Larry Thomas Sasaki, age 71 passed away due to complications from heart surgery on September 1, 2022, in Great Falls, MT. He was an easy-going man with the patience and precision to haul the world's largest tractors across the country. Fueled by his parent's indefatigable work ethic, he would quietly do what was needed to be done without being told or even asked.
Though he wasn't fluent in the native language of his family's heritage and unfortunately was never able to fulfill his goal of visiting Japan to experience the traditions and culture. He took great pride in and tried to embrace, ikigai. While there is no direct translation to English, ikigai is a Japanese concept that combines the terms iki, meaning "alive" or "life," and gai, meaning "benefit" or "worth." At its most basic premise, it is your reason to live or purpose in life.
Larry's ikigai was maximizing time spent with a family that didn't adhere to typical standards of blood or marriage, which seemingly grew larger each year, and a collection of friends that stretched along the highways he traveled throughout the state of Montana and beyond.
Larry always had his camera ready to document campouts, celebrations, and all special occasions. He captured the smiles, the laughter, and all the good times. He possessed an appetite for great food. He took even greater pleasure in preparing food for others, reveling in their enjoyment. Traits he inherited from his mother.
He took great pride in winning the "Men Who Cook for Women Who Wine" competition multiple times, introducing folks to Japanese cuisine. Larry and his partner, Linda Hoover, were supporters of all Havre athletics. He especially enjoyed preparing and sharing tailgate food at the MSU-Northern football games.
Larry and his son, Matt, would pull his massive barbecue attached to a flatbed trailer and spend hours preparing steak meals for people. They would take no compensation for their work beyond a cold adult beverage. The reward was seeing others enjoy their food.
Raised on a farm east of Havre and following the precedent set by his father's work ethic Larry spent years working for Big Bud Inc, Meissner Tractor and Torgerson's. The early farm life remained embedded in his personality. He loved vegetable gardening, starting from seedlings. The products of his garden were given to family and friends.
Larry loved to go hunting on the property owned by the Davey family. He enjoyed taking others and seeing them come home with a trophy deer or antelope. He achieved his goal of drawing a bull elk tag in the Bear Paw Mountains, coming home with a 6x7 bull elk. Larry was an active member of the Havre Pistol and Rifle Club and the Havre Trap Club, taking great pride that his daughter, Emi, and son, Matt, were more accomplished shooters than he was.
He was a member of the MSU-Northern Rodeo Booster Club, the VFW, and the Elks Club.
Born in Havre on September 26, 1950, he graduated from Havre High with the class of 1969. Larry served in the United States Air Force from 1970-1974.
Larry is preceded in death by his parents Satoru "Lefty" Sasaki, and Emi Sasaki Colier. Survived by his partner, Linda Hoover, and daughters Emi Smith (Tyler), Laura Sasaki, and Kelli Cox (Nate). Sons, Lawrence Sasaki (Tiffany), Matthew Sasaki (Cindy), and Kevin Hoover (Joelee), sisters Patsy Divish (Ed), Jean Winchell (Mike), and Margie Thompson (Ron). Nieces and Nephews Ryan Divish, Marcie (Justin)Kessel, Jessy (John)Schroeder, Michael Winchell and Brandy Winchell, Bill (Laura)Thompson, Jim (Crystal)Thompson, along with nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
A celebration of life was held on September 9, 2022, at the Hill County 4-H Chuckwagon Building at the Great Northern Fairgrounds.
Memorial contributions may be sent to the Havre Rifle and Pistol Club, MSU Northern Rodeo Booster Club, Hill County 4-H Foundation, or the charity of the donor's choice.