Dr. Larry Vardiman, PhD, (1943-Present)  - Career in Science

Illinois, Texas, Missouri, Colorado, California, Washington




Atmospheric Scientist (Paleoclimatologist)

State: Illinois, Texas, Missouri, Colorado, California, Washington

# of Children: 4

See narrative below:


Larry born 13 January 1943 Litchfield, IL

Litchfield, Illinois
Father's Veterinary Practice


House in town
123 East Union Avenue Litchfield, Illinois

Larry in a pram and his first Teddy Bear

History of the Teddy Bear

Phil & Larry in Litchfield, Illinois

Louise & Larry in Litchfield, Illinois



Larry in front of house outside town off Route 66

Larry and sister Billie in front of Litchfield house

Litchfield, Illinois (1942 - 1949)

Phil and Louise decided to go into practice and moved to Litchfield, Illinois in 1942.  Phil was in his own veterinary practice for about nine to ten years.  "That was one of the best things we ever did." (Louise Carter Vardiman Robinson, 21 April 1997)  The family moved out of town to a small country house where Phil Vardiman had his private practice.

The Vardiman family of five lived in a relatively small house off highway 66.  They had a big yard with a cherry tree.  There was also a storm cellar for storing roots from the garden and to escape into when a tornado came.  Phil Vardiman had a large building in the back for his veterinary practice with tables and cages.  Litchfield was in a large milk producing area and much of the milk was shipped to St. Louis and Chicago.  Phil and Louise liked to go fishing at the Lake of the Ozarks.

Phil and Louise had a total of eight children, six of which survived.  They ended up with three boys and three girls. 

Moved to Marfa, TX

Lab in Marfa, TX

Father - Phil at the lab

Larry & Billie in front of House in Marfa, TX

Family of 5: Phil, Louise, Larry, Billie, Steven

Cowboy Larry in Marfa, TX

Marfa, Texas (West Texas) (1949 - 1952)

Phil’s health was continuing to fail and the doctor said they needed to get to a warmer climate so they moved to Marfa, Texas in 1949 when Phil was 34 years old.  So Phil decided to work on his masters at Texas A&M.  He bought a hay wagon and loaded it with all the families possessions and hauled it behind their old willie station wagon for the 1500 plus mile trip from Litchfield, Illinois to West Texas. 

Phil got a job at an experimental station in Marfa, Texas while he was going to school for his masters in veterinary science at Texas A&M.  The experimental station was on an old airport.  There was a circular drive with a group of buildings, an old barn, an office which was used for the experimental station and two houses.  One house was for the Vardiman family and the other house was for Phil's assistant.

Hundreds of cattle were dying at that time and autopsy's revealed extremely hard, yellow livers. Phil did research to diagnose the problem.  He began to identify all the poisonous plants the cattle were eating out on the range as the source of the problem.  To help educate the ranchers on what the poisonous plants looked like, Phil built "Poison Hill" as he called it in a garden area in the middle of the circular drive which was about  50 feet in diameter.  He brought in dirt and built a little hill then planted all the different types of poisonous plants that he had identified in West Texas. When ranchers came over Phil would take them out to Poison Hill and show them what the plants looked like so they could better protect their Herfer and Long Horn cattle. Phil mixed up a concoction of poisonous plants and fed it to some cattle a little at a time so they eventually were inoculated so that if the cattle ate the poisonous plants on the range they wouldn't die. Phil did his master thesis on his research on the poisonous plants in West Texas.

Moved to St. Louis, MO

St. Louis Christmas 1954

St. Louis Christmas 1954

St. Louis, Missouri (1952 - 1956)

In 1952 they moved the family to St. Louis, Missouri where Phil worked for Ralston Purina as a large animal veterinarian.  On their way to Missouri Louise went into labor and had to be dropped off at a hospital in Hays, Kansas where their fifth child was born.  While in St. Louis their last child was born, David.

Phil and Louise purchased a fantastic, beautiful house in St. Louis on Dale Avenue in Richmond Heights.  It was about one block from St. Lukes Catholic church.  They lived in that house for about three to four years. 

