Today I learned that a childhood friend had died. Larry Mills was a big man in size and in character. My most vivid memories with Larry took place while skiing in New Hampshire or Colorado. Larry was a large man who moved down the mountain with athleticism and grace.
Larry had a playful personality and made me laugh. In the beautiful movie ‘Waking Ned Devine’, an elderly man reflects upon the passing of a dear friend, he says: “We grew old together. But when we laughed, we grew younger. If he were here today I would say, thank you for being a great man, and thank you for being a friend.”
This summer I was at a reunion of friends from High School. We gathered at our friend Clyde’s yard on a sultry summer evening. We had a few beers and laughed as we did in school. It was a poignant night for we had all lived long enough to know that such moments are fleeting and that life itself is a gift to be savored.
Larry was at the reunion and had been dealing with cancer for several months. That night he was feeling good. As always with Larry he made us laugh. In his playful company we all grew younger.
In his 57 years Larry became a great man. Great in his love for Sue his wife, children and extended family. Great in the professionalism and integrity he brought to his work. Great in his commitment to the well-being of his local community. Great in his faith in God. Great in being a friend.
Thank you Larry for a life well lived. We will be forever in your debt.