Cover photo for Larry Joe Elliff's Obituary
Larry Joe Elliff Profile Photo
1932 Larry 2024

Larry Joe Elliff

September 11, 1932 — February 8, 2024

Harlingen, Texas

Larry Joe Elliff was born on September 11, 1932 in Anderson, Missouri to William Luther and Eva Elliff.  He passed away peacefully at the age of 91 on February 8, 2024.  He moved to Harlingen, Texas at the age of 9 (1944) where his father started Elliff Motors. Larry attended Harlingen High School and the University of Texas in Austin.  After leaving UT, he moved home to work alongside his father in the car business, buying and selling used cars and trading for about anything you could think of.  Soon after moving home, he went on a blind date that his good friend Bill McMurray set him up on and fell in love with LaRue Wheelus from Santa Rosa.  She left to attend Baylor University and was there one week when he asked her dad if he could go get her and bring her home to marry.  Her father said that it was fine, provided he got him a refund, which he did.

In the years following, Larry began to grow the business in retail and wholesale of used cars and trucks.  He was a pioneer in the used car business and lived by the phrase “EVERYBODY DRIVES A USED CAR”.  The wholesale side of the business expanded into floor planning dealers in the Houston area as well as the Valley. He traveled to Houston weekly for some 30 plus years.  Several years ago, he was given a recognition for the highest traveler in and out of the valley on Southwest Airlines.

Larry was also an accomplished tennis player.  He began when he was at UT and played up until he has 88 years old.  He was ranked #1 in men’s doubles in the state with his partner Paul Boven for many years and also ranked in men’s singles for many years.  He absolutely loved tennis.  He loved the sport so much that he built his own tennis court in his backyard so that he could play anytime he wanted, so he said.  He really loved to see all his friends and “girlfriends” as he called them come play on his court.  He really enjoyed watching young up and comers to tennis and was always available for some encouragement.  He was instrumental in the development of the HEB Tennis Center when it opened.

Most importantly, Larry loved the Lord.  He gave his life to Christ as a young man, and he never wavered from his commitment.  He served at First Baptist and Calvary Baptist all his life singing in the choir and also singing solos.  He had a wonderful bass voice.  He was always early to church to work the “Hall Ministry” which was making sure that there was juice, coffee, and sometime doughnuts for those that wanted to visit in the hall before Sunday School.  His love for gospel music was endless.  He could listen for hours and just get lost in it.

He was known to many as “THE CHIEF”, and to his family as “POP”.  He had many friends and loved to visit whenever given the chance.  He was a “GIVER”.  He always wanted to make sure that if someone had a need, he would help.  Larry really loved his family and was most proud of his children.  He always wanted help at Eliff Motors do whatever he could to make the business successful.  He loved all the employees in the dealership.

Larry is survived by his wife of 69 years, LaRue; his children, Laura (Bill) Mathis, Joe (Rosalie) Elliff, Bill (Merrillee) Elliff; his grandchildren, Christopher (Ashlynn) Elliff, Collin (Jenny) Stewart, Tyler (Cooper) Elliff, Kaitlyn (Marshal) Hardin; his great-grandchildren, Marshal, Benjamin, Duke, Amelia, Rain, Walker, Mac, Oak, McCoy, Beau and one more Baby Elliff due any day.  He is also survived by his sister, Elaine Weed; and brothers-in-law, Gary Wheelus and Bob Weed.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Luther and Eva Elliff and his grandson, Jarryd Elliff.

The family would like to express our sincere gratitude to Larry’s caregivers, Mimi Garza, Rose Orozco, Maria Herrera, Isabel Mills and Frances Hernandez.  These ladies have been a God send to our family.  Also, our appreciation to Gentiva Hospice and our hospice nurse, Brian Smith, and to Dr. Pete Lazzapino for his willingness to take our calls anytime.

The Elliff family will receive friends and relatives on Tuesday, February 13, 2024 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Buck Ashcraft San Benito Funeral Home.    A memorial service will take place on Wednesday, February 14, 2024 at 11:00 a.m. at Calvary Baptist Church, 1815 N 7th St, Harlingen, TX 78550.

Memorials can be made to Young Life of the Rio Grande Valley, P.O. Box 533087, Harlingen, TX 78553.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Larry Joe Elliff, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Tuesday, February 13, 2024

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Buck Ashcraft San Benito Funeral Home

1400 West Business 77, San Benito, TX 78586

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Memorial Service

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

Calvary Baptist Church

, Harlingen, TX 78550

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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