Former Greenville resident killed by drunken driver in Wyoming

By Mike Taylor • Last Updated 11:41 am on Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Former Greenville resident Larry Schofield, right, is pictured here with his siblings (left to right), Jim Schofield, Bruce Schofield, and Cindy Lilly. — Courtesy photo

GILLETTE, Wyo. — According to his sister, former Greenville resident Larry Schofield, 65, was a good man; a man who loved to hunt, spend time with his three grown children and assist others with his tow truck business. All that ended Nov. 19 when a he was killed along Interstate 90 in Wyoming by a driver police describe as “very intoxicated.”

Schofield was nearing retirement after working 37 years in Wyoming’s coal industry, sometimes as foreman, sometimes as a shovel operator. He had planned to operate the tow business with his grandson-in-law more or less full time following his retirement. It was while assisting a motorist that he was struck and killed.

“It’s just so senseless, so very senseless,” Schofield’s sister, Cindy Lilly, said. “My brother was such a giving man. He was so full of life.”

According to the Gillette News-Record, Schofield was helping a disabled van that had struck a deer near an on-ramp of South Douglas Highway. Several emergency vehicles were parked at the scene with their emergency lights flashing when Schofield was hit.

Justin L. Helsper, 28, the driver of the vehicle that hit Schofield, left the scene of the accident without stopping, but was later apprehended. He has been charged with aggravated vehicular homicide.

“We’ve had an outpouring of people calling and saying how sorry they are,” Lilly said. “It has been hard. We’re just devastated. I’ve never experienced anything like this. When someone is older and they pass away, you’re kind of prepared. But to be taken out like this … he was a father, a brother, a grandfather, a great-grandfather, a good friend … it’s just senseless.”

Schofield’s three grown children, Jim, Scott and Kelly, all currently reside in Wyoming.

In addition to Lilly, Schofield leaves behind three brothers, Jim Schofield, Leo Schofield and Bruce Schofield. Though they were separated by many miles, Schofield stayed close with his siblings through the years, Lilly said. This despite the fact he was very active in his work.

“He was very dedicated to his job,” Lilly said. “He never missed a day of work. He loved his work and toward the end there he had a lot of seniority. Also, he made a lot of good friends there.”

Making friends came easily to Schofield, a large man who in school was known to acquaintances as “The Jolly Giant.”

“He was just a very giving man,” Lilly said. “He’d give you the shirt off his back even if it meant he had to go without. If you needed money or a place to stay he had you covered. It’s all so unfair.”

The family is planning a memorial service in Wyoming sometime Monday. (616) 548-8273

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