It was four stories including the attic and basement.  Larry has very vivid memories of the house.  It had a front porch with a big beautiful glass door with beveled edges.  Inside the door was an entranceway and to the right was a settee and a place to hang hats.  On the right beyond that was a stairway leading to the second floor.  Left of the entrance way was a sitting room with sliding mahogany doors that opened and closed like going into a drawing room.  The ceilings on both floors were 14 feet tall with very fancy wall boards on the floor and ceiling.  In the drawing room to the left was a beautiful ornate working fireplace with white enameled columns.  It had a metal cover to keep out the draft when you weren't using it.  There were also big old casement windows around the room.  Beyond that was a dining room that also had big sliding doors between the rooms to petition them off.  The dining room also had a fireplace on one end and big windows.  Off to the right of the dining room was the kitchen or you could get to the kitchen from the front door by going straight down the hallway.  It was a gigantic farm kitchen with a cupboard off to the side and white cabinets.  There was a big screened in porch in the back.

The second floor had four bedrooms and one bathroom.  The front room was a children's room that looked out onto the street where you could see traffic and buses going by.  There was a wooden window seat that lifted up for storage.  In the back was another children's room which Mom and Dad painted the walls black so the kids could write on the walls with chalk.  The other front bedroom had a fireplace as it was above the drawing room.  The back bedroom on that side had fancy cabinets and closets.  The bathroom had a big tub with a shower.  The porcelain sink was from the 1930's or 1940's and had a column as the base. 

There was a very narrow stairway with only one lightbulb from the second to third floor.  It was kind of creepy to go up the stairs but once you were in the attic it was bright with lights and windows in the front and back.  The attic had sloping ceilings and was one big room.  There was storage up there but still plenty of room to ride a tricycle around on rainy days.

The basement had a coal furnace with pipes running along the ceiling that you had to duck under at times.  There was a coal room and the floor was uneven.  There was also a back door that led outside from the basement.

"Dad often changed the houses we lived in.  Our family joked how we always lived in sawdust." (Larry Vardiman, Glimpses of My Childhood, tape #1B)  Phil didn't like eating in the dining room so he cut a hole in the wall between the kitchen and dining room about a foot high and made a table/bar situation.  Half the family would sit in the kitchen and the other half in the dining room to eat but couldn't quit see each other.  Dad did a similar thing in another house in Pacific, Missouri with a pull down table on a pulley arrangement.

Phil did the carpenter type changes in the house and Louise did more of the painting and papering on the inside.  She wanted the house to look sophisticated and wanted a patriotic theme in the front hallway.  She had Larry, who was in his upper grade school years, fifth-seventh grade, paint the ceiling light blue and use a roller with a star pattern to roll on top.  Then they painted the walls burgundy or dark red with blue stripes running vertically up the walls. We "ended up with a front hall that was very unique with a patriotic theme with stars and stripes and red, white and blue." (Larry Vardiman, Memories of My Childhood, tape #2A)

While in St. Louis, Phil worked for Ralston Purina Company.  He worked downtown at the veterinary center before going to the Ralston Purina farm full time.  He did research projects with cattle.  He got an idea from a Swedish man to operate on a cow and cut a hole in the side of the cow and into the stomach and install a pipe with a plug in it.  He could insert feed into the stomach and see how long it would take to digest food. 

"I remember occasionally helping dad when I was out on the farm when he would remove the plug from that cow.  Unfortunately the cow had built up a bit of steam from the digestion and when he would remove the plug it would squirt all kinds of nasty fluid out of the cow as well as all the gases and stinch that came with it.  Anyway that was quite an experience." (Larry Vardiman, Glimpses of My Childhood tape #1B)

Phil also drove out to the Ralston Purina farm for buckets of raw, non-pasteurized milk on Saturdays.  He would take three gallon buckets and put wax paper with a lid on top.  Some milk still spilled so the car always had a spoiled milk smell.

Moved to Columbia, IL
Phil & Louise

John Deere Model A Tractor

International Harvester Farmall H


Columbia Illinois, (1956 - 1959)

They got tired of living in the city and decided to move out to a rustic farm in Columbia, Illinois in 1956 where Phil did a lot of fixing up of the place. The farm was on 102 acres of land.  Fifty of the acres were full of trees and sinkholes and had a creek running through it.  It wasn't possible to farm that area but it was great for rabbit hunting.  The other 50 acres were tillable and Phil and Larry put in hay and corn.  Since Phil was still working full time at Ralston Purina Larry did most of the farming.  He learned a lot about repairing farm tractors and equipment.  "It was a real neat experience.  Probably one of the formative experiences of my life to be able to work on a farm like that and to learn how to do things that you just wouldn't get if you were a city kid." (Larry Vardiman, Glimpses of My Childhood tape #1B)

                The land and two story barn were o.k. but the house was in pretty bad shape.  It was a 150 year old log cabin that someone had put electric wiring in it that ran along the ceiling and down to the switch box.  The prior owners had used the kitchen as a barn for their sheep or goats.  The "first thing we had to do was shovel out three inches of goat manure out of the kitchen.  It stunk to high heaven.  After we shoveled it out, washed it down and disinfected it then we painted it the color mom selected, pea green. It looked pretty sad but it was a gigantic kitchen with a big farm table in it." (Larry Vardiman, Glimpses of My Childhood, tape #1B)  There were only two bedrooms in the house.  Their parents used one bedroom and all six children shared the other large room.  It actually had six beds in it! 

