In Memoriam: Remembering My Friend, Larry
by Carol Sejda, Covenant Companion
It’s interesting how friendships evolve over time: How acquaintances slowly become important in our lives. Seeing Larry occasionally over the years at Wheaton Franciscan events, I formed the impression that he was a no-nonsense sort of person, who “tells it like it is.” Thus, I came to realize that Larry cared deeply about others, especially his family and friends, and those aﬀected by issues of unfairness or injustice.
Franciscan spirituality provided the cornerstone for his Christian Faith and he became a Covenant Companion in 2005. He prayed daily and maintained a life-long devotion to Santa Maria Incoronata. I was struck by the fact that he was called to his heavenly home on the feast day for the Holy Mother’s Immaculate Conception.
Larry never had a computer or tablet or smartphone and didn’t use email. We spoke by phone every 2-3 weeks during the last several years. Larry lived a rather isolated life, as he related, and he relished chatting with friends from the Wheaton Franciscan Community and his family.
Conversations with Larry were always leisurely events: Catching up on our lives and, of course, current news. I knew when I picked up the phone that I would spend about 30 minutes commiserating with my friend. This time was punctuated by chuckles and gasps, as well as fleeting feelings of sadness. They ended with us exchanging prayers for God’s blessings on the world and our lives.
Larry was a courageous man who lived with chronic pain and multiple illnesses and disabilities. He slowly watched his world and abilities shrink. Giving up his car and driving was the latest loss. This was very diﬃcult for him, yet he did this with grace and spunk. He transitioned to using a county-sponsored ride program with all of its frustrations. But he continued to tirelessly problem-solve.
He also was a creative and eclectic cook. Larry described making a pasta sauce that involved baking beef bones for flavor and adding Italian sausage—spending hours in the process. But he was just as likely to meticulously prepare ham hocks and greens. I wish I could replicate his enthusiasm for cooking!
The Larry I knew was complicated and, at times, irascible, yet he was dear and faithful. He showed spirit and hope in facing his limitations which inspired me. I will miss my phone buddy. Rest in Peace, Larry.