Larry Curtis Heinemann

January 18, 1944 – December 11, 2019

On Wednesday, December 11, 2019, Larry Curtis Heinemann, loving father, partner and U.S. National Book Award author, passed away at the age of 75. Mr. Heinemann succumbed to death after a long struggle with obstructive pulmonary disease.

Mr. Heinemann was born in Chicago, Illinois, on January 18, 1944. He received a B.A. from Columbia College Chicago in 1971 after serving a combat tour with the 25th Infantry Division in the Vietnam War. Larry, who described himself as “the most ordinary of soldiers,” was a conscripted draftee and served in 1967 and 1968.

Larry’s passion for writing resulted in literature fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. He received a Fulbright Scholarship to research Vietnamese folklore, legends, and mythology at Huế University. His published works—three novels and a memoir— were drawn, primarily, on his Vietnam experience. Larry’s prose style is blunt and straightforward, reflecting his working-class background.

In 1987, Larry received the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction for his second novel, “Paco’s Story,” an honor he cherished. He also very much enjoyed his life as a teacher. He lectured, and taught at writers workshops, universities, and veterans gatherings in Vietnam, England, China, and the Soviet Union. He taught on the faculty of the University of Southern California in the Masters of Professional Writing Program and in Texas A&M University’s Writer in Residence program until his retirement in 2015. He loved encouraging aspiring students, whose work he admired, to become published writers. Larry was a charming, wonderful storyteller and had a wealth of experiences and wisdom to impart. He will be missed.

Larry is survived by his partner, Kathy Favor, of Bryan, Texas, his daughter and son-in-law, Sarah Heinemann and Ted MacLeod, and granddaughter, Clementine of Brooklyn, New York, and his son, Preston of Chicago, Illinois.

A memorial service for Larry is planned to take place in Chicago next summer. The family suggests sending memorial contributions to Hospice Brazos Valley.

Arrangements are in the care of Callaway-Jones Funeral and Cremation Centers, Bryan-College Station.

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  1. Kat, Sarah and Preston,
    We want to express our deepest sympathy in the loss of Uncle Larry, and will keep the family In our thoughts and prayers. If you need anything, please let us know. Always David and Melinda
    Waterville, Maine

  2. I was struck dumb when I tried to send fan mail to Larry Heinemann today and learned he was dead. I felt a shockwave. I yelled NO!! I have never EVER in 66 yrs of voracious reading ever sent a fan letter. I just finished reading all of his Viet Nam era novels. Out of maybe 150 books concerning this war that I’ve read. I hate to use the word ‘resonate’ but only it fits. The pictures, smells, sounds and the weapons, the rustle of the grass..truly make me understand the war my husband fought. My deepest sympathy to the entire family.

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