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Chico State

Fond Farewell: Passing of Retired Mathematics Professor Larry Dion

Rose of Sharon shrub blooms outside of Kendall Hall
Jason Halley / University Photographer

Jason Halley, University Photographer

Retired Professor Larry Dion, who taught in the Mathematics Department for 35 years, passed away in July. He was 86.

Born November 9, 1935, in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Dion graduated from Central Catholic High School and went on to serve two years in the United States Army before attending Saint Norbert College in DePere, Wisconsin, and graduating with a degree in engineering. He completed graduate school at the University of Detroit and eventually settled in Chico, where he was hired at Chico State in 1963 to teach mathematics.

Dion is remembered as an outstanding teacher with an insatiable work ethic, inspiring both students and colleagues with his commitment inside and outside the classroom. Nancy J. Carter (Mathematics, ’74), an alumna and former faculty in the Mathematics Department, recalls his presence on campus as a constant source of support and approachability.

“I first met Larry in 1971 when I was a freshman at Chico State. He was my teacher for a tough calculus course that I wasn’t feeling very confident in, but Larry taught the course in a way that made it so understandable that I actually enjoyed it,” she said. “In 1982, I was hired by Chico State to be an assistant professor in the math department, and Larry became a beloved colleague, sharing teaching notes and examples with me, many of which I used for years.”

Dion’s teaching career ultimately spanned 44 years and five universities, and after his retirement in 1998, he continued to teach at Chico State as a retired annuitant until 2017. 

In addition to his joy for teaching and mathematics, Dion was known for his love of running—he was one of the founding members of the Chico Running Club and completed several marathons throughout his life, and he could often be found running in Bidwell Park with his students. In his retirement, Dion delighted in farming his 15 acres of almonds and walnuts, as well as a variety of fruit trees and vegetables. He was also an active member of Pleasant Valley Baptist Church and always looked forward to reconnecting with former students, acquaintances, and old friends around town.

Dion is survived by his sons David and Michael, ex-wife Maureen, and eight grandchildren. Services were held in July.

The University flag will be lowered Wednesday, August 3, in his memory.