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All the Good

Larry Carrell


As Larry Carrell recounts the tragic events in his life that have influenced his philanthropy, he lists them in succession, mechanically, with metronomic precision.

These are moments of great trauma on the timeline of his life that he’s abbreviated so they can be shared. When he speaks, it doesn’t feel as if there is any other way he could talk about it—not for his sake, but for ours. The brief pauses in between these points on his timeline, where Larry has carried on with his life, are too great for most people to fully comprehend in real time. They are a testament of the phenomenal strength of a man who’s lived, who’s grieved, and who’s surmounted the unthinkable.

In January of 1989, Larry’s wife Kathi sustained severe injuries after being struck by a vehicle as a pedestrian. Since then, Larry has been her primary caregiver. Nine years later, the couple lost their daughter Rebecca to complications related to juvenile diabetes. At the time, the Carrells’ son Wesley made the decision to move closer to Larry and Kathi. Over the years, Larry and Wesley’s relationship strengthened through their shared interests and care of Kathi. Tragically, in 2019, Wesley passed away, just months after Larry had lost his brother Lloyd, both to cancer.

If you’re hearing Carrells’ story for the fi rst time, you’re not ready. If you were hearing it for the one-hundredth time, you still would not be ready. In telling their story, we start with what is hard because it is the catalyst to what is good and right and blessed.

Remarkably, Larry and Kathi will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary in January 2023.

“My wife and I have been very fortunate in life,” Larry says. “I believe that if you end up with more than you need, you should give back.”

Grief is a lens that can bend the sky into the ground. Larry is an example of how one pushes forward into an unpredictable future. There will be moments in which we experience an unreal amount of pain—for most people this is certain. In the wake of those events, we pause, reassess, and adjust into a new life that does not feel like our own. That adaptation, that accession to a life you were never ready for, is the birthright of grit.

Larry is a proud University of Wyoming alum. He earned his bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering in 1965, then his master’s in 1968. He went on to work for Chevron, Conoco, and Luff Exploration Co., where he became vice president of operations. He participated as an individual investor in oil and gas ventures while with Luff starting in 1977. In 2003, Carrell formed his own oil and gas business corporation, Carrell Enterprises, Inc. for which he became the owner and president. Carrell Enterprises Inc. was based in Sheridan and has recently been moved to Lewistown, Montana. He semi-retired in 2004 but continues to manage his corporation.

Beyond his professional success, Larry has built a life defi ned by joy. Together, he and Wesley collected a stunning 30-plus automobile collection, with a vast selection of vehicles that fall under the Ford umbrella— including Mustang Twister Specials, a couple of Boss 429s, a Boss 302, two Boss 351s, a slew of Shelby fastbacks, and much more. After the passing of his son, Larry pared down his collection through auction, using the proceeds to further his philanthropic eff orts.

Larry has made history by helping create the world’s most technologically advanced electric dragster, which broke the 200-mph barrier in a quarter mile in 2020. This world record has yet to be matched. Following this accomplishment, his partner and driver was diagnosed with cancer, which led to the formation of the Faster than Cancer Foundation, a nonprofi t that inspires, educates, and supports those living with a cancer diagnosis. The dragster currently runs under the banner of the Faster Than Cancer Foundation.

After visiting his hometown of Winnett, Montana, for a school reunion, Larry donated a signifi cant gift to help build a community center in Petroleum County. The center is a long-awaited dream for Winnett’s community as they didn’t have a place other than the school gymnasium to hold larger events such as weddings and funerals. His support has inspired others to contribute to the town’s prosperity.

Larry has supported community youth programs, reservation schools, debt- 35 “One of the great parts about estate planning is getting to see the impact while you are still here.” free education initiatives, and projects that support senior citizens.

In 2021, Larry established the University of Wyoming Carrell Family Deanship in College of Engineering and Physical Sciences—the second deanship in the history of the university.

“Mr. Carrell is a remarkably generous man,” says UW Provost and Executive Vice President Kevin Carman. “His career accomplishments are extraordinary, and he is now focusing on giving back to programs that are meaningful to him and his family. It is humbling and inspiring to know that his engineering education at UW was transformative and that he is providing this gift to assure the program thrives in perpetuity.”

The Carrell Family Deanship is the most recent gift from Larry, whose philanthropy has supported the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences and the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering in the past. As Larry talks about his generosity, he simplifi es it down to a single incentive— it’s the right thing to do. He could just as easily be talking about imparting a cup of milk to a neighbor. In celebrating the impact of the Carrell family, our feelings of joyousness are tinged with the depth of hardship, and that gives us even more reason to appreciate all the good.

There’s a great deal of beauty in this sentiment, not because the good is separate from his loss but because it exists in tandem with it.

“One of the great parts about estate planning is getting to see the impact while you’re still here,” Larry says. “It’s allowed me to enjoy seeing how giving back is helping others. It’s a hard subject for some people to talk about, but I’m glad I get to see how it’s making a diff erence during my lifetime.”

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