A TRIBUTE TO ZEUS
Fond Memories of Larry “Looper” KnowlesWith much love from his brother Ernie Knowles and his many, many High School Friends and Beta Brothers
Prepared especially for Melise and Natalie Knowles – The honored granddaughters of Larry KnowlesJanuary, 2007
Arranged and published by Theresa Knowles Collins
Your Grandfather’s niece and my daughter
Special notice: This tribute was written for Larry’s granddaughters while he was still alive, but in failing health. I am sorry to say that my brother died on July 7, 2007 – he will be missed!
A Tribute to ZEUS
Dear Melise and Natalie,
Contained within the covers of this booklet are words written by the very best friends of your grandfather, Larry, or as you have always known him, Zeus. They are written because, in your short lifetime, you did not know him when he was in the best of health nor at the peak of his very vital life. Many recollections are from high school friends who grew up with Larry; many are from his “brothers” in our fraternity at the University of Utah, Beta Theta Pi, whose lives your Zeus surely touched and who affectionately called him Larry ‚”Looper” Knowles. The Looper name for your Zeus came from Larry Hooper on the Lawrence Welk show (your dad will have to tell you what that show is) and was jokingly changed to Looper and given to him by his best friends in the fraternity, and it stuck because he loved it. Finally, many of the words are written by me, Ernie Knowles, your Zeus’s older brother and your granduncle. I, of course, knew your Zeus from the moment of his birth and I shared a great deal of laughter, hope, and adventure with him.
Larry was a large baby, weighing in at more than 10 lbs, whom I called Lammy (not being able to pronounce my r’s). When he was born on April 23, 1938, the doctors decided to play a joke on the nurses in the preemie lab (where underweight babies, born too early, were sent until they were strong enough to leave the hospital). They called the lab to tell them to get ready for a premature baby, but when your Zeus arrived, the nurse called down to the delivery room and said, ‚”Premature, what, elephant?”
He and I were born only 13 months apart and, because we were so close in age, we did almost everything together. As you will see in other stories included in this booklet (and in pictures that I have included later in what I have written), when we were older he and I were often mistake-end for each other – in fact, we would answer to either name, sometimes laughing about it. Some of the things we did together we did with great fun and some with great mischief, and in what follows I will tell you about some of our adventures when your Zeus and I were growing up. I hope that you will enjoy what your Zeus’s best friends and I have written, and come to know him for the truly great man he is.
Growing up in an Ideal Neighborhood
Our neighborhood on Darling Street in Ogden, Utah was an ideal place to grow up. Your Zeus and I had three really good friends our age that lived on our street – the Albright twins, Kent and Jerry, and Robin Frieze – and we did everything together. We also called ourselves the “Darling Street Gang”, but it was a term of friendship used only to identify our group, not because we were a real gang. In the picture below, from left to right are four members of that gang: your Zeus at about age 7, Kent and Jerry Albright, also about 7 and me, about age 8 – the pretty girl behind us is our cousin Nancy, about 5 years of age.
Darling Street was wide and gave us plenty of room to play. In the winter, when the road was packed with snow, it was one of the best sledding hills in the city. We all had Flexible Flyer sleds and became very adept at running and “slamming” our sleds down on the road to get extra speed, then racing each other down the hill all the way to the bottom, where the city had sprinkled sand to stop our descent so that we would not run across the road on Jackson Ave. In the summer, we would play a ball game called “knock-up and lay-down”, where the batter would hit the ball as far as he could up the street, then lay down the bat so that the catcher could roll the ball down the street to try to hit it. If he was successful, it was his turn to hit the next ball up the street. Some days we played that game til dusk.
We also played the tag game “Fox and Goose” and used the entire neighborhood to hide. The person that was “it” (the Fox) would lean on a tree and count to 20, then yell, “Ready or not, here I come” and run off to try to find the others (the Geese) and tag them before they could get back to home base. Sometimes we hid so well that, after a quarter of an hour, the Fox would give up and yell, “Allee, Allee-ox in free” and all of us would come out of hiding and return to the home base without worrying about being caught. And then we would do it all over again. Your Zeus was a fast runner, and if discovered usually could outrun any of us and got back to home base without being tagged.
Better than the street, at least for us guys, was a vacant lot (something quite common when we grew up) just two doors up from our home. Oh what great times we had there! Each summer we would dig a hole in the ground, then use scrap lumber from building sites near where we lived and built a “club-house” over the hole. Only members of the Darling Street Gang and very special guests would be allowed to enter. Every night during the summer we assembled at the club-house and built a fire in a rock pit outside, then tossed large Idaho Russet potatoes into the fire where they would cook to a wonderful texture and had a heavenly taste, even though we had to peel off a charcoaled skin to get to the core of the potato (we didn’t have aluminum foil in those days, and probably would not have used it if we did). We kept salt shakers in our clubhouse on a little shelf cut in the side of the hole, and would sprinkle salt on the potato, take a bite, sprinkle more salt and then take another bite until the potato was gone, charcoal dust and all. The potatoes cooked in this fashion we called “Murphy’s”, I guess because we associated them with Irish potatoes and Murphy was an Irish name. At least once a week (usually on Saturday night) we would use the fire instead to cook what we called “Mulligan Stew”. Everyone would bring something to toss into a big steel pot filled with water that was set up in the fire – potatoes, carrots, onions, salt, pepper, left-over chicken or hamburger from one or more of our homes, and even Elk steak from the freezer of another, later member of the Darling Street Gang whose name was Leon Livingston, but whom we called Lem (he had moved to Darling Street – to a home right next to the Albright twins – from Alpine, Wyoming, where his family had been ranchers and Elk hunters). We called him Lem because he was from the country – we thought that was funny, and he was a good sport about it.