                There was no running water or septic system.  To go to the bathroom required a walk about a block long down to the outhouse behind the barn.  Phil put in a pressure pump system for running water and a heater for hot water.  Then he built a septic system from bricks.  Larry remembers helping dig the hole in the ground and standing at the bottom laying bricks for the septic tank.  "It was kind of a strange way to live but that's the way my dad and mom did it and it worked.  They got it built into a nice home." (Larry Vardiman, Glimpses of My Childhood, tape #1B)

                When Phil and Larry plowed one of the fields for the first time it was rather challenging as the weeds were over ten feet tall in one area as that field had probably not been plowed in over five years.  They used an international cub tractor which was actually only a garden tractor with one plow.  Since they couldn't see from one end of the field to the other  Larry said, "The first time we plowed that field the way we had to do that was Dad got on the tractor and started at one end of the field and I stood up on top of the tractor and looked at the trees at the other end of the field and told him which direction to head because he couldn't see even if he stood up on the tractor… So I had had to stand up on the hood of the tractor and look out across the field and see above the weeds in order to be able to plow the first furrow straight.  Once you got the first one in it was pretty easy after that." (Larry Vardiman, Glimpses of my childhood, tape #2B)

                It typically took Larry about a month to plow ten acres of land with the small tractor going about the speed of a mule.  There was a steep hill behind the barn and the tractor didn't have enough power for hauling large loads of hay and would buck up in front or slip in the mud.  "Grandma Mollie Vardiman was visiting one time and I was kind of showing off and I popped the clutch a little bit and the front end of the tractor went up in the air like a bucking bronco and she screamed and about scared the daylights out of me from her scream but then it settled back down and we were ok." (Larry Vardiman, Glimpses of my childhood, tape #2B)

                Phil later bought a 1938 or 1939 John Deere model A tractor with a big flywheel and two pistons.  It made lots of different noises depending on what type of terrain it was on and it just kept on going.  One year rain got into the exhaust pipe and into the oil shortly after Larry had overhauled it in shop at school in Columbia.  When Phil started it up the oil was frozen and it burned up the engine.   

              Phil bought a used International Harvester Farmall H four-cylinder tractor which they used for the last year and a half they lived on the farm. 

Moved to Pacific, MO

Larry played French Horn in the high school band about 1960

Back Row: Steve, Billie, Phil, Louise, Larry, Mary Phil
Front Row: David & Ann Lueece

Pacific, Missouri (1959 - 1961)

Phil’s health was getting worse so Ralston Purina gave him a job transfer to a research farm near Gray Summit, Missouri.  It was too far to commute from Columbia so the family once again moved to Pacific, Missouri in 1959. 

They bought a house on a dead end street on the East side of Pacific up next to limestone cliffs.  It was close to a factory that made roofing materials, toothpaste and cleanser using ground up limestone.  It was at the edge of town and in the woods.

Larry went to Missouri School of Mines in Rolla from 1961- 1965 to get his bachelors degree in Physics. He joined the Baptist Student Union (BSU), which was a Christian ministry to University students.

Phil died from heart trouble on 23 February 1968 at 53 years old.  Phil and Louise had been married a total of 27 ½ years!

Nov. 1962

6 June 1965 Wedding

Jeannette's Mother and Brother and Larry's Parents

Larry's Grandparents, Carters and Mollie Vardiman

Newspaper Wedding Announcement

B.S. in Physics from Rolla University, MO Summer 1965

Dating, Engagement & Wedding (1962-1965)

In April 1962, Larry's Sophomore year of college (Missouri School of Mines in Rolla), Larry attended the Southern Baptist convention that is held every year. He worked in the kitchen to help pay his way to the conference. That year it was at the Lake of the Ozarks in Southwestern Missouri. The camp was held on one side of Lake Windemere.

Jeannette Santen went to the same conference. She was a student nurse at Jewish hospital in St. Louis and was also active in the Baptist Student Union. Larry and Jeannette ended up sitting next to each other in service and sharing a hymnal. Larry remembers Jeannette coming by the kitchen to say goodbye where he was working to help pay his way to the conference.

