The world lost a legend March 30th, 2022. Larry Krutka dove into swimming at a young age and it led him through college, career, and competition. He was perpetually curious and always wanted to fix things himself. He married, had three children, married again, adding three more children. His children had grandchildren and he loved them all. In 1991, he found a partner who could match his energy in Donna Krutka. She rode by his side through life. With every day and every lap, Larry lived life with unmatched purpose and passion.\n\n\n\nHe was born Larry Paul Krutka on July 1st, 1949 in Flint, Michigan to Luella (Gildner) Krutka and Paul Peter Krutka. He was an active child growing up on Westview Drive in Grand Blanc with his sisters Nancy Coon and Donna DeKay. He began swimming when his family joined Atlas Valley Country Club and, before long, he was lifeguarding at Fenton Lake. A life of early morning workouts started in high school when Luella would drop him off at Grand Blanc High School for 5am swim practice. He turned his practice into a scholarship to swim for the Sycamores at Indiana State University.\n\n\n\nLarry was a ferocious competitor at swim meets and triathlons. He won his share of races, and his losses were nothing more than motivation for the next competition. He liked to tell the story of his race against famed Indiana University swimmer Mark Spitz when he swam for Indiana State. Larry was neck-and-neck with Spitz half-way through the 200 meter freestyle and started to think, "maybe I can really do this." According to Larry, Spitz' flip turn was the fastest he'd ever seen and he couldn't keep pace. Spitz went on to win seven gold medals, setting world records in every event, in the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. It wasn't the last time he raced against the best in the world.\n\n\n\nLarry met Eve Marie Abrams at Indiana State, they married in 1974 and moved to Tahlequah, Oklahoma as Larry began his career as a child psychologist at the Cherokee County Child Guidance center. He became well known in the area for his long training rides to work from Tahlequah to Stilwell. They had three children--Holly and twenty-two months later twins, Daniel and April--who, as Larry liked to point out, were all in diapers at the same time.\n\n\n\nOne day, Larry saw a magazine advertisement for a new sport: the triathlon. He was immediately enamored with the multisport race and thought his swimming background would give him a leg up. His training was legendary and his accomplishments became the stuff of legends. Larry once won a 10K run in Jay, Oklahoma, but his competitors were stunned to find out he had bicycled 50 miles there and was about to ride the 50 miles home. He traveled from race to race as the sport gained popularity in Oklahoma and neighboring states. He won again and again. He won the first two Tulsa Triathlons, but was frustrated when he lost the third year to a 16-year old kid named Lance Armstrong. His reputation grew. He was embarrassed in front of Donna when on a Freewheel bike ride across the state two riders recognized him, bowed, and chanted, "we're not worthy!" Larry qualified and participated in the IRONMAN World Championship in Hawaii five times and twice podiumed. In 1987, he came out of the water next to eventual champion Dave Scott and finished 71st in the world. He represented Team USA at the World Triathlon Championship Series in Australia, Vancouver, Budapest, and Chicago. Larry was an all-American, ranked in Nationals, and had grown into a local legend.\n\n\n\nHis post-workout meals gained some notoriety of their own. It wasn't uncommon to meet Larry for a meal and he would order two. Legend has it that some Tahlequah buffets banned Larry for fear of financial ruin. When not competing or eating, Larry and Eve often socialized with friends and water skied on Lake Tenkiller.\n\n\n\nLarry and Donna met in 1991 through the Tulsa triathlon community. They fell in love and married in 1995. They trained together, traveled together, and took long walks around Swan Lake together. They were partners in everything. Their marriage joined together Larry's three children and dachshund, Nike, with Donna's three children, Brandon, Natalie, and Lauren and their dachshund, Jessie.\n\n\n\nIn 1993, Larry and Donna wanted to compete in Hawaii together, but they had to qualify first. Donna had qualified and Larry's last chance was at the Hill Country Triathlon in central Texas. He was determined. He was the first out of the water and making great time on the bike when a driver went around roadblocks and hit him with her car. Larry slid across the pavement and an officer told him he was getting medical help. Larry asked, "can I keep going? I have to qualify for Hawaii." Stunned, they let Larry continue. However, soon into his run he started feeling intense pain and realized that several ribs were broken. An elite runner eventually caught him and famously asked, "whom might you be?" The runner was surprised someone was ahead of him. Larry asked him, "are you going to Hawaii?" The runner replied, "yes," as he slowly pulled away. Larry feared he wouldn't qualify, but knew all he could do was continue through the pain and hope. He finished second, but later found out the man who passed him had already qualified. Larry was off to IRONMAN to compete alongside Donna. Their Brady Bunch family came along and tells stories of the trip to this day.\n\n\n\nA couple years after his family moved to Tulsa in 1989, Larry decided to turn his experience in psychology and passion for exercise into his life's work. He was ACE certified as a personal trainer and eventually opened Krutka Fitness Programs. He trained athletes in three gyms--including his own--across Tulsa. Larry operated the only gym focused on static contraction and the egoscue methods as a way of increasing strength and improving alignment. He trained clients who ranged from professional athletes to high school students to seniors and sought to help them reach their own health goals. He helped some people win competitions and others sustain the quality of their life. Whether friends or client, family or competitor, Larry consistently helped people who needed it.\n\n\n\nLarry and Donna spent 25 years traveling to Oro Valley, Arizona to visit Luella, who loved her visits with her children and their families. Luella was so content that she would often ask a rhetorical question to all her visitors, "Don't I live in such a wonderful place?" Larry and Donna loved cycling through the natural beauty of the desert and mountains so much during their visits to see Luella that they built their dream house and retired there in 2018. They continued their training, joined with family and friends for visits and dinner, and enjoyed watching shows almost every night. Larry and Donna traveled widely to see their grandchildren and had a tradition of taking them on a trip of their choice for their 10th birthday, but they loved returning home to Larry's "never never land" in Arizona. They were passionate about their friends and neighbors in the Stone Canyon community, but also grateful to stay connected to their friends from Tulsa. To everyone who visited Larry, he was obviously content in his final years. He exercised, landscaped, and would point to the Catalina Mountains and ask, "don't I live in a beautiful place?"\n\n\n\nThe morning of March 30th started like most days for Larry. His morning swim at Stone Canyon Club was to be the first of three workouts he planned for that day, but it turned out to be his last. Larry swam his last lap surrounded by the beautiful desert terrain he cherished. He was loved deeply by family and friends.\n\n\n\nHe is survived by his wife, Donna; his sisters, Nancy and Donna; their spouses Bob and Bill; his children, Holly, Daniel, April, Brandon, Natalie, and Lauren; their spouses, Mark, Kim, Chris, Rachel, and Chad; his grandchildren, Wesley, Harlan, Sloan, Estella, Eva, Piper, and Zoe. Larry's legend lives on in the stories and memories of those who loved him.