June 5 1952 November 4 2022
Obituary Please share a memory of Larry to include in a keepsake book for family and friends. View Tribute Book Larry Mahre, of Graton, was a competitive athlete, a youth coach and mentor, a military veteran and an engaged community member who believed he found a line of work ideally suited to his passions and proclivities. Mahre, who died Nov. 4 at age 70, was for 30 years an officer with the Santa Rosa Police Department. Versatile and eager for new skills and experiences, he poured himself into each successive assignment — none more so than his last one. Mahre served his final six years — 1997 to 2003 — as the campus resource officer at the city’s most diverse high school, Elsie Allen High. Any number of observers said the way he connected with, assisted and earned the trust of students was something to behold. “He’s just a gem,” then-Principal Mary Gail Stablein said at the time. “Kids know they can count on him to listen to them.” Upon retiring from the SRPD in ’03, Mahre did something extraordinary. He returned to Elsie Allen High and went to work as defensive coordinator of the junior-varsity football team. Over the next decade, he took on new duties as the JV coach, then varsity coach and athletic director. And he did a great deal more than that. Often in partnership with the school’s extraordinarily involved and influential head custodian, Raphael Sanabria, Mahre sought out students in great need or crisis, and he quietly did what he could to help. That might mean buying them shoes or food, or finding them a place to sleep. Lawyer-turned-educator Brien Farrell had the unique experience of working with Mahre both as Santa Rosa’s city attorney and then as an Elsie Allen High teacher and campus leader. Farrell said that when Mahre became aware of a student who needed help, “He didn’t take it to the district office or form a committee — Larry himself took care of the situation.” “He knew the challenges the kids faced,” Farrell said. “He was fully committed to that school and its students. He gave more than he received.” Former Elsie Allen custodian Sanabria, who’s now custodial manager of Santa Rosa City Schools, said of Mahre, “This guy was amazing.” Sanabria recalled watching Mahre sign over his paycheck to the sports program at Elsie Allen, and the two of them going to supermarkets at night to shop for the families of students who were going hungry. “He cared — a lot,” Sanabria said. “He often sacrificed his family time to spend time with his Elsie Allen family.” Mahre said in a 2009 interview with The Press Democrat that he greatly valued the opportunity to “make a difference, even in a couple of the kids’ lives.” Larry Wayne Mahre was born in San Jose in 1952 and grew up in Sunnyvale and Milpitas. Following graduation from high school in 1970, he studied at San Jose City College, then joined the military as a reservist with the California Army National Guard. His parents, Robert and Ann Mahre, moved from the South Bay to Santa Rosa in 1972. Two years later, Ann Mahre told Larry she’d learned that the city’s new police chief, Sal Rosano, was looking to build up the long understaffed department. Larry Mahre applied and, along with about 20 others, was hired by Rosano. Said Rosano, “He proved to be one of the officers who brought that department into the 20th century, and then some. Every assignment we gave him, he jumped into with both feet.” Mahre would reveal in a 2009 interview with The Press Democrat that he thrived as an undercover narcotics officer. He came to love the relationships he formed while walking the downtown beat, and he valued what he learned and was able to accomplish as a violent-crimes detective. Mahre and many of his fellow Santa Rosa Police employees attended a Christmas party at the former Highland House restaurant in 1982. As Mahre left it, he was falling in love. “We were crazy about each other,” said the policeman’s future wife, the former Erin O’Reilly. They married in Santa Rosa the following year. Erin Mahre came to know that her husband savored being a police officer, but he was deeply affected by what he witnessed upon responding to violent crimes, especially ones committed against children. On the other hand, he couldn’t get enough of going undercover and busting suspected drug dealers. “He was never afraid, he loved the adrenaline rush,” Erin said. Larry Mahre for decades looked to physical activity for relief from the stress of police work. On his own time, he played softball, basketball, and football on SRPD teams, he water skied, fished and he coached Little League and El Molino High School baseball. He’d been a police officer for nearly 25 years when Chief Rosano moved to place uniformed, armed officers on middle school and high school campuses. There was resistance to the idea, and resistance continues today Mahre volunteered to become a resource officer at Cook Middle School and Elsie Allen High. Said former SRPD Commander Steve Thomas, who was key to the creation of the program, “One of the best decisions I ever made was giving Larry that job. “He was perfect for it. He connected with the kids, no matter what their circumstances or culture.” Scott Swanson, a former SRPD deputy chief who worked most of his career with Mahre, said it’s not unusual for an officer nearing the end of his or her career to slow down a bit, perhaps become embittered. “That was the opposite of what I observed with Larry,” Swanson said. “He took to that (the resource officer position) with 110 percent of his energies. He deserves so much credit for what he did at that school.” Mahre said in the 2009 interview with the Press Democrat that his work at Elsie Allen allowed him to demonstrate to students that police officers are human. If one day a teen is stopped by a patrol car, he said, “It’s not just a blue suit pulling them over, it’s a person.” In addition to his work at Elsie Allen, Mahre also co-founded a career paths program for students potentially interested in careers as first responders. Mahre was 61 when he retired from the high school in 2013. He was fishing, treating friends and family to his barbecue mastery and enjoying time with his children and grandchildren when, six years ago, he first showed signs of heart trouble. His health declined sharply this past spring, when he was diagnosed with kidney failure. He was being treated for pneumonia when he died Nov. 4 at Providence Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. In addition to his wife in Graton, he is survived by son Sean Mahre of Sebastopol; daughter Kelly Mahre O’Reilly, of Corpus Christi, Texas; sisters Mary Mahre Seefeldt, of Santa Rosa and Carla Mahre of Tallahassee, Florida; brother Mark Mahre, of Santa Rosa; five grandchildren; son-in-law Kyle O’Reilly; and daughter-in-law Katie Mahre. Services are at 1 p.m. on Nov. 19 at St. Mark Lutheran Church, 4325 Mayette Ave. A reception will follow at the Bennett Valley Golf Course. To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Larry, please visit our floral store. Read more
Our most sincere sympathies to the family and friends of Larry Wayne Mahre June 5 1952 November 4 2022.
Death notice for the town of: Dayton, state: Ohio