Your Zeus and I were very competitive, even at an early age – a competition that was at most times silly, but sometimes ended with us fighting, and that lasted for most of our childhood though it began to wane toward the end in our preteens. Here are just a few examples:
1. At dinner, we would actually count peas to make sure we had the same number on our plates.
2. We slept in a bedroom in the basement of our house and shared a very large bed (it used to belong to our uncle Matt, who was more than 6 feet 7 inches tall, and who had the bed especially made for him) and would draw a line on the sheet with a crayon, right down the middle of the bed. I would yell up through the floor to where our dad was sitting in a chair in the living room, “Dad, Larry has his hand on my side of the bed”, and of course he would do the same when my foot strayed onto his side – usually we did those things to get that reaction from the other.
3. At age 8 or 9, when we found a nickel, instead of buying a 5 cent candy (that’s what a Snickers bar cost then) and splitting it in half, we would have the grocer give us five pennies, each take two and throw the extra penny away – at least that is what your Zeus said he did when he cocked his arm and heaved the penny over the neighbors house, but given his later ability to earn money, I suspect he pocketed the extra penny for another day.
4. Up until we graduated from High School, we also competed to see who would ride in the front seat of our car, next to our dad, on the many occasions when our family would go for a ride (more about that later). The first one to yell, “I dibs the front seat” – dibs meant chose – would ride there, and the other would ride in the back with our poor mom and sister, who never got to ride next to dad, unless they were alone with dad in the car.
Didn’t I tell you that most of the times our competition was silly – these stories prove that!
Finally, we also did other things that annoyed each other. Your Zeus would drive me crazy eating corn nuts in bed every night – they were hard and very crunchy so chewing them made a very loud noise. When he wanted to really annoy me, he would eat the nuts with his mouth open. I annoyed your Zeus by whistling, which I did when I was happy or when I was upset. I thought I sounded great, but your Zeus could have killed me. He would hold his hands over his ears or go out of the room – when I really wanted to annoy him, I would whistle with a trill.
More typical behavior
Now, don’t think that your Zeus’s and my misbehavior were the norm in our life. The vast majority of our childhood together was filled with fun, and most of the time we were well behaved and accomplished a great deal. We had a front yard at our house between the curb and the sidewalk that was, for the two of us, the perfect playground. Our mom sewed shoulder pads and hip pads from old flannel shirts stuffed with cotton that your Zeus and I would wear to play football against each other, “running” on our knees until it was too dark to even see each other.
Sometimes, though, we got angry with each other and on just a couple of those occasions, actually threw punches and wrestled so hard that our mom turned the water hose on us to make us stop. But that is what brothers do. Right! I couldn’t find that picture, but have included one on the right of your Zeus and me when we were no more than 5 and 6 years of age, respectively. I had just landed a well-placed punch to your Zeus’s face and it knocked him to the ground (it was one of only times that ever happened – it was usually me on the ground). Notice the very large boxing gloves (so that we would not hurt each other), the funny overalls we had on, and my rubber boots.
Mostly though, we helped each other and loved playing or working together. For two years when I was 11 and 12, I had a paper route that entailed delivering several hundred evening newspapers to homes in and around our neighborhood. When I had to be somewhere else, your Zeus would deliver the papers for me, summer or winter. In the summer, we would fold and put rubber bands on all the papers and stack them into canvas bags that hung over the front handle bars of our Schwinn bikes, but in the winter, we had to walk the route. Then, we stacked the newspapers into front and back pouches of a large canvas paper carrier that we slipped over our heads, occasionally rotating the load from back to front to keep the weight balanced.
One Christmas Eve we got our whole family involved in the delivery, and created a warm memory as a result. It was a winter of very heavy snows and, because Christmas was a holiday, the evening paper was to be delivered in the morning instead. We were all sitting around the living room talking and listening to carols on the radio when we heard the newspaper truck in front of our house, dropping off the papers before midnight so that the driver could go home to his family. Your Zeus and I thought it would be fun to deliver them that night and got up to get our coats. Our dad stopped us and said, “Why don’t we all deliver the papers tonight, as a family.” We of course agreed and, while our dad drove down the middle of a street, Janet and our mom folded the papers and handed them out the window on either side of the car to your Zeus and me, where we ran to each house on our side of the street and threw the papers on the porch. We were so fast that they could barely keep up and we laughed and yelled at them through the window, “Come on slow-pokes. Time’s a-wasting.” We finished the entire route in less than an hour, and went home to have a large cup of hot chocolate filled with marshmallows. Thinking of that experience over the years always brought smiles to your Zeus’s and my face, each and every time we talked about it. This kind of family fun occurred often and we cherished it, but without computer games, DVD’s, etc., kids today that age would likely find it boring.
Our family didn’t have a lot of “extra” money when your Zeus and I were kids. We were the last family on the block to own a TV (mostly because they were too expensive, but also because our parents thought watching TV was a waste of time). It also meant that our family events didn’t cost much, but were really fun for us. Our family owned a four door, 1937 DeSoto car (built by the Dodge/Plymouth Company). It had heavy front and back bumpers, and on both sides “running boards” on which your Zeus and I could stand, holding onto the car through an open window of the side doors. Our dad would drive us only up to the top of Darling Street in this manner, but we loved it. The event we looked forward to as much as any other, however, was going on a Sunday family “drive”. After an early dinner of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding (a typical Sunday meal), dad would say, “Let’s go for a drive”, and we would jump up and run for the car (your Zeus and I yelling “dibs”, as I described earlier). We never knew where our dad would drive us (that was the fun of it), and sometimes he would follow our lead. Often it would be up Ogden Canyon, sometimes out to the Great Salt Lake, and sometimes to North Ogden where we would drink very cold water from a natural spring that bubbled up from the ground near a very old and craggy oak tree (later, someone ran a pipe from the spring up through the tree and we sipped water from a regular water fountain), but we ALWAYS ended up at the same place – at Farr Ice Cream Parlor, where we all would get a double scoop of ice cream. Those family drives were always a highlight of your Zeus’s and my memories.
