February 17, 1949 - January 28, 2012
Larry Englebretson, 62, passed away peacefully on January 28, 2012, in Houston, Texas surrounded by his family. He was born on February 17, 1949, in Shawnee, Oklahoma to Sidney and Christeen Englebretson. Larry and his family moved to Dallas, Texas. He started singing at an early age in the children’s choir at Grace Lutheran School in Dallas and this launched his lifelong love of singing. He later attended Sarah Zumwalt Middle School (where he is most notably remembered for blowing up the science lab) and South Oak Cliff High School, where he graduated in 1967. Larry was a very gifted student and he earned a full scholarship to attend Rice University in Houston.
After completing his studies and graduating from Rice, Larry stayed in Houston and had a successful career at Gulf Oil (later Chevron) as a computer programmer. He retired from Chevron after 25 years of dedicated service so he could devote more time to his two lifelong passions, chess and music. Having established Houston as his home away from home, he decided to stay there to pursue his chess and singing careers.
Larry learned to play chess as a young child and excelled at the game. Besides his love of playing chess, he was just as passionate when teaching and coaching other players, especially the younger ones. In his long and distinguished chess career, he attained the prestigious title of Life Master years ago and recently earned the high honor to be the United States Chess Federation’s representative to the 21st World Senior Class Championship in 2011. He owned the Houston Chess Club for many years and was one of the first chess instructors in the Houston area. His love of teaching extended to being a chess coach for two local schools’ chess clubs, namely T. H. Rogers and The Village School, where he was affectionately known as “Coach Larry”. Due in large part to his teaching and coaching at these schools over many years, T. H. Rogers and The Village School chess teams have achieved recognition and numerous awards at both the state and national levels in scholastic chess.
His other passion, singing, led him to become a longstanding member of the Houston Songwriters Association. He was a renowned and respected singer and songwriter in the Houston area and was a weekly participant in Open Mic at the JP Hops House in Houston. Many of his performances can be viewed on YouTube.
Larry was preceded in death by his parents, Sidney and Christeen, and by his brother. He is survived by his sister, Lennis of Dallas; niece, Tina Duncan (Parry) of Mesquite; niece, Tamara Stephney of Glenn Heights; two great-nieces, Tiara Duncan and Reina Brown; four great-nephews, William and Nicolas Duncan, Donavan Stephney and Caleb Brown; and an extended family. Larry also leaves behind his large and beloved Houston chess and music community families. He will be missed by all who knew him; for his great sense of humor, his humility, his gentleness, his intelligence, his selfless giving and most of all, for his genuine love of his family, friends, and students.
A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, February 11, 2012, at 2:00 p.m. at T. H. Rogers School, 5840 San Felipe Street, Houston, Texas 77057, with a reception following the service.