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Larry Joseph Kist

Larry Joseph Kist was born Dec. 1, 1941, in Lexington, to Gerald and Doris (nee Finch) Kist. He grew up and attended school in Hardin.

Larry attended Central Missouri State College, now the University of Central Missouri, where he played football. After graduation, he attended pharmacy school at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Larry was drafted into the Army at the age of 25, where he served in Germany.

After the army, Larry worked for the American Cancer Society and the Kidney Foundation, where he found a passion that would drive the rest of his career.

Larry shared a vision with a group of medical professionals and together, in 1973, they founded the Midwest Organ Bank. It was one of the first organ procurement organizations in the country and later became the Midwest Transplant Network. He was its chief executive officer and led the organization from its infancy in 1973 until 1997.

Larry traveled the nation, educating the public and lobbying state and federal governments to break down barriers to donation. He continued to work for the organization until his retirement in 2006. His leadership and dedication in those early years created a solid foundation for the Midwest Transplant Network. Because of his creative and supportive leadership, the network is well-known as a successful, outstanding community-based organization.

Many lives in our community were improved because of his efforts and focus on the mission of the Transplant Network. He was a kind person, cared deeply about, and wanted nothing but the best for the people he worked with and the people the transplant network served. He was highly respected and appreciated by those that he mentored over the years. He will be deeply missed, but his memory will live on. 

Larry’s passion for his work was matched by his love for horses. Larry was a member of the American Quarter Horse Association for over 30 years. He bred and raced quarter horses, a business that was both rewarding and frustrating at times. In 2004, after building a new farm in Polo, he brought the horse program home. He enjoyed training new foals and loved the excitement of watching them race.  Larry made many lifelong friends in the horse business.

He is survived by his wife Michele; a sister, Jackie Butch; two stepdaughters, Melinda (Michael) Orskog and Barbara (Heath) Lavelock; two nephews, Jim Fisher and Toby (Angelique) Witherspoon; his cousin, Randy (Vickie) Kist; and two grandchildren, Lillian and Owen Orskog.

Larry was proceeded in death by his parents, Gerald and Doris; his brother, Darrell; and his daughter, Dana. 

In lieu of flowers, donations are suggested to the Midwest Transplant Network, 1900 West 47th Place, Suite 400, Westwood, KS 66205.

Memorial services will be at 11 a.m., Friday, Feb. 8, 2019, at Thurman Funeral Home in Richmond.  Visitation will be one hour prior to services at the funeral home.  Military honors will be provided by the United States Army and Ray County Veterans. 

Inurnment will be at a later date in Richmond Memory Gardens.  Online condolences may be left at www.thurmanfuneralhome.com.

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