Dryden community servant wore many hats over years

DRYDEN — Larry Rumley, a dedicated community servant for both the Village and Township of Dryden, died on Wednesday, May 27, at the age of 74.

Because of declining health, Rumley had recently moved with his wife, Bonnie, to be with one of their daughters in Tecumseh, Michigan.

Larry Rumley is pictured with some mushrooms he picked while walking along the Polly Ann Trail in Lapeer County.

Over the years, Rumley had served as Dryden Village President, along with stints on the Dryden Library Board, Dryden Chamber of Commerce, Dryden Historical Society, Utical DeMolay Masonic Lodge, and as a volunteer at Seven Ponds Nature Center. He also served in the U.S. Navy from 1963-1964.

Rumley was possibly best known for his strong advocacy of the Polly Ann Trail, and his leadership role with the Friends of the Polly Ann Trail organization.

David Howell, Chairman of Friends of the Polly Ann, offered his personal assessment of Rumley’s significant contributions to the organization and local community.

“We would have no Polly Ann Trail in Lapeer County if not for Larry Rumley,” Howell said. “His leadership and vision made him a convenient target for trail opponents, who subjected him to unwarranted personal attacks in the local press.

“He never wavered in his quest to build this trail,” Howell continued. “He was an inspiration to me and many others.

“My biggest regret is that he did not live to see his vision for a developed trail realized,” he said. “Larry will always be remembered for his contributions to the Polly Ann Trail and its developed future will be his legacy.”

Also praising Rumley was Dryden Township Supervisor, Tina Papineau, who spoke of his unbridled dedication to causes he felt were important.

“Larry was a very passionate person,” said Papineau, who worked with and was close friends with his wife, Bonnie Rumley. “When he got involved in something, he put his heart into it.

“I feel like I owe him something for all the things he did for Dryden,” Papineau continued. “I do think his biggest passion was for the Polly Ann Trail.

“He made many trips to Lansing and throughout the county to advocate for the trail,” she said. “He also assembled many work groups to get the bridges built along the trail.

“Larry was always a giver to our community,” Papineau added. “I have always had a lot of respect for both Larry and Bonnie, and for what they have given to Dryden.”

Larry and Bonnie Rumley have two daughters; Faith (Robert) MacLauchlan and Heather (Tom) Brooks.

They had four grandchildren, Ashley, Samantha, Kendall and Rachel, and one great-grandchild, Charlotte.

Family members said cremation has taken place and that a memorial will take place at a later date.

Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a beat reporter. He later served stints as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He enjoys music and plays drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area.