MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Everybody’s got their thing, right? That holds true for a retired Minneapolis coach and teacher who has hobby that is just plain goofy — literally.

Larry Lamparske has quite a story.

He played football in the Canadian Football League. And then he became a coach and teacher in Minneapolis. He even taught Prince in one of his physical education classes.

“Very talented guy. Very intelligent. Great athlete. Great basketball player,” Larry said.

So it’s kind of fun to see someone as competitive as Larry was, turn his interests towards something so goofy.

Larry never imagined he’s one day be sitting down and talking about his Goofy collection. Nor did he think he’d have over a thousand collectibles of the Disney dog.

It all started 23 years ago when Larry’s wife Sue made an impulse buy while shopping.

“I went up to this and I looked at it and I’m like, ‘I have to buy this,’” Sue Lamparske said.

“I said ‘what is this?’ She said, ‘it’s Goofy and it reminded me of you for some reason,’” said Larry.

But what started as a joke quickly turned into a treasure hunt.

Sue and Larry say the best part is the hunt. And it’s a challenge, because finding vintage Goofy collectibles isn’t as easy as finding Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. Plus, the Lamparske’s don’t use the Internet when they hunt.

“I can see something, no matter how small it is, and I know if I have it or not,” said Larry.

From the license plates to the wind chimes to the telephones, their Goofy lamps, watches, tea pots, and wind-up toys have come from all over the world. Some are nearly 90 years old.

Larry even has his own Goof Troop helping with his wild Goof chases. Friends will come across a collectible while on vacation and buy it for Larry, though most of them now call him by his nickname.

“I haven’t heard my first name in over 10-15 years. They call me ‘Goofy’ now,” Larry said. “This is all friends of mine that have come from out of town, out of country, garage sales, rummage sales, toy sales at the State Fair.”

But there’s a lot of meaning behind this unusual collection. Larry’s daughter made him a Goofy sign when he beat colon cancer years ago. And Sue will agree that their marriage is even stronger since the cartoon dog entered their lives. After all, Goofy is on the checks they stamp.

And the matching shoulder tattoos made their hobby pretty official. Larry actually has five Goofy tattoos.

“It’s always a good time. Especially when we go out and they are looking at his arms,” said Sue.

Just a little bit. When you see the hidden treasures around the Lamparske home, the only word that comes to mind, is Gawrsh.

“It makes us laugh. We laugh. Health, happiness and heaven, those are the three words we love. We get a kick out of that, that’s for sure,” said Sue.

“Don’t sit around. The worst thing you can do when you retire is sit around. Find something to do, as goofy as it might be, and just go for it,” said Larry.

If you have any collectibles and want to send them Larry’s way, you can call him at 612-722-1810.

John Lauritsen


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