To the Editor:
It was with shock and a deep sadness that I learned of the passing of Larry
last week. I was sad for my hometown to suddenly experience such a
void, and sad for losing someone I had come to think of as a friend. I was greatly fortunate to have had the opportunity to know
Larry, both personally and professionally, and in recent years he had been one
of the people I enjoyed seeing most when I was back home for a visit.
It was impossible to grow up in Long Beach and not have had some interaction
with Larry over years. Like many others who grew up as athletes in Long Beach
in the 1980’s, my childhood photo album appeared to include as many pictures of
Larry as of my own family. It seemed as though there was never a trophy
ceremony he missed, nor a photo op! (Years later, I'd discover that one of the
great challenges of a newspaper editor was how to publish less
of Larry in the paper!)
As I got older, I had the chance to talk to Larry more. After one afternoon of
sitting next to him at a high school swim meet, picking his brain about
colleges and the pros and cons of law school, I walked away struck by how easy
he was to talk with. He made you feel completely at ease, and that you mattered
to him. And it was no act, because people did matter to him. I could see that,
still, a decade later when I became the editor of the Long Beach Herald
. While he didn't always agree with our coverage
or our endorsements, he was a great supporter of the service we tried to
provide for the community. He was a tremendous supporter of my time in that
job, and an even bigger supporter of my subsequent career in the U.S. Army.
Just before I left for the service, the Chamber of Commerce recognized me at
its monthly meeting (continuing Larry's unofficial quest to hand a Chamber
plaque to every man, woman and child in Long Beach). And so one more
photo of receiving an award from Larry was added to the scrapbook. In the years
since, he became someone I looked forward to seeing each time I came home. He'd
ask about everything I was up to, and made a point of letting everyone around
know that I was home from the Army.
For a man who couldn't seem to muster much of a smile in any
of the thousands of pictures he'd posed for, he was certainly filled with
warmth for the people he cared about. And there were many of those, since few
people have ever loved Long Beach and all who call it home as much as Larry
Elovich did. It'll be sad to return home next time and not see him again, not
get to share the latest turns in my career. But I am grateful to have been able
to call him a friend.
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