As you will read in some of the letters written by your Zeus’s friends, our dad also took us and several of our friends to watch the Ogden Reds (a minor league baseball team affiliated with the Cincinnati Reds major league team) play at Affleck Park in Ogden Valley. After the game, he always treated all of us to ice cream cones or root beer floats, and then drove us back home. Sometimes he piled more than a dozen of our friends into the car (no seatbelts in those days, remember) to take us to the game and when we stopped at the ice cream parlor, and kids kept piling out of the front and back, it looked like clowns getting out of the small car at the circus. The problem with loading down an old car like this (in those days, the engine was not as powerful as it now is), however, was that it couldn’t make it up the steep hill on 30th Street that ran from the valley up to the foothills where our house was located – then we all jumped out and ran up the hill alongside the car, and got back in at the top. Our friends still laugh about the fun of that.
When your Zeus and I were quite young and traveled with our dad in the car, we stood up on the front seat so we could see out the front window, something we loved to do (there were no seat belts then, and allowing a child to stand up in a car was not against the law). If our dad had to apply the brakes quickly, he simply reached out with his right arm and held us back against the seat – this was of course dangerous, but we absolutely loved it and, besides, he never drove real fast anyway. I suspect that your Zeus also did this out of habit with your dad when he was that age (I know I did, even when I didn’t have one of my kids in the front seat with me).
We were always physically active
We also were fortunate to live in the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains east of Ogden Valley and spent a great deal of time hiking and playing in those mountains. As early as age 9 or 10 we would put a lunch made by our mom into a boy scout pack, hang a hatchet and a canvas-covered Army surplus canteen filled with water on our belts and, with our “gang”, spend as many as 5 days a week hiking to Waterfall Canyon, or climbing large trees or jumping off the 40 foot high sand hills, in Mt. Ogden Park at the base of the canyon. When we were a few years older, we also hiked up Taylor’s Canyon to the top of Malan’s Peak and down into Malan’s Basin, where we sat in the shade of gigantic pine trees, next to the creek that coursed its way down that basin, to eat our lunch and drink (and refill our canteens from) the water in the creek. That water was sweet tasting, and so cold it would make our lips feel like they were burning. We used our scout hatchets to cut willow branches from bushes near the creek to make walking sticks, then peeled off the bark with our scout knives and even polished them with fine sandpaper when we got home. Your Zeus was always a little more daring than the rest of us and would use his walking stick to try to flush out rattlesnakes in the rock beds near the creek.
When we weren’t hiking, we rode our bicycles 3 miles from our home to Lauren Farr Park to swim in the pool and dive off the high board (your Zeus dared do this well before I did) into quite cold water (it didn’t warm up until mid summer) [by the way, if you get a chance to watch the movie “Sandlot”, you will see this very pool and the park where we spent so much of our time]. Other days we would ride with our fishing poles all the way up Ogden Canyon (about 5 miles) and catch trout from the river midway up the canyon.
We also both worked at very physically demanding jobs as we grew up. When I was 14 and 15, and later when your Zeus was 16 and 17, we worked for Wendell Hunsaker in the hay fields in Utah, Idaho and Wyoming, loading 410 bales of alfalfa onto semi-trailers for transport back to the Ogden Stockyards, where our dad was the general manager. We worked long hours and spent many nights sleeping in the back of a pick-up truck and grew very confident and strong. At the beginning of each of our first summers, neither one of us could so much as pick up a bale of hay, but by the end of that summer, we could lift a bale above our heads (using sharp hay hooks that we speared into the two ends of the bale) onto our knees, then kick and toss it up onto the bed of the trailer.
During our college years in the summer, we also both worked (me for three years, your Zeus for one) for the U.S. Forest Service on an engineering crew that was surveying new timber and fire access roads in the high mountains of Utah, Wyoming and Idaho. If you have ever walked through dense pine forests and smelled fresh pine pitch, or in the fall walked through bright golden-yellow groves of Aspen, you know why we loved the work. On the job, we carried double-bit axes into the woods and were the first to volunteer to chop down any tree that was in the line of site of our transit (the engineering device used to set straight lines). This helped us grow even stronger and to this day our time with the Forest Service is another of our most memorable experiences.
Your Zeus and I also participated in sports during all of the time we were in public school and college. We both played on a baseball team in the very first Little League established in Ogden. He was a pitcher (and a very good one at that) and I played centerfield. In high school both of us played football, wrestled (our football coach was also the wrestling coach and required us to do both), and were on the track team (I throwing the discus and javelin, and Zeus running the hurdles and throwing the shot put). I won my share of wrestling matches, but your Zeus during his senior year was both the regional and state high school heavyweight-wrestling champion, with his quickness and strength making him unbeatable (as a couple of his friends, in later letters, will attest).
In high school we both played tackle on the football team and were each other’ biggest booster, always yelling encouragement to each other.
A picture of your Zeus (#40) and me (#42) is included on the right, waiting to get into the game against South High from Salt Lake during the Utah State High School Championship game, November 1954. During your Zeus’s senior year, Ogden also won the regional championship and played in the 1955 championship game.
In college, I chose not to play football and lettered in track and skiing, but your Zeus accepted a football scholarship to the University of Utah and, because of his great speed and leaping ability, was switched from tackle to left end. He had a distinguished freshman year and as you can see below, was mentioned in the local and national sports magazines as a rising star, but had to stop playing after breaking two vertebrae in his back the summer before his sophomore year, while working for the forest service in Fish Lake National Forest in southern Utah – the force of the axe chopping down those trees sent shock waves up his arms and shoulders to his back, and it was enough to crack the vertebrae. Your Zeus had a “bad back” just like our dad did, with discs between the vertebrae that were too thin, so he was susceptible to this type of injury, though he didn’t know that. As you will read in a story written by one of your Zeus’s childhood friends, he also couldn’t tolerate the behavior of some of the opponents he faced across the scrimmage line and, on campus, would hide the fact that he was a football player (so people wouldn’t think he was a dumb “jock”). You will also see in the stories that follow, that none of his friends considered him dumb.
