My connection to Larry dates from my high school years in the late 1970s when, soon after he moved to Oak Park, he started playing tennis regularly with my father. He was a loyal friend to my dad as well as to the rest of us, and it has been my privilege to have been in touch with him during all of the following decades.
In the spring of 1977 when my parents traveled in Europe, he and Sylvia generously invited me to stay in their home near Taylor Park. I remember sitting at the kitchen table reading the newspaper and admiring how Larry was able to explain the likely meaning of some of the political statements I was reading. On a more personal level he was encouraging and assured me that a person’s vocation wasn’t necessarily one path that needed to be discovered but many possible “ideal” paths. He seemed quite happy to have chosen planning and felt that his work in transportation planning was making some positive difference.
I wasn’t in Oak Park much during the years that Larry was village president (1993-97), but I recall that he sought to preserve Oak Park’s walkable and bikeable features. He also supported liberalizing the prevailing strict rules for restaurant alcohol licenses. When he and his wife moved to the Hemingway District, they were able to enjoy being close to the library and the diverse restaurants, some of which were established during his tenure.
Larry regularly attended live classical concerts and as a host was sure to match the composer to the conversation. He was an avid reader of literary fiction and read many European authors; some of his picks became favorites of mine. He always seemed to be interested in people, in what motivated the people he knew. In this regard, he was a good listener and showed a big heart. His style was soft-spoken, and his comments were pithy and quietly helpful.
More than most people I know, Larry worried about the condition of his community and the planet. When I saw him in January, he told me he wasn’t flying anymore because flying was so bad for the climate. He said this without regret. He seemed so grounded, at home in Oak Park.