ARCOLA ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
Amazing ARCOLA, ILLINOIS

Distinguished Alumnus
Class of 2015
Larry Rollings
October 29, 1945 - September 19, 2011

AHS Class of 1963

Larry Burton Rollings, a 1963 graduate of Arcola High School, exemplified “a life that would be well-served as a model for all Arcola graduates”, says fellow AHS alum Jim Monahan. Larry was a respected member of the military, active member and supporter of the Arcola community, successful businessman, and beloved family man. Larry believed strongly in helping others, being loyal to his community, and making the world a bit brighter, one smile at a time.

Larry Rollings was born in Tuscola on October 29, 1945, to parents William and Thena Walden Rollings. Larry’s sister, Julie, was a 1974 AHS graduate. At AHS, Larry was an honor student and athlete all four years, a class officer, and very active in student clubs and organizations.

Larry knew he wanted to join his father in the insurance business, so after high school, Larry attended Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, earning a degree in risk management (1967). Larry was very active on campus in student groups, and in a band, “The Fratiers”. In 2006, Larry earned IWU’s Loyalty Award for his “unfaltering loyalty”. Larry served as secretary of the Alumni Association Executive Board, president of the Champaign region, and class chair for the Annual Fund.

While at IWU, Larry met Linda Wilson. In 1966 they married, and from then on she was his loving wife and business partner. Larry and Linda raised three daughters, Tiffany, Vanessa and Molly. All three daughters were successful scholars, student leaders, and athletes at Arcola High School. Two of his three daughters followed in Larry’s footsteps, graduating from Illinois Wesleyan University.

Upon graduation from IWU, Larry enlisted in the U.S. Navy, again like his father. From 1967 to 1971, Larry served overseas in Okinawa and Morocco as a communications specialist. In 1970, Larry was named the U.S. Navy’s “Enlisted Man of the Month” in Okinawa. His wife, Linda, traveled with him for much of his overseas assignment. Upon honorable discharge in 1971, Larry moved home to Arcola, hoping to make a difference in his community.

Larry’s lifelong goal was to help Arcola grow and prosper. When he returned in 1971, he purchased a partnership interest in Dimond Bros. Insurance Agency. In 1977, Larry received Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) designation. He worked in all areas of the Dimond Bros. office, including president of the agency. In 1985, Larry was elected president of the Illinois Independent Insurance Agents of Illinois. In 2000, Larry sold Dimond Bros., though he continued to work at the agency. In 2007, Larry was the first recipient of the Pinnacle of Success Award established by Dimond Bros. in Larry’s honor. Under his leadership, Dimond Bros. grew from one location to 17 locations across Illinois. While Larry was greatly respected professionally, he always downplayed his accomplishments, giving credit to his wonderful co-workers.

Larry was also a strong presence with the Arcola Fire Department for 29 years. His involvement began as a volunteer firefighter; but, during his 17 years as a volunteer, Larry realized the department needed guidance and increased funding to secure its future. In 1994, Larry led an effort to create the Arcola Fire Protection District. Larry was nominated to the AFPD’s first Board of Trustees, and was elected the first president of the AFPD, serving for 12 years. Larry also realized that Arcola needed to rebuild the aging west side fire station. In 2004, he began to plan and coordinate funding for the new building. In 2013, his vision was realized with a new building. A plaque hangs in the lobby commemorating Larry’s leadership in building the modern fire station, to provide life-saving services to the citizens of Arcola.

In the 1980s, Larry supported the creation of the fitness center at Arcola High School, for use by students and community. He not only worked out there most mornings, he also helped with equipment maintenance and repair. That community fitness center is still open today. Larry was also an avid supporter of the sports boosters program at AHS, with a particular interest in AHS’s girls sports, since all three of his daughters were Purple Riders. In 2005, AHS honored Larry with the “Friend of Education Award”.

Larry was also a leader in other Arcola and area organizations. He was a member of the Arcola Masonic Lodge, a member and president of the Arcola Chamber of Commerce, president of the Douglas County United Way, president of the Tri-County Business Development Corporation; and a lifelong member of the Arcola First Christian Church, where he was a Sunday School teacher, deacon and elder for decades.

Even after being diagnosed with Multiple System Atrophy, or MSA, (a rare form of Parkinson’s disease) in 2003, Larry continued to think of others. He worked closely with doctors at Northwestern University Hospital, participating in research and clinical trials, hoping to help find a cure for MSA, including donating his brain to science after his death in 2011. His family actively fundraises for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

Anyone who knew Larry knew a successful, kind, loving man. Larry was an example to his children, his three grandchildren, and to all of us of how to be a part of something bigger than yourself in good times and in tragedy.

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Last Revision November 11, 2017