In the paragraph above, I said that you would see a report of your Zeus’s football reputation – now I will show you the proof: This reprint of the National Preview issue of the 1957 FOOTBALL yearbook was sent me by Richard Rampton, one of my good high school friends and a teammate of Larry on the University of Utah Football team, that testifies to Larry’s excellence as a Utah Freshman football player, and what they thought of his ability for the future – this was, of course, before Larry broke his back.
Causing our Parents to grow old early
Some of the things we did at that age, and into our teens, caused our poor mom, Mary, and dad, Roland (with nickname “Rollie”) who were your great-grandmother and great-grandfather) to grow grey hairs prematurely. Some were funny (at least we thought so) but many were not too smart (as we could see when we got older, but could not see then).
For instance, one winter when we were 9 and 10 respectively, we had several days of very heavy snow and decided it would be great fun to climb up on the roof of Robin’s house (using a ladder set up on the patio in the back of his house) and slide off into a big snow drift that had built up on the left side of the house. We had been doing this for almost an hour when a neighbor, who looked out the window to see what all the commotion was about, called our mom to tell her what we were doing. She came out of our front door on the run and, without bothering to put on her coat, moved quickly up the street to tell us to stop – in fact she was yelling at us all the way up the street, but we hurried to get in one more slide before she got there. Then she led your Zeus and I by our ears back home and we were grounded for the rest of the day. We came away from the experience unhurt, but realized later that we could have broken a leg – the drop was more than 20 feet, and climbing onto a roof covered with snow was not exactly smart.
We were the same age when we decided in the spring to explode a cherry bomb (a really large and dangerous firecracker) in the mailbox on the outside porch of one of our elderly neighbor’s home. When it exploded it blew the mailbox right off the wall, and your Zeus and I, from our vantage point in a vacant lot across from the house, rolled on the ground laughing. We only laughed until we went home, however, because we discovered, much to our horror, that another neighbor (who witnessed the event) called our dad to tell him what we had done. Our dad made us realize that our actions could have caused the elderly couple to have a heart attack, and as punishment, he made us walk across the street the next day to apologize to the couple and pay for the damage with money from our allowance. For boys our age, this was the worst punishment we could receive – we would rather have been spanked, but our dad didn’t do that. It took us more than 15 minutes to walk that short distance, but it was a lesson that neither your Zeus nor I ever forgot.
Other winters when we were teens, we would go out after supper and “hook cars”. This dangerous practice entailed dressing warmly with heavy boots and gloves, and sturdy jackets, then sneaking up behind a car parked at a stop sign and, crouching down and grabbing the bumper, get a wild ride down the snow covered streets until we let go and tried to stay on our feet for another half block. Miraculously, none of us received more than a few scrapes and bruises. Another dangerous trick in the winter was to stand in one of the neighbor’s driveways on 30th street with a pile of snowballs and hurl them at passing cars. Once, Kent Albright included a piece of ice in his snowball and it went through the windshield of a car – of course the driver stopped and chased us down the back alleys and through yards, but never caught us. Zeus and I crawled through our bedroom window, quickly took off our clothes and got into bed. We never played that trick again after that night (but as you will read in a letter below, we did this with tomatoes in the summer – but then had to stop when a taxi driver chased us). By the way, Myron Nalder (whose letter is below) was also with us that night.
As a teen, your Zeus worked in the St. Benedict Hospital, situated further up in the foothills very near Mt. Ogden Park. He washed dishes and pans in the kitchen and had to answer to the nuns who were residents in the hospital. Sister Philomena was your Zeus’s supervisor and she was very strict and made sure he did the job correctly. He worked very hard to do it right. One day he came home with a big grin on his face, telling us that he had gone with the sisters to pick apples, and that they lifted their “habits” (the gown that covered their other clothes) to cradle the apples they were picking instead of putting them in a bucket like your Zeus did – they enjoyed themselves so much that they laughed and danced, and from that moment on, he realized what wonderful human beings these nuns were, and he loved going to his job from then until he left. This experience, and the excellent work that your Zeus did washing dishes, caused all the sisters to come to love him, especially Sister Philomena, whom he went back to visit often, from the time he quit that job through the time he finished college at the University of Utah and left to live in California.
What I have just described is not grey-hair inducing behavior, so why am I including it in this section? It was what your Zeus did as a result of working at the hospital that induced the grey hair in our mom. You have to realize that our mom was very protective of our health and reacted strongly when we were hurt. On his way from work one day, your Zeus found in the trash, a box of old plaster bandages that are used to put a cast on an arm or leg so that broken bones can have time to heal. Your Zeus, however, thought it would be great fun to come home saying he had fallen from a tree and hurt himself, just to get a reaction from our mom. So he had a friend soak the bandages in water to soften them and wrap casts on both of his arms from his wrists all the way up to his armpits. When he walked in the house, our mom almost passed out until your Zeus laughed and said it was a joke. Then she got angry and told him that he had scared her half to death (an expression she uttered far too often as we were growing up) and grounded him for a week. The joke was on your Zeus finally, however, because he had to go to the doctor’s office and get the casts cut off – and our dad made him pay for it from his wages at St. Benedict’s.
