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Larry J. Quale spread Christmas cheer to passersby

Larry J. Quale, third from left, poses for a photograph that ran with a story about the spruce tree in front of his house being re-lit for the 2011 Christmas season. With him, from left, are his daughter Suzie Dettman and granddaughter Madelyn, his wife Karlene, and neighbors Laura and Roger Davis. Laura Davis organized the effort. Photo by Randy Hanson1 / 2
Larry Quale oversees the re-stringing of Christmas lights in front of his North Hudson home last December. Submitted photo2 / 2

The man who lighted North Hudson's tallest Christmas tree has died.

Larry J. Quale passed away at a specialized care facility in Oak Park Heights, Minn., on May 23 after a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 66 years old.

Quale is remembered by family members as a knowledgeable, hard-working, quiet and caring protector.

He left his mark on the community by lighting up a spruce tree in front of his house on Wisconsin Street No. each Christmas season for about 25 years. The lights of the tall spruce were visible to motorists passing through the village on Hwy. 35.

The lights were dim for a couple of Christmases when Quale, weakened by chemotherapy treatments, was no longer able to keep them in working condition.

Then last Christmas, a group of neighbors, past neighbors and friends came together to re-light the 55-foot tree.

"It was a wonderful day," Quale's wife, Karlene, recalled shortly the event. "It was truly a sign of Christmas spirit.

Quale transplanted the tree from his parents' lawn on Lemon Street No. in the mid-1980s when it was about 15 feet tall. He started putting Christmas lights on the tree a couple of years later.

Quale moved to North Hudson with his parents when he was a high school freshman and lived there the rest of his life.

He graduated from Hudson High School in 1963, served in the Army Reserves for six years, and married Karlene in 1971. He was a millwright for 3M Co. for 31 years, retiring last December.

"He was thorough in his work, self-sufficient and knowledgeable with everything mechanical," his obituary says. "There was never a need to call a repair person, as there was nothing broken that Larry couldn't fix."

He is survived by three children and nine grandchildren, in addition to his wife.

Quale's funeral was Tuesday, May 29 at St. Patrick Catholic Church. He was buried in the church cemetery.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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