Larry called Jeannette and asked her out on a date. She couldn't remember who he was but she agreed. When he drove up to her mother's house on a motorcycle and wearing a beard Jeannette remembers thinking "Oh no, it's the Physics guy!" She wasn't very good at math. They still had a mutual attraction though and they began long distance dating for the next three years (1962-1965). They mainly saw each other in the summer and on holidays. The rest of the time they wrote letters. They also attended each other's school functions such as Christmas parties and Baptist Student Union parties.

Larry played the French horn in the Missouri School of Mines marching band and performed at the New York World's Fair in 1964.  He consistently enjoys watching the marching bands in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV every year while preparing the turkey for the Thanksgiving meal.

 Larry and Jeannette were married 5 June 1965 in a Baptist church in East St. Louis. Neither one attended there but Jeannette liked the church for a wedding. After they returned from their honeymoon Larry continued his last summer of undergraduate classes at Rolla. He received his best grades after they were married then any time before. They lived in a rented upstairs apartment of an old ladies house that Larry had been renting her downstairs apartment previously with three of his buddies. The upstairs apartment was only available during the summer so they had to move in the fall.

Larry always wanted to be a college professor but he was not as satisfied with Physics as he originally thought and wasn't sure what he wanted to pursue immediately so after Larry graduated with his B.S. in Physics at the end of the summer in 1965 he decided to join the Air Force. He had always wanted to travel. It was the middle of the Vietnam war and there was a waiting list for Officer training school so he took some Master level courses for one semester during which time he taught Physics to undergraduates. They lived in a downstairs apartment near the campus and were still active with BSU parties. Jeannette worked at Phelps County Retirement Center as a nurse.

Larry graduating from Airforce Officer Training School May 1966

Military Housing Oct 1967 Scott Air Force Base, IL expecting first child

Larry & Jeannette Vardiman family in Dec. 1969

U.S. Air Force (1966-1970)

In February 1966 Larry entered the Air Force's Officer Training School, which took three months, 6 weeks for basic training and 6 weeks of advanced training. Jeannette moved back home with her mother in Fairmont City, Illinois where she worked at Christian Welfare hospital in East St. Louis. Larry went to Officer’s Training School in San Antonio, Texas. The Air Force recruiter sent Larry and about 30 other guys via train. About 5 of the guys were going to officer school and were given Pullman cars to sleep in while the other 25 guys who were enlisting had to sleep sitting up in the chairs. So there was already class discrimination even before school. Larry graduated in May 1966 as a Second Lieutenant. His parents and Jeannette came down for the graduation. "It was a great time. By that time I had been trained so stiffly I kept calling your mother "Sir" and I was saluting everything except the fireplugs. They kind of get you drilled." (Larry Vardiman, Family Tape #3A)

Larry had signed up for a four-year commitment and the Air Force decided because of his Physics background to make him into a weatherman. They sent him to school for one year at St. Louis University. It was only ten miles across the river from Jeannette's mom's house and about 20 miles from Larry's family in Pacific. Larry took a couple extra classes over and above what the Air Force required in order to obtain a second Bachelors degree in meteorology. They rented an apartment in St. Louis just off of South Grand Avenue. It was a one-bedroom apartment with a swimming pool. Jeannette worked at the Catholic Children's hospital, Cardinal Glennon. After Larry's one year of school was over they thought they were going to be assigned to Washington D.C. but at the last minute the orders were changed to Scott Air force Base which was again close to both their parents. "I joined the Air Force to see the world and got assigned 20 miles from home." (Larry Vardiman, Family Tape #3A) They again made some lifelong friends while stationed at Scott Air force Base.

The reason Larry was assigned to Scott Air base was because “they needed someone in the Aerospace Modification Division with Cloud Physics Application Research. There were a group of men who helped design fog dispersal systems. “It was really a neat assignment. One I really enjoy thinking back about today.” (Larry Vardiman, Tape 3A)

In the winter of 1968 into 1969 Larry was assigned temporary duty for six months to Travis Air base in California to head up the division for cloud dispersal on the runway in order to let the airplanes take off and land during foggy conditions. They designed a system with a big archer blower that blew salt in the air to try to take out water and reduce clouds in the air to leave a big hole for airplanes which was also used in Spokane, WA.