Usually, when we did dumb things like this, it was me who paid the price – your Zeus usually escaped punishment, but not always. I will relate two such instances:
1. When we were 14 and 15, respectively, we decided to “borrow” our sister Janet’s car while she was in a meeting at the church (Janet is 8 years older than your Zeus, and is your grandaunt). We “knew” that she would be there for more than two hours, so with an extra set of keys and your Zeus at the wheel, we drove away from the church and into the streets of our neighborhood. After 15 minutes, I began harping at your Zeus to let me take a turn driving. He finally relented and we changed places, but I had driven no more than two blocks before a police car pulled us over (it seems that Janet had left something in the car and left the meeting early to retrieve it, only to discover the car was missing – instead of calling our dad, she called the police). Your Zeus and I were both taken to jail, but because I was driving I got the traffic ticket, and Larry did not. Our dad, when contacted by the police to say that they had recovered the car, and that we claimed to be Janet’s brothers, told them to hold us for another hour to put some sense into our heads – you would think that we would have learned from the experience, but read on!
2. Two years later, when we were 16 and 17, respectively, we decided to play a prank on a grouchy neighbor who lived at the bottom of our street. It was a warm summer night and he was reading the evening newspaper, sitting in a recliner in his living room in his shorts and without a shirt, something he did almost every day. From the story I will tell you below it may not seem like we loved cats, but as you can see from the picture below (when we were about 8 and 9 years old, respectively) where we are cradling four kittens from one of three litters that our female cat, Gertrude, and male cat George Albert, produced – and would never do anything to really hurt a cat (can you pick out Zeus).
But on this evening, we found a stray cat in the neighborhood and your Zeus thought it would be funny if we opened the grouchy neighbor’s screen door (the main door was open) and toss the cat into the house, then run across the street and climb into a big tree to watch what happened. I opened the door and your Zeus tossed the cat in the door, but instead of landing on the living room floor (as we “planned”), it went right through the newspaper and landed, with its claws extended, on the man’s chest. He screamed and raced for the door to catch those who had caused him this trauma. Your Zeus and I (and the two Albright twins) had successfully climbed into the tree, but our less-strong friend, Robin, was seen still swinging up onto the bottom limb, and the man yelled to his son to get his gun and call the police. Then he stood at the base of the tree to keep us from getting down, holding a loaded shotgun in his hands. Before the police arrived, your Zeus slipped down the opposite side of the trunk and took off running – he, unlike our three friends and me, had the courage to run and he knew the neighbor couldn’t catch him; he also knew that the man would not shoot. The police arrived and took us to the police station, then called my dad to let him know I was in custody. In the meantime, your Zeus had come home through the back door of our home and told our parents, “The police took Ernie (my nickname) to the police station, but he didn’t do it.” He confessed to being the one who thought up the prank and actually tossed the cat into the house, but still it was me that sat in the jail for two hours. The police officers that drove us back home (after they found out what happened and that no one was hurt) had to work hard to keep from laughing (they had been teens once, themselves), but your Zeus and I knew we had made a mistake, and we were grounded for two weeks
Your Zeus as a Born Leader
Your Zeus was a born leader who had a great influence on others (as many of the letters from his friends included in this booklet will tell you). Even at the age of 8 or 9, he managed to convince his friends to help him complete a job. I remember vividly a time when our dad told us he would pay us $20 each to trim all the bushes in our back yard (a large sum of money at that time). I began working immediately, but your Zeus did not – he was out sub-contracting with two of our friends to do the job, which they agreed to do for $5 each, while your Zeus supervised and pocketed $10 for his efforts. It was indicative of a budding leadership style that would carry your Zeus to great success in his life.
Two humorous stories also illustrate the widespread influence your Zeus had on his friends:
In his junior year in High School your Zeus broke his jaw playing football, and the dentist wired the top row of teeth to the bottom on both side of his jaw so that his jaw was immobile. Not being able to open his mouth, he had to eat liquid foods and enjoyed milk shakes (no surprise there, right?) and tomato soup (Campbell’s of course). He also had to speak with his mouth closed and at the beginning got angry when others could not make out what he was saying (try that yourself to see how hard it is to be understood). The mark of influence your Zeus had on his friends (and on me), however, was when all of us started talking just like him, first to keep him from feeling bad, but then because we thought it was “cool” (it even spread throughout the entire school beyond your Zeus’s circle of friends, and became known as “Larry-talk”). Even after the wires were taken off his jaw, he and his friends continued for many months to talk that way.
The second story revolves around his broken vertebrae. Your Zeus had to wear a very rigid back brace for almost a year so that the vertebrae could heal, and it was very uncomfortable. But the experience did have a silver lining – your Zeus afterward always walked tall and proud with a very straight spine, and all your Zeus’s friends also started walking like him. He got a big kick out of that.
The determination that became a hallmark of your Zeus’s life surfaced most dramatically after he had surgery for appendicitis when he was about 14 years old. The day of the surgery, the doctor told your Zeus to take it easy for “a few” days, but then made the mistake of saying that he could begin acting normally after that. Larry took that to mean that he could go home that afternoon, so he picked up all his stuff and got in a wheelchair and made his way to our sister Janet’s office in Dee Hospital and said he was ready to go home. Not even the doctor could talk him into getting back into bed. And two weeks later, our mom got a phone call from a neighbor who knew about your Zeus’s recent surgery asking if it was all right for Larry to be pole-vaulting at the vaulting pit that we had built in the vacant lot up the street. Mom ran out the door and made him come back in the house, but your Zeus’s excuse was that the doctor had told him he could act “normal” – little did the doctor know what normal meant for ZEUS. If you ever saw your Zeus without his shirt on, you would have noticed how wide the appendicitis scar was, the direct result of his pole-vaulting too soon after the surgery.
Your Zeus and I as ROTC Students
Your Zeus was an Army ROTC cadet and I was a Navy ROTC midshipman. We graduated with regular commissions (rather than reserve commissions) because we both earned distinguished graduate status. As you can see in the photos of us in our ROTC uniforms on the right, we did look somewhat alike.
