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Hon. Larry L. Ambler

March 25, 1946 ~ February 14, 2018 (age 71)
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Magistrate Larry L. Ambler passed away unexpectedly in his home the morning of February 14. 2018.

Larry was born on the Westside of South Bend to Lottie Ann Ambler (Pendzinski). Growing up, Larry was an active member of the Boy Scouts and often referred to his trip to the National Jamboree of 1960 in Colorado Springs when his mother put him on a train, hopped in the car with her best friend Barb, and surprised him in Chicago at the first train stop. Larry went on to St. Joseph’s High School where he acted as VP of his Junior class and King of the Mardi Gras Ball Court.  As a teenager, Larry worked as a Lifeguard, claiming to hold a record for holding his breath, which he would prove to his family on an annual basis, well in to his seventies. Larry graduated from the University of Dayton in 1968.  While at Dayton, he was a member of Alpha Kappa Psi.  Recently, Larry returned to UD annually with his fellow fraternity brothers to cheer on Flyer Basketball and raise money for his fraternity’s scholarship fund.  Larry was anticipating his induction into the Golden Flyers Club this Spring. Larry married Janet Murphy, mother of his 3 daughters, in 1969. He graduated from Notre Dame Law School in 1971, opening his private practice and career-long involvement in public service and dedication to serving his community. Larry served as the City of South Bend’s first Code Enforcement Hearing Officer.  He also served as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney under Michael P. Barnes and was a Legal Advisor to the Saint Joseph County Police Department under Sheriffs William P. Richardson and Joseph F. Nagy.  Additionally, Larry served as Assistant St. Joseph County Attorney under County Attorney Anthony M. Zappia and as St. Joseph County Council Attorney from 1999-2004. Larry ran for Councilman at Large in 1975 and Probate Court Judge in 1982. As a private practice attorney, Larry worked alongside his associates Allen, Fedder, Herendeen, Kowals, McTigue and Lenyo. In 1993 Larry was awarded Man of the Year by the Achievement Forum of South Bend Charities where he had served terms as president, secretary and board member. In 2005, Larry was appointed St. Joseph County Circuit Court Magistrate Judge. Larry often shared his witty quips from the bench with his family and in an article on Valentine’s Day in 2011, was referred to as “The Love Judge” in a story by the SB Tribune describing how much he enjoyed officiating weddings -- Valentine’s Day being one of his busiest days of the year. Larry was also a member of M.R. Falcons where he had served as president, secretary and board member, played the best Santa for multiple years and in January of 2018 received their highest honor – the Gold Legion of Honor. Larry was also a member of Corpus Christi Parish where he had served as school board president and secretary, lector, usher and legal counsel.  Larry was a devoted Chicago Cubs and Notre Dame football fan, an extensive list maker, and owner of no less than 9 crockpots at a time. Larry married his best friend, Joni J. (Torbenson) Ambler on August 31, 2007. They built a life together full of love and laughter and shared an incredible 10 and a half years together. Often referred to as “Big Lar” by generations of friends of his daughters and sons-in-law, it was not a comment on his stature, but a measurement of his level of care, love, fairness and fun that he had for them and they for him.  Larry Ambler truly was the “Leader of the Pack.”  

Survived by his wife Joni (Torbenson) Ambler, his three daughters Laura (Dan) O’Sullivan, Erin (Troy) Warner, Sarah (Steve) Priebe, son Eric Kulcsar (Amber), and four grandchildren Addison, Casey, Lillie, and Norah, and half-brothers Robert "Clyde" Ambler and Arlen Ambler. He was preceded in death by his mother Lottie Ann in 2002.

Visitation will be from 2:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. Sunday, February 18, 2018 at Kaniewski Funeral Home, South Bend, IN, where a Parish Rosary will be prayed at 3:00 p.m., followed by a Legion of Honor Service.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 a.m. Monday, February 19, 2018 at Corpus Christi Catholic Church, with Rev. Daryl Rybicki officiating.  Entombment will follow in Highland Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to: St. Joseph High School Scholarship Endowment Fund, 453 N. Notre Dame Ave., South Bend, IN  46617.

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