Larry Penrose (1941 – 2023)

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G. Larry Penrose passed away peacefully at age 82 on February 22, 2023, in Rathdrum, Idaho. He was born on February 13, 1941, in McMinnville, Oregon. His parents were George and Lynn Penrose, long-time Tigard residents and owners of Penrose Realty.

Larry attended Tigard High School but graduated from the Community School of Tehran in 1959 after the Penrose family spent two years living in Iran. He joined the U.S. Army, studied Russian at the Defense Language Institute, and served in Japan. After his service, he enrolled at Portland State University in Russian and Middle East Studies. He married classmate Arlene Matson in 1965, and they both graduated in 1966. Larry received grants from Indiana University in Bloomington to pursue his postgraduate studies. They moved to Bloomington, where he completed coursework and dissertation preparation in Uralic-Altaic Studies.

In 1970, he was ready to teach. He applied only to colleges close to premier fly-fishing streams, including the Au Sable in Michigan. The History Department at Hope College extended an offer, and the Penroses moved to Holland, Michigan, where Larry began his career. He was granted a year sabbatical in 1973-74 to go to Tashkent, Uzbekistan, to research Abulgazi, 17th century Khan of Khiva, and was awarded his doctorate from Indiana University in 1975.

At Hope College, he was a popular professor of history who inspired generations of students. For several years, he organized and led groups of students from the Great Lakes College Association’s semester abroad program to Krasnodar, Russia. He retired from Hope College in 2005 and moved to Prineville, Oregon, where he spent many happy hours fly fishing with Tigard High buddy and lifelong friend Bill Sparks.

Larry is survived by his children, Liisa (Balzar) and Geoff; son-in-law John Balzar; his former spouse and forever friend Arlene (Matson Clark); granddaughter Gracie Balzar and grandson Gus Penrose; sister Nancy Penrose, brother-in-law David Muerdter, and brother-in-law Pierre Sundborg; and many nieces and nephews. He is also survived by former spouse Laurie Engle VanEenenaam and her children, Katie (Carpenter) and Kyle VanEenenaam. Larry was predeceased by his parents and his sister, Jean (Sundborg).

The family has set up an email address,, where memories and comments from those who knew Larry may be shared.

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