After being commissioned a Second Lieutenant, your Zeus left for Fort Benning, Georgia to become a Paratrooper, but in route had his orders canceled because it was determined that the fracturing of his vertebrae would disqualify him for active service. I was commissioned an Ensign in the Navy and reported to a destroyer that would be stationed in Long Beach California. As your dad will tell you, I came up to visit him often in Oakland (sometimes in uniform – which your dad liked me to do). I was fortunate enough to continue in the Navy for 30 years of combined active and reserve duty. Your Zeus wanted that also, and it was too bad that his back betrayed him in this way.
What do you think of the short hair? This style was called the “Beta Cut”, but we had to have our hair cut every other week to keep it “looking nice”.
Your Zeus held the rank of ROTC Cadet Major, and was on the Cadet Battle Group Staff. Part of his duties included standing in a reception line for a formal ROTC dance – that may be your grandmother, Marilyn standing next to him on the right. I scanned this photo from the University of Utah yearbook.
Your Zeus as a very Successful Adult
During your Zeus’s junior and senior years in college, and for about a year after he graduated, he worked at Hibbs (the finest clothing store in downtown Salt Lake) where he developed extremely good selling skills and learned to dress with perfect taste. His shirts were always stylish and pressed and he had a perfect body on which suit coats and ties looked really good. He carried this good taste into his years in the corporate world.
After graduating from the University of Utah, your Zeus went on in his adult life to be very successful financially, using the determination, and management and leadership skills he learned growing up, and the investment skills he developed later. He was the first in his group of management trainees at Kaiser Steel in Oakland, California to get his own office, because he earned the trust of all of the big customers with whom he dealt. He had the reputation of being a “straight-shooter” – when he was asked to fill an order for steel for a building project, the contractor knew the steel would be delivered when your Zeus said it would (others promised the steel for the date a contractor wanted, even though they knew it couldn’t be delivered on that date, just to get the sale). Soon, all the major contractors would only deal with your Zeus. He also carried his lunch to the office and worked over his coffee breaks to read all the company literature about their products so he could be a better salesman, a practice he continued all his life.
His success there got him hired by Xerox in a local office in Oakland as a salesman, but his outstanding management skills quickly became evident and resulted in early promotions as the Bay Area, then California and then Western Division Manager. He was selected as one of only a few “shining stars” at Xerox to go to the company headquarters in Rochester, New York to train for senior management, but the extremely cold winters there (with many, many feet of snow because of the lake effect of Lake Ontario) made him decide not to follow that path.
Then he was hired by the Memorex Company as a sales manager but later was allowed to form his own division in that company (where he hired the very best engineers and scientists he could find to design and build their product). During the period just before he quit Memorex to form the very successful partnership in the agriculture business in Fresno, he was mentioned in national business publications as someone to watch because his division was the only one in the company making a profit that year.
In the agriculture business, your Zeus traveled all over the world to market the Pistachios they grew, and was very successful in finding persons who would invest in his company. In Israel he met personally with Ariel Sharon (who later became the prime minister). He also was in Iran meeting with members of the Royal Family when Muslim extremists began the revolution that toppled the government of the Shah, and on his last trip there, had to endure a taxi ride to the airport through hostile mobs that threw things at the car.
Finally, your Zeus invested in the Summit Water Distribution Company and, besides making a very good investment, helped rescue a company founded by a fraternity brother, Hy Saunders, whose cash flow was tied up in a very vindictive legal suit that was designed to cause his company’s bankruptcy. Your Zeus’s ability to get two sides working together toward a solution was one of his immense strengths. It was with this company that your Zeus and your dad became business partners, something your Zeus enjoyed very much – and he always bragged about your dad. One of your Zeus’s and my fraternity brothers (and a good friend of your dad) talks about this in one of the letters that follows.
No bigger fan of your Zeus than I
To say that I am a great fan of your Zeus would be a gross understatement. I have bragged about him all my adult life, and still do. What is really wonderful is that I found out later in my life that your Zeus also bragged about me. Even now, in our old age, we still treat each other with the same love and respect we did when we were young – no one could ask more than to have such an abiding, warm and very long friendship. Your Zeus is so much a part of who I am and what I feel, that I actually think of us as twins – when he excels, I am as proud of him as I would be with myself; when he suffers, so do I; when he is happy, so am I; when he cries, so do I. The picture on the right was taken at my change of command ceremony in 1988 in Norfolk, VA, where your Zeus flew all the way there to share in my honor, and it is an example of the way that we felt about each other.
I hope that the memories and stories that his friends and I have included here will help you know your Zeus for the wonderful man he is. I also know that he loves you both very much and always delighted in showing me your pictures and smilingly telling me about the fun and exciting things that you were doing. Even though he has lost the ability to tell you himself, he will never forget you in his heart, and neither should you. Take care, grandchildren of Zeus!
With great love and warmth,
Your granduncle, Ernie
Letters from Betas
Listed below are letters and emails from fraternity brothers of your Zeus, and in at least one case, the wife of a fraternity brother who knew your Zeus very well. The numbers next to their names (if they included them) are those assigned when they become active members of the fraternity, and indicate their lineal ranking in the fraternity chapter. For instance, my number is 957 and your Zeus’s is 964. The -kai- is a sign of respect and is the way Beta’s end their letters to each other.
Dear Melise and Natalie,
I knew Larry in the prime of youth–first as one of the real Betas when I was only a pledge. What a guy, I thought. Big and strong was the first impression, of course. Funny and smart came next. And then caring, though that was not a subject that Larry or any of the rest of us were very comfortable with at that age. Most of us were not very serious about many things, but I learned from Larry and his brother Ernie, and Gordy Yates and Mike Mattson and many other Betas, that a bunch of guys could and should care about each other. Larry cared, and was one of the people that taught me to. Fidelity and friendship. We were taught in Beta to not say the words but instead practice them. “Just do it,” as the old Nike shoe commercial used to say. That’s why I care enough to write something about somebody I have not seen for 40 years or so.
Below are the words to a Beta song that I still remember after all these years. I think they should be in this tribute to Zeus. I don’t remember Larry as much of a singer, but I have no doubt that he too was stirred by the words. What a fine guy.
