So we’re feeling different things today. On the one hand, we are very sad. A very wonderful man, a man who loved life and loved his wife and sisters and children and grandchildren and cherished his friends, has died. Last Thursday, Dalia said: “It’s just a matter of time.” We were sitting at their kitchen table, and Larry was eating and drinking. And even though she said that, very realistically, I never imagined we’d be here in less than a week. After everything he’s gone through, and all of the other frightening times, it’s been hard to realize that this has actually happened. We have shed a lot of tears, and we will shed a lot more.
But on the other hand, we know that we have had the honor of knowing this man, and this family, who have fought so hard for so long for every inch of life; we have such respect for the courage, and I mean courage to live today and the next day and to keep going for years despite all of the pain and frustration and fear and uncertainty. It’s an honor to be here today to appreciate this remarkable story. And so we’re terribly, terribly sad, but we’re very, very proud of Larry.
Let’s talk about his life. Larry was born in Waterbury on August 19, 1944. He grew up in Oakville. He always identified with the countryside from when he was a boy. He was the second of four children: It was Bryna, Larry, Trudy and Harriet. He was the only boy and was treated like a prince. He was, as he would sign his private greeting cards, their “ever lovin’ brother.” There was just so much happy closeness between these siblings. They really like each other. There were vacations with them. When Larry gave Harriet away at her wedding, he said he would share her. We mourn today with Trudy, Brina and Ron, and Harriet and Evan. This is a very sad day for them, and our hearts go out to them.
He graduated from Watertown High School. He served in the Navy for six years from 1963-1968 as Yeoman for the captain on the USS Willis A Lee. He loved to talk about his experiences in the service. He had a hard time being Jewish in the Navy until there was a new captain who was Jewish and made sure they had lox and bagel every Shabbat.
His career was with the United States Department of Agriculture for the next four decades. He had worked for his dad in the family wholesale meat market and he became a Federal meat inspector. He would talk to me about some of the challenges involved, and it made me think about how important a role that is in keeping us all safe and healthy. Meat was a big topic in his life. If anyone knew about a quality steak, it was Larry. He brought frozen steaks to Israel so they could enjoy them, to show them how good the meat was.
Larry had four children. Allan was his child from an earlier marriage and Larry loved him very much.
Larry married Dalia 45 years ago and they had their beloved children Daniel, Karen and Leemore. He was very devoted to his family.
There was boating and horseback riding, and skiing and baseball games and father daughter dances. He loved to do projects with them. Other parents might find it burdensome to make their kids lunch. He was very excited to make their lunches and would say things like: this is what my daddy used to make for me.
There were countless hours on the phone with his kids; He was their company when they had long rides.
He was supportive of his children no matter what they wanted to do or be. He obviously did a wonderful job with them. They have pursued very different life adventures and he was there for all of them.
Driving was a big topic. He was driving a car when he was thirteen. He loved to drive and he spent a lot of time driving his kids and picking them up. He was the driver on all the long road trips. No drive was too long or too hard. He would drive them wherever they wanted to go.
He could embarrass his kids. I’m not going to go into detail because certain images would just embarrass them further.
We mourn today with Daniel and Delphine, Karen and Bentley, and Leemore.
His special pleasure, what would always bring him a smile even at the toughest times, were his five grandchildren Nicole, El-yas. Melenna, Ella and Miri. Pictures of the grandchildren would always cheer him up.
He talked to everybody. Strangers, friend; anyone. I’m not sure I ever knew anyone who enjoyed talking so much. And he loved Skiing.
And most of all, he loved talking about skiing. He loved skiing so much that he wanted to work at a ski resort after he retired.
There’s an old expression that G-d gave us weather so that we’d have something to talk about. I think G-d had Larry in mind when He created weather. He loved talking about the weather. He actually watched the weather channel like a tv channel. I’m very charmed by the fact that he always knew what the weather was where each if his kids were. It was a way of sharing their environment with them.
He loved Judaism. It was a big part of his life. He loved the holidays. He loved to come to services. He loved Sephardic melodies.
Contests. He loved contests. He never saw a contest he did not enter. He won a lot of stuff
maybe just because he entered so many contests.
He won trips. He won a trip to Colorado, to Copper Mountain, and another one to Martha’s Vineyard.
He loved westerns. He loved making plans. He loved camping, horse racing, Antique auto shows, Car racing, water skiing. He was a proud member of the Masons in Woodbury.
Larry had a wonderful sense of humor. He was really funny. What I will always remember is that even when he was so sick, he never lost his sense of humor. He could be a smart aleck. He could sing nursery rhymes and blow the words in funny ways. He teased the kids on the phone even towards the end.
More than anything, there was his relationship with Dalia. Larry loved and admired and respected Dalia. He called her Dayya. An example of how he adored her: When Dalia taught at Ezra academy, he would call the Ezra office to make sure they knew it was her birthday. And there would be an announcement for the teachers to come and he would cater lunch for the faculty.
Larry was very close to Dalia’s family. He might have hated New York but would go to be with family.
What I am aching to talk about is what Dalia has been for him during these years, especially since the transplant 5 ½ years ago. Every day, every night. Months in New York when he was at the hospital down there. Trying to maintain a normal life for both of them in the most trying of circumstances. Everyone has been so wonderful; his children, his sisters, his friends. And they have helped support Dalia, too. But in the end, it was Dalia every day and every night. I’m not sure that Dalia has really slept for years now. I want to express this, but the truth is I have no words that suffice to say how sacrificing and patient and loving Dalia has been every day and every night for all of these years.
So what do we learn from Larry?
Be enthusiastic. Be like a kid in your enthusiasm for life.
Have a big soft heart,
Have the Soul of a kid,
Eat ice cream. Cookies and cream. Chocolate éclairs.
Love life. Really love life.
We mourn today with Dalia, Karen, Daniel Leemore, Trudy, Brina, Harriet and the whole family. Thank you for being such a close and supportive family.
He was a righteous man. May he rest in peace. Let us say Amen.