in 1972 out of Renville, died on Sunday after a lengthy battle with cancer at his home in Pella, Iowa. He was 55.

Mulder, a four-sport standout at Renville, was one of five brothers that were known throughout the area for their basketball prowess. Steve was the oldest brother, followed by Larry, Greg, Kevin and Kim. Four of the five were 1,000-point scorers, including Larry who had 1,202 points in his career.

In 1972, Larry was a 6-foot-7 senior center on the Renville basketball team that made it to state. Greg was the starting guard and Kevin a starting forward.

"Larry sprained his ankle right after Christmas and I took his place in the starting lineup," said Kevin on Monday night. "I was just a skinny freshman. When Larry came back, I stayed in the starting lineup. Playing sports is an honor and a privilege. But when you can play with your brothers, it's even more special."

Greg won the Hengstler-Ranweiler Award in 1974 and Kevin won the award in 1975.

"I remember how competitive Larry was," said Kevin. "He loved playing sports."

Rob Anderson, the current high school principal at Willmar, was the assistant coach on that 1972 team that lost in the first round of the state tournament.

"Larry was such a good player because of his great skills around the basket, along with the ability to hit the long-range baseline shot," said Anderson. "I remember his last high school game the most vividly -- a 30-plus point effort against Howard Lake at Williams Arena in the state tournament. I was amazed as a coach on the bench watching his performance that night."

Mulder was a four-year starter and two-time All-Area basketball player and was named to the Minneapolis Tribune and St. Paul Pioneer Press All-State teams his senior year. He was also on the all-tournament team at state.

He was also an All-Area selection as a lineman his senior year in football, pitched and played first base in baseball, and upon graduation, held the school record in the discus and in the high jump.

Mulder went on to play basketball at South Dakota State University.

Larry battled lung cancer for six years, Kevin said.

"But Larry was still Larry," explained Kevin. "He never wanted to bring attention to (the illness). He had a gift with people and it was so easy to visit with him."

Larry, Greg, Kevin and Kim were all in business together for K&M Manufacturing. Greg, Kevin and Kim still live in Renville and run the business there. Larry was a salesman at the K&M distribution warehouse in Pella for 34 years. Steve is a CEO for a company in Hutchinson.

The funeral is set for Thursday at the Peace Lutheran Church in Pella, Iowa.

Larry is survived by his father, his wife, Ellen; his three children and four brothers among many relatives. He was preceded in death by his mother.

For the complete obituary, see Page A-8.