Dan Daniels, 989
|For the staunchest band of brothers
Raise your hands on high
Our fraternity beloved
Beta Theta Pi
Hail the fairest, hail all Beta
Hail in Phi kai Phi
Now the clan to us the closest
Beta Theta PiThis scanned letter is from Joe Butler, whom your Zeus and I knew as “Fatback”, a close and dear friend of us both. His number is 917.
Dear Melise and Natalie,
In the mid-1950’s the Brothers Knowles from Ogden, Utah, bounced into the Beta House at the University of Utah and therein made indelible impressions on all of their fraternity brothers as well as all of their college classmates. Both of these men combined brains with brawn and ruggedness with sensitivity, and the admiration they gained and the friendships they established at the “U” have lasted a lifetime, even though both left Utah decades ago.
These remarkable, fit, and talented individuals appeared to be twins, and like twins, they always maintained fierce loyalty to each other and to their loving parents and sister. When the Utah Betas of the 1950’s reflect on that time in life, the images of Larry and Ernie stand at the forefront. They were born leaders–intelligent, kind, ambitious, and stimulating to be with. Simply stated, they were good guys of the first order
Larry and I were the same age in the same class, and among many other memories, I will never forget how considerate he was when we were returning to Utah with two other fraternity brothers from Army ROTC Summer Camp in Ft. Lewis, Washington. As we anxiously drove through Oregon, the transmission in my car went out, which forced a two-day delay in our trip home. I told my fellow passengers to go on to Salt Lake while I waited for the repair, but Larry insisted on staying so that I would have someone to ride with the rest of the trip. The other two guys took the bus home, but as we waited for the new transmission and then drove home, Larry and I had a never-to-be forgotten discussion on life and its meaning. Obviously Larry’s kindness made a lasting impression.
I’m fortunate to share the same zip code with my grandchildren. It’s so sad that Larry hasn’t had the opportunity to know fully his granddaughters and for the two of you to know him better. I hope, however, that the tributes you receive from his friends and acquaintances from 50 years or more allow you to appreciate the measure of this man and his many qualities.
Yours in -kai-
Mike Mattsson, 968
Dear Melise and Natalie,
I’m so sorry to hear of your Zeus’s illness. Its what we all fear most. He always seemed physically invincible to me. He was a man of life and great joy. I hope you and his family will be all right.
Yours in -kai-
Dear Melise and Natalie,
I first met your grandfather, Larry Knowles, in Mrs. Malan’s seventh grade class at Lewis Jr. High in Ogden. We went on to and Ogden High together and were in the same fraternity at the University of Utah. There is a notorious photo of Larry and me and several other boys doing a ballet dance at an Ogden High assembly program.Larry was always well liked and was often chosen as a student body officer.
Here are two stories that immediately come to my mind. Larry was an excellent football player in high school and was recruited to play at the University of Utah. I asked him why he played there only a short time. He told of lining up against an opposing team and having the player opposite him spit in his face. He said if that was what college football was like; he wanted no part of it.
Once he persuaded me to go on a blind date with him. His sister may have arranged it. Our dates were two girls from a private school in Salt Lake City. We had never seen them before, and they turned out to be plain and plump I was angry with Larry for getting me into the situation. I’m sure he was as disappointed as I was, but he was very courteous and charming to them. His friendly conversation drew them out and put us all at ease Before I knew it, I was having a good time along with the girls. It was a lesson in courtesy and class that I never forgot.
Yours in -kai-
Stephen Tanner, 979
Dear Melise and Natalie,
A few thoughts about Larry “Looper” Knowles – Wow; Larry Looper. Is he one of a kind! I show up at the Beta house in late 1956 as a new pledge from East High thinking I was pretty cool. After all, the Betas, fearing the new pre-season rush format would work against them, had tendered me a bid. They would never have done it otherwise. Well here were all these “Hog Pen” guys from Ogden. I took a look at Looper and thought, “well here’s a big dumb jock they threw a bid to as well”. Boy I couldn’t have been more wrong.
“Big” – that was right on. He saw the sun coming over Mt. Olympus fully an hour before I did. “Jock” – also right on. He could do anything athletically. He was best of course at being a horse at the fraternity Robin Hood costume party. Not only could he run like a deer, but also you couldn’t knock him down with a bulldozer. Where I was wrong though was “dumb”. Dumb he wasn’t. His intellect and his insight into life and people are astounding. He just knows how to handle people. He always senses what is wanted and needed and is such a good guy that he generally provides it.
For me though, the best part of old Looper has always been his magnetic personality. He is always smiling. He bailed “Fats” Brown (another fraternity brother) out of lots of fights, not by fighting, but by making friends with Fats’ antagonists’. Even today, he keeps on smiling. The last time I saw him in the Alzheimer’s care facility in Carmel in 2003 (in the picture with Ernie and me, above) he was – smiling. His personality is so ingrained, that it remains intact. The whole room brightens up when he walks in.
Of course part of that is that he takes up 1/2 the room. I have had so much fun with Looper in so many ways and on so many occasions that my life would have a huge hole in it had he not been there. I so miss that personality in my life today. I just want to thank my great friends, Roland and Mary “Worthen” Knowles for getting together and cooking up my great pal Looper. He is truly one the real highlights of my life and I wish him well in this most difficult time.
Yours in -kai-
Gordy “Grunts” Yates, 955
Dear Melise and Natalie:
I am so sorry to learn that your grandfather, Larry “Hooper” Knowles, is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, and that it has progressed to the point where he doesn’t recognize you or appreciate you. Alzheimer’s is a horrible malady; one that we all hope is understood soon so that we can prevent it from robbing anyone else of their memory. Having practiced as a physician, a urologist, for many years before my wife, Carol, and I were called to be the Mission President of the Canada Vancouver Mission 18 months ago, I recognize that while we have made great strides in understanding and treating many disease processes there are a few that have yet to be conquered, Alzheimer’s being one of the most pernicious.
