Laurence “Larry” LeJeune, Former AISC Board Member, Dies at 85

Laurence “Larry” LeJeune, former AISC Board Member and owner of LeJeune Steel Company, died on August 12 at the age of 85.

Born August 5, 1936, in Minneapolis, Larry met his wife, Jean, at 16, and the two were married for over 64 years. He attended the University of Minnesota and the University of St. Thomas before embarking on his career in the family business. Later in life, Larry was a founding benefactor of the St. Thomas School of Law and also chaired its Board of Governors. In addition, he and Jean became the namesakes of the Laurence and Jean LeJeune Distinguished Chair.

In 1967, he and his brother, Tom, purchased LeJeune Steel from their father and developed it into the preeminent steel fabricator in the Twin Cities. In 1977, Larry bought out Tom, who in turn developed a structural fastener company, LeJeune Bolt. In the 1980s, Larry purchased multiple car dealerships and in 1989 sold LeJeune Steel to Lee Anderson. The company has been a longtime major contributor to AISC, assisting with research projects and devoting substantial staff time to raise the profile of fabricated structural steel, and Larry served as an AISC Board Member from 1981 to 1989.

“When I started with LeJeune Steel almost 60 years ago, I found Larry LeJeune to be a very organized, sales-oriented manager,” recalled Larry Kloiber, LeJeune Steel’s former vice president. “He taught me how to evaluate costs when designing and planning steel fabrication. He understood the value of a fabricator having an in-house professional engineering staff. He also appreciated AISC’s role in promoting structural steel fabrication and supported my attendance at its conferences, along with my participation on its committees and task groups.”

“When he sold LeJeune Steel in 1989, the company had grown from a small shop selling house beams and one-story projects to a regional fabricator of high-rise office buildings, major arenas, and industrial buildings,” continued Kloiber. “Larry, like most of us in the fabrication business, found pleasure driving around our community seeing projects LeJeune Steel had helped to build.”

“Larry brought his company through the 1980s when many of the fabricators in the Twin Cities went out of business, but LeJeune survived,” noted Steve Egger, former chairman of Egger Steel and a former AISC Board Member (and Board Chairman from 1991 to 1993).

Larry is survived by his wife, Jean, daughters Lisa, Laura, Renee, and Amy, son Mike, 13 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, his brother, Tom, and sisters Rita and D’Ann.