Charles (Chuck) Marvin Larkee, age 86, of Waupaca, passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving family on Wednesday, May 20, 2015.
Charles was born in Merrill, WI on October 24, 1928 to the late Marvin and Margaret (Robertson) Larkee. He graduated from Pascagoula High School in 1948. Charles proudly served his country in the U.S. Army stationed in Germany during the Korean War reaching the rank of Sgt. 1st Class. On May 23, 1953, he was united in marriage to Nyma (Hanson) in Waupaca. Chuck spent almost his entire life working in the outdoor amusement business. His father got him started at the age of eight, when he needed someone to turn the agitator for the new popcorn popper he built. Fortunately, that first week the popcorn business went well and Chuck was replaced by an electric motor. His entrepreneurial spirit was awakened at an early age while the family lived in Mississippi. After school and on Saturdays Chuck took the popcorn machine out on the street and his father paid him handsomely for his efforts. “I made five dollars,” he said. “That was serious Money.” As he grew older his love for the carnival business grew and it wasn’t long before he knew that the carnival life was the life for him. In 1946 his father bought their first ride and Tip Top Shows was formed. Eventually Marvin moved the family back to Waupaca, WI. It was in Wisconsin where the family business thrived. Through a lot of hard work by Chuck and the rest of the Larkee family, Tip Top Shows became one of the largest carnivals to ever be based out of the state of Wisconsin. He was very passionate about his role in the carnival industry and proud to be known as an “Outdoor Showman.” Chuck was very proud of his long time membership with the Wisconsin Fair Association and the fact that he made it to sixty consecutive Wisconsin Fair Conventions. He loved listening to the laughter and watching families having fun riding the rides. In his later years he loved traveling with Nyma, spending time with family and participating in the early morning knowledge table at the Waupaca area restaurants.
He is survived by his wife, Nyma; his sons, David (Kim), Waupaca, WI and Dale (Linda), Arvada, CO; daughter, Dawn (John) Omit, Weyauwega, WI; daughter-in-law, Jill (Doug) Hiroskey, Neenah, WI; sister, Janet (Gary) Pope, Westfield, WI; brother, Alan (Barbara) Larkee, Riverview, FL; grandchildren: Jennifer (Michael) Oaks, Eric (Nicole) Larkee, Cristofer (Erin) Larkee, Jason (Rachel) Larkee, Adam (Katy) Larkee, USMC Sgt. Jacob (Katie) Larkee, Melissa Larkee; great-grandchildren: Daryl Bump, Christian Bump, Aidan Larkee, Brewer Larkee, Gracie Larkee, Ellie Larkee, Miller Larkee, and Levi Larkee. He is further survived by many beloved nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. He is preceded in death by his parents; his son, Darrell Kip Larkee; four brothers, Kenneth, Edward, Paul, and Robert Larkee, and two sisters, Lois Switzer and Evelyn Ashley.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, May 27 at First United Methodist Church, 720 Demarest St., Waupaca, WI with Pastor Jeff Fletcher officiating. Friends may call to visit from 4 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, May 26 at the A. J. Holly & Sons Funeral Home in Waupaca and at the church on Wednesday, May 27 from 10 a.m. until the time of service. Full military honors will take place at the church following the funeral service. Interment will be at a later date.
The family would like to extend a special thank you to the incredible staff at Crossroads Care Center for all the care and compassion shown to our family. The nurses and staff were just wonderful, and we will never forget everything you have done for us.