Hooper was an amazing individual! I haven’t seen him much since our undergraduate days in the Beta House, but he stands out in my memory as a truly great man. His nickname of “Zeus” is so apt! A mountain of a man who was an extraordinary athlete, he was also unflappable in the face of any challenge or crisis. He seemed always to be the eye in the center of the hurricane, a fountain of wisdom. He would thoughtfully consider any challenge which came to relationships between fraternity brothers, or problems they may have developed, and then with great calm deliver a problem-solving solution that resolved the issue perfectly.
All of us looked to him for maturity and wisdom far beyond his years, and he never failed to deliver. We cherish our fondly remembered relationship, and mourn with you that his memory-robbing illness has taken him from us
His nickname “Zeus” is perfect in every respect except the lightning bolt flinging temper, which the original Zeus reportedly had. Hooper was unflappable, unlike the mythical Zeus, and I can’t recall ever seeing him in a rage. He was always totally calm through any storm. He was great!
We wish you the best, and are so happy that your Grand Uncle Ernie reached us. For his and Hooper’s sake, I would like to sign off with
Yours in -kai-
Tony Middleton, MD, 999
A GENUINE ARTICLE
As sad as I am that Larry suffers from such a devastating disease, and I am deeply sad, when I think of Larry I smile. Above all else Larry is real and he is genuine and he is gracious. A true gentleman, a real man, Larry is accomplished and successful and always thoughtful, kind and generous, with deep regard for others. Larry is truly unique.
Always a strikingly imposing figure in any room, he has never been arrogant. He relishes making contact with people and loves being with friends. Through the years he also made certain others of us were able spend time with each other by organizing reunions and other gatherings. He has always been curious and welcoming and easy in his manor. Never presumptions, he has gone to great lengths to learn what others find important and then has thoughtfully taken those opinions into consideration when making his own decisions. Larry has often had clear and strong opinions but never dominated with them. Problem solving with him has always been an open, thoughtful and creative process and one that found resolution. In meetings, Larry would not relax or rest until there was some kind of resolution.
Larry has been successful in what he’s done. He did well throughout his multifaceted career. A good businessman, he has also always been eager to help others find their own success, spending a lot of time and a lot of money helping others get started or helping them get new traction in reasonable ventures. Larry has consistently been both very professional and very personable. Through the parts of his career that I saw, success and making money were important, but not to the detriment of people around him. Relationships became more important than money and his ethics far outweighed any urges in the direction of greed. Not that he wasn’t tough, he was, when he had to be. But he didn’t cross the line.
And what a nice combination of fun loving and getting down-to-business. Issues were seriously, a lot of work got done and there was always time to play and all of us around him have nicknames, a trait that has been always endearing.
To say Larry is proud to be “Zeus” is a deep and abiding understatement.
He is proud to be a Husband, a Father and a Grandfather. Proud enough that aspects of his life became part of many conversations. His pride and respect were nicely available for others of us to enjoy with him.
Tough moments, brutally tough, were those when his disease started to attack his thought processes. It was especially difficult to see him lose his ability to find nouns and without them his ability to describe the persons, places and things that were so important to him. It has been tragic to feel his struggle as he courageously tried to connect. It was such a powerful part of him to connect, making the creeping loss all the more difficult. That said, Larry’s spirit is and will always be pre-eminent. Life and living are much the better for all of us who have experienced the joy of time, association and friendship with a dear friend, great guy and colleague, Larry Knowles.
Mary Ellen and I often speak of Larry. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and all of you, his family.
Yours in -Kai-
Bob Archibald, 980
LARRY “LOOPER” KNOWLES
I am addressing these remarks to Larry’s son Stuart and his grandchildren. You might note that I called him “Looper” not Hooper; I really believe your Uncle Ernie never understood the word and changed it to Hooper. Just a little humor, since your Grandfather would appreciate a little humor, and always liked to have a good laugh.
My memories are long and many with some that will and need to be left out since they are between just the two of us. Some of the memories have passed into history since as I grow older and somewhat wiser I can’t or don’t want to remember some of the college tricks we pulled together.
Zeus, as you called him was pure and simple a MAN’S MAN. He was everything that you would describe a man to be – tall, good looking, articulate, smart, funny when needed, great businessman, good husband, excellent and loyal friend, tough when required and loved life. He loved his Mother and Father and showed them great respect and was a very good brother to his siblings.
I had the honor of being in the wedding party when he married his sweetheart Marilyn. We were all jealous of him to be able to find such a beautiful and talented woman to marry. The party at the conclusion of the wedding was “the best” but I must admit that some of it I can’t recall since I over indulged. They were the “perfect” couple. Not long after she made him into a ballet dancer – can you imagine.
Larry and I were fraternity brothers in Beta Theta Pi at the University of Utah and hit is off from the beginning. He was the football player and I was the worker and the opposite. We had many long talks together about life and our futures. He always had a plan and knew where he wanted to go and what he wanted to accomplish. We worked together, later after his football career ended due to back problems, which I am sure, were with him the rest of his days, at Hibbs Clothing in Salt Lake. There were three fraternity brothers taking care of the sports shop at the best store in the valley, and we could sell ice to the Eskimos.
My career was greatly influenced by Larry since he had gone to work for a very new company called Xerox and I was looking for work in Seattle, Washington. I called him to find out if he could help with any leads and he got me an interview with the Branch Manager in Seattle. I was hired and spent 30 years and ended my career with Xerox. I remember sitting with Larry, Marilyn and little Stuart in their Oakland home having breakfast since I was down there attending school with Xerox and we talked again about the future and where we were going. He had a plan and dreamed big dreams that all came true.
You each should feel honored to have a Grandfather, Father and Brother as talented and