Submitted by his wife
Larry joined the Claxton Fire Department on May 25‚ 1974 as a volunteer. After seven years‚ he was hired as Fire Chief and as the first full-time employee. Serving in this capacity for 23 years‚ he was a hands-on chief who never asked his volunteers to do anything that he was not willing to do himself. Being in a rural area‚ many of his volunteers worked out of town sometimes leaving him with as few as three available firefighters. Because of this situation‚ he performed the job of chief as well as actively fighting fires. Dedicated to his profession he was proud to be a part of the brotherhood that exists among firefighters across our great nation.
A few years ago‚ the first county wide fire department was created and new fire trucks were purchased for each of our four municipalities. Larry was appointed as fire coordinator for the county with the duty of organizing the departments and training the new fire department personnel including setting up policies and procedures. He was very proud of these firefighters and their dedication to working together for the benefit of the citizens of our county.
Larry responded to three fires December 13‚ 2004. I spoke with him at 4:30 after the last fire. He sounded really tired and told me it had been a very busy and stressful day. At 5:30 pm‚ I was notified that he had been in an accident. Heading to town in the fire rescue truck‚ he suffered a fatal heart attack and ran off the road.
In May 2005 the Bellville Lions Club presented the Melvin Jones Fellowship award‚ the highest honor awarded to an individual by the Lions Club‚ in memory of Larry for his services to the community. Never in the history of the local club had this honor been bestowed upon a nonmember of the Lions Club. The Club also donated $1‚000 to the Tsunami relief fund in his memory. In June of this year‚ The Claxton Fire Department and Evans County Fire Departments presented a celebration of life honoring Larry’s memory.
Married for 32 years‚ we have one daughter‚ Shelly. She and her husband‚ Jay‚ have two children‚ Seth‚ age 6 and Jamie who was born June 16‚ 2005. Outside of the fire department‚ Larry’s interest was his family. He devoted a great deal of time to being Poppy to our grandson Seth. We were fortunate enough to find out that Jamie was on her way before his death.
Larry also enjoyed cooking and loved to prepare holiday meals for the entire family. Cooking breakfast every weekend for the two of us was one of his traditions. He also enjoyed visiting the Tennessee mountains. Our family vacationed at Disney World just two months before his death. I thank God for allowing us to have this wonderful time full of memories that we cherish more each day. He was a wonderful person and we miss him dearly.