Honoring the Life by Telling the Story

Laurence B. Compton, Jr "Larry"

September 18, 1945 - January 23, 2020
Milwaukee, WI


Celebration of Life

Sunday, February 9, 2020
6:00 PM to 7:00 PM CST
Next Act Theater
255 S. Water St.
Milwaukee, WI 53204

Family and friends will gather from 6 P.M. until Memorial at 7 P.M

Mass of Remembrance

Monday, February 10, 2020
10:00 AM CST
Old St. Mary's Church
844 N. Broadway
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Visitation from 9 AM until Mass at 10:00 A.M.


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Compton-Jacobsen Family Fund c/o Greater Milw. Foundation
101 W. Pleasant Street
Milwaukee, WI 53212
(414) 272-5805

Memorial Contributions are preferred in lieu of flowers


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

Belle Fiori
2014 N. Farwell Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414) 272-2234
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


Laurence B. Compton, Jr. (“Larry”)

Age 74 years. Larry passed away in the company of his wife and daughter on January 23, 2020. Loving husband to Mary Pat “Patty” (nee Coffey) for 35 years. Devoted father to Michael (DeAnne) Jacobsen, Stephanie Compton, and Adam (Allison) Compton. Proud grandfather of Audrey, Ava, Harrison, and Annabelle. Caring son of Ruth Ann Compton. Friend and brother to Kelly (Ted) Grems and Scott (Camilla) Compton. Preceded in death by his first wife, Janet (nee Korte), son, James Jacobsen, and father, Laurence B. Compton, Sr. Further survived by extended family, business colleagues and friends.

Larry was born September 18, 1945 in Jamestown, North Dakota. He grew up in an Air Force family and earned BA and MBA degrees from the University of Nebraska. He was an entrepreneur with a quick mind for distilling information and unparalleled abilities in strategic planning. He began his professional career at the Cornhusker and Trane companies in the heating and air conditioning business.

He partnered with Anderson-Roethle Consultants in Milwaukee and was instrumental in establishing a children’s book company. In time, he accepted an offer of partnership in that company, reorganized and renamed it “The Penworthy Company,” and ultimately became its president and sole owner. With expectations of excellence, a laissez-faire management style, and a unique ability to motivate others and “get things done”, Larry grew Penworthy to provide desirable jobs in Milwaukee’s Third Ward and nationwide through a field sales force.

Larry enjoyed his success within the Milwaukee business community and recognized and appreciated the opportunities afforded him. A consummate gentleman, Larry valued education, a strong work ethic and respected everyone. He had an astoundingly sharp mind, especially for business, a quick wit, and sense of humor. You could depend on Larry to deliver a superb joke.

Always generous and available to guide others, Larry was humble and avoided the spotlight himself. He was active in the civic and cultural life of the city, contributing both professionally and financially. Larry served on boards of the Historic Third Ward Association, Milwaukee Public Library Foundation, Friends of the Golda Meir Library, and Economics Wisconsin, where he shared his abilities in management and finance to influence those organizations’ success. He was an active supporter of the local performing arts, most notably the Next Act Theatre. Larry had a strong interest in architecture and an affinity for construction. It was his honor to be an advisor on the board of C.G. Schmidt for many years.

A Celebration of Life will be held on Sunday, February 9, 2020, at 6pm at the Next Act Theatre (255 S. Water St, Milwaukee). All are welcome to gather at 6pm for light refreshments. Memorial program begins at 7pm with reception to follow. A Mass of Christian burial is scheduled for Monday, February 10, 2020, at Old Saint Mary’s Church (844 N. Broadway, Milwaukee). Family will receive guests at the church from 9am until Mass begins at 10am.

Special thanks to the staffs of the Lutheran Home and Seasons Hospice for their gentle care, compassionate guidance, and support. Memorial gifts to Greater Milwaukee Foundation in support of the Compton/Jacobsen Family Fund (101 West Pleasant Street, Suite 210, Milwaukee, WI 53212). Private interment at Highland Memorial Park.

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