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Larry Conrad

Updated: Jun 19

     Larry Conrad died peacefully in his sleep on Friday, June 14 at the Taylor Hospice House in Des Moines, Iowa.  Visitation will be 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday, June 20 at the Merle Hay Funeral Chapel, 4400 Merle Hay Road.  A Celebration of Life service will be held on Friday, June 21, 11:00 a.m. at the Polk City United Methodist Church,1421 W. Broadway in Polk City.  The service will be lived streamed as well, please go here:

      Larry was born in East St. Louis, Illinois on July 11, 1961, to Phyllis and Wayne Conrad. He attended schools in Belleville, Illinois, graduating from Belleville West High School in 1979.   Larry graduated from Graceland University, Lamoni, Iowa in 1983 earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religious Studies.  He attended Vanderbilt University in graduate studies in history of Christian thought; and earned a Master of Divinity degree from Emory University in 1988.  He became a minister in the Iowa Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, serving as a student pastor at the Aragon, Georgia UMC; then he served as pastor of the Hopkins Grove and Polk City UMC from 1988-1992; the Polk City UMC from 1988-96. In 1996 Larry found a calling to become a chaplain and began working at MercyOne Medical Center, Des Moines, Iowa where he served until his death.


      He married Mary Beth Baker-Conrad, the love of his life in June of 1985.  Together they built a life of love and stability along with their two sons Ben (Grace) Conrad and David Conrad.  Larry loved being a dad, and later a grandfather to Colin, Catelynn, Bella, Jack and Cole. Whether it was hiking, biking, playing catch, going to baseball and basketball games, skipping rocks, or watching the stars, Larry loved his time with his family.  He loved reading and watching old movies, tinkering around in the garage, lovingly taking care of their lawn along with Mary Beth and her flowers. He loved the St. Louis Cardinals, family history, trains, American and Restoration history, and anything of interest to his grandchildren.   


      In his professional life, Larry was known for his caring, wisdom and sincerity. The MercyOne community really cared about him, and he cared for them.   Many stories emerged about the care that Larry gave patients and staff alike.  Their outpouring of help, prayers and support over the past four years were above and beyond. 


     As we say goodbye to Larry, we celebrate the profound impact he made on the lives of those around him. A favorite quote Larry loved..."The great lesson is that the sacred is in the ordinary, that it is to be found in one's daily life, in one's neighbors, friends, and family, in one's backyard." - Abraham Maslow


     Larry is survived by his beloved wife:  Mary Beth Baker-Conrad; sons and daughter-in-law: David Wayne Conrad, Granger, Iowa; Benjamin Michael Conrad (Grace M Conrad), Olathe, Kansas, Grandchildren: Colin M. Conrad, Catelynn M. Conrad, Isabella G. Conrad, Jack W. Conrad, and Cole J. Conrad, Brother and sister-in-law:  Gary D. Conrad (Laura Conrad), Clayton, Missouri; and many nieces and nephews.


     In lieu of flowers, gifts may be given to the Polk City UMC, *Comet Cupboard (food pantry)   Memorial gifts may also be made to the Richard Deming Cancer Center, Des Moines IA; or the University of Iowa Sarcoma Center, Iowa City IA.


So very sad to find this obituary this afternoon. I have officed in the same hallway as Mercy’s Pastoral Care for a few years now and Larry was one of the first chaplains I met. I have admired his peace and strength as he fought his cancer, and that has given me peace and optimism as I now face my own recent cancer diagnosis. Marybeth, I have a card you sent me when we had to put one of our Labrador’s to sleep 3 years ago. I wish you and your family much peace and many happy memories of your family time together. God’s peace and blessings to you.


MaryBeth, I am heartbroken. What a special man Larry was. Tom and I treasured our friendship with both of you. All my love and prayers are with you. Connie Z.


When I would come into Polk City from the West I drove by the Methodist Church. If I saw his car I would stop to say “Hello”..Larry would put his work to one side and we would talk for at least an hour. The topics ranged from the Bible to history to family. When he went to Mercy and I would go there to visit a patient I would call the Chaplain’s number and ask for Larry. He would come to see me and although I attend a Baptist church I would introduce Larry as my Methodist pastor. Larry was always kind and treated everyone with respect. Larry had and has a very special place in my heart. I am…

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