Food Culinary 08

Laurence "Larry" P. Raymond

September 10, 1953 ~ May 28, 2021 (age 67)


Chef Larry Raymond, 67, of Tomahawk, Wisconsin, found peace after a long illness on Friday, May 28, 2021. 

Larry was born in Chicago, Illinois, on September 10, 1953, to Ellamae Long and Ray Galbraith. Larry was a proud graduate of Washburne Trade School’s Chef Training program which cemented his passion for foodservice. 

A tirelessly dedicated hospitality professional throughout the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, Larry had many proud accomplishments in his career including: apprenticeship and position as swing cook at the legendary Drake Hotel in Chicago; chef of the Zodiac Restaurant at Neiman-Marcus, Northbrook Court; chef for the employee cafeteria and the John Parker executive dining room at Sentry Insurance; general manager of foodservice SentryWorld in Stevens Point; lecturer in Foodservice Administration at UW-Stevens Point; completed a certification as a Foodservice Management Professional; nine years as general manager of the Wausau Club; 14-year member of the Wisconsin Restaurant Association served one term as president; recognized as one of WRA’s Outstanding Restaurateurs of the Year, Wisconsin River Valley Chapter, 1989 and 1998; Voted Best New Restaurant in Wisconsin, 1996, by Wisconsin Trails; and ultimately fulfilled his lifelong dream of opening his own restaurant, Larry Raymond’s at Greenwood Hills followed by Larry Raymond’s Tavern on the Square. 

Most notably, however, Larry was known for the creation of Sweet Baby Ray's Barbecue Sauce. In 1985, Larry and brother Dave took second place in the Mike Royko Ribfest in Chicago with Larry’s recipe, which launched their business and secured their place in the modern American culinary landscape. Sweet Baby Ray’s enjoys a 50% market share among retail barbecue sauces in the United States, with over 20 unique flavors available in more than 15 countries. With Sweet Baby Ray's, Larry defined the dominant flavor profile in the retail barbecue category, which continues to be widely loved and often imitated today. When he wasn’t cooking, Larry loved to fish, watch the Chicago Bears, play cards, and critique the local cuisine. His physical stature, larger-than-life personality, and loud voice made him an easily recognizable figure wherever he was, and Larry was well known, well liked, and well respected among friends, family, and colleagues alike. 

Survivors include ex-wife of 38 years Betty of Wausau; daughter Monica Toombs (Chris) and grandchildren Betsy and Murphy of San Diego, CA; son Larry “Duce” Raymond II (Sarah) and grandchildren Madeline, Emma, and Lauren of Itasca, IL; sister Paula Corey of Colorado, brother Dave Raymond (Cathy) of Illinois; brother Marc Raymond of Florida; brother Richard Raymond of Colorado, and nieces and nephews. 

For those in Wisconsin, a celebration of Larry’s life will be held on Tuesday, June 1, 2021, from 1:00–4:00pm, at the Hiawatha Restaurant and Lounge, 713 Grant Street, Wausau, WI. 

For those in Chicagoland, a celebration of Larry’s life will be held on Monday, June 7, 2021, from 1:00–4:00pm, at the BRIX on the Fox, 260 S Washington St, Carpentersville, IL. 

Expressions of sympathy may be made in whichever way you wish.

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