Fort Collins, CO - Larry went to Colorado State University

4 August 1972

Oldest grandson, Spencer, visiting 501 Columbia St
Fort Collins house

Graduate School in Fort Collins, CO (1970-1974)

After he finished his military service Larry became a graduate student at Colorado State University. “We moved to Fort Collins, Colorado in June 1970 and rented a house at 501 Columbia Street." Fort Collins is a flat area at the base of the Rocky Mountains and smells like cows! The Rocky Mountains are on the West side of Colorado and the East side of Colorado is flat plans. Horse tooth Reservoir is the main view from Fort Collins. Larry had two week reserve duty once a year for four years.

Larry's story about collecting snow samples for his graduate research on Wolf Creek Pass, Colorado

Larry graduated with his PhD in Atmospheric Science and started working with the Bureau of Reclamation in Denver. He had seen a beautiful green valley in the mountains when flying in an airplane one time. When Larry and Jeannette checked it out they discovered Evergreen, Colorado. It is located in the mountains about 30 minutes from Denver with gorgeous green pine trees and Blue Spruce. This small country town has a lake that freezes over in the winter and is used for ice-skating.

Moved from Fort Collins to Evergreen, CO 1970

House in Evergreen, CO


Evergreen Guest House

View from road in front of house in Evergreen, CO

Evergreen Lake

Downtown Evergreen, CO

Evergreen, CO (1974-1977)

In November 1974 we moved to Evergreen, Colorado where Larry and Jeannette purchased their first house. "As a family we went ice-skating on the lake in the winter, and walked down the road from our house to a great hill for sledding! When "Grandma Lou", Louise Carter Vardiman, visited she would go for walks with us and point out all the beautiful flowers and trees and tell us all their names. The Colorado State flower, the Columbine and the Indian Paintbrush were prevalent in our area. We had a choke cherry bush in our back yard and we made homemade jam. That was delicious! The chokecherries were extremely sour though and would make your lips pucker if you ate them straight off the bush!

We had one acre of fenced land, which had many pine trees when we arrived.  Unfortunately some beetles infected most of the trees and Larry had to cut a lot of them down by the time we left. 

There was an old outhouse on the property that had old newspaper cartoons covering the inside walls.  It was kind of fun to be busy playing in the backyard and use that facility instead of going back into the house. 

We also had a separate one-room guesthouse on one side of the property that was attached to the garage. It had a bed and a porta-potty. The house itself was a one story, 3 bedroom, 1 bath log home.  The front door opened into the living room, which had an orange fireplace and an orange shag carpet.   To the left were three stairs that went up into the kitchen.  The laundry room and back door were off the kitchen.  At the other end of the kitchen was a bedroom and one had to go through his room to get to the bathroom which was on the other side of the wall from the kitchen.  On the other side of the house to the right of the living room was a small hallway with two doors coming off of it.  The bedroom to the right had pink carpet and the windows faced the front and side yard.  The master bedroom across the hall had purple carpet and a purple headboard and it's windows faced the backyard." (Michelle Vardiman Fansler's memories)

September 1976

Moving to Northern California Spring 1977

House in Lake of the Pines, Auburn, CA

Lake of the Pines, CA

Larry Vardiman Family 1979 at Combie Bible Church

Family Photo in 1982 in Northern California

Auburn, CA (1977-1982)

Larry received a promotion with the Bureau of Reclamation. He became the Director for a cloud seeding project in Northern California to help end a drought out there. Larry and Jeannette sold their house in Evergreen for a small profit and bought a house in a fenced community with a guard gate called Lake of the Pines, 30 minutes north of Auburn, California.

1982 Moved to San Diego


1984 House in Santee
(San Diego County East)


1986 Family Photo in
La Jolla, CA


San Diego, CA (1982-2006)

Larry moved his family to San Diego County California in order to become a college professor at Christian Heritage College (now called San Diego Christian) in El Cajon, California.  He taught upper division math courses (advanced calculus) and science courses (physics and occasionally physical science courses).  He became Academic Dean from 1987-1989.

During the summers he worked for Institute for Creation Research (ICR) to teach and write science articles in his specialty of atmospheric science.  In 1989 he transferred to ICR full-time. 

From 1997-2005 he coordinated six scientists and one theologian as administrator for the eight-year research project called RATE (Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth).  Results revealed scientific evidence of a young Earth around 6-10,000 years old based on helium concentrations in rocks, radiohalo diffusion documenting accelerated nuclear decay, and the fact that coal and diamonds still contain carbon-14. From 2004-2006 he acted as Chief Operating Officer for ICR.










Mt. Baker, WA Feb. 2009


Written by Michelle Vardiman Fansler compiled from interviews of Louise Carter Vardiman Robinson and Larry Vardiman's Glimpses of my childhood cassette tapes and personal interviews.

Copyright 2018