Deacon Lawrence Peter Illy, 71, passed away peacefully in his sleep on Saturday, July 15, 2023, in Virginia Beach, surrounded by his family. Larry was born on December 24, 1951, to Thomas and Elizabeth Illy in Charleston, South Carolina.
Larry met the love of his life, Raquel Illy (who he called Rockie), while teaching catechism classes at St. Nicholas Catholic Church. The two were united in holy matrimony on March 15, 1977, and, from each day on, loved each other without ceasing.
Larry was a father to 10 children and foster parent to countless others who he welcomed into his home. Besides sharing his sarcastic wit and funny antics as a husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, mentor, and friend, Larry’s true love was serving the Catholic Church.
His love for ministry extended to various churches throughout Virginia Beach. As a child, he was an altar server and usher at Dam Neck Base Chapel and Star of the Sea Catholic Church. After graduating from Kellam High School, he was called to religious life and attended seminary at St. Norbert Abbey in Wisconsin. Joking that there were too many bells and early mornings, he left the seminary to serve in the United States Marine Corps as a Chaplin during the Vietnam War. Upon returning to civilization, he attended Old Dominion University, where he earned a B.S. in Human Services and obtained a Master’s degree in Theological Studies from Loyola University Maryland. His studies launched his 25-year career as a social worker for the Norfolk Child Protective Services, and later at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Assisted Living Facility. Additionally, Larry was in the role of Director of Religious Education and facilities manager at St. Matthews Catholic Church for many years. Further, he volunteered his talents with the Beach Crisis Hotline. His passion for helping troubled youth, battered women, and families in distress was his silent offering to serve his community. For someone who had such a light footprint, Larry somehow managed to make an impact on people far and wide.
The accomplishment Larry was most proud of, was the day he became an ordained Deacon in the Catholic Church as a member of the first class for the Diocese of Richmond, on March 23, 2003. He was later assigned to St. Luke Catholic Church, where he served the community for many wonderful years until retirement. In his final years, he mainly attended virtual masses at the Church of the Ascension and Holy Family Catholic Church. Larry’s passion for his faith was his defining characteristic.
His last words came through in his prayer, “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death.”
In addition to being predeceased by his parents, Larry was predeceased by his sister Patricia. Left to cherish his memory are his wife Rockie, 10 children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, a host of those who he stepped in as father, and his loving friends.
A funeral mass will be at 11:00 am on Saturday, July 29, 2023, at Holy Family Catholic Church in Virginia Beach, 1279 N. Great Neck Road, Virginia Beach, 23454. In lieu of flowers, any memorial donations honoring Deacon Larry Illy can be made to Catholic Charities of Eastern Virginia’s Family Engagement Programs: https://cceva.org/donate-now/ Donations will be used to help battered women and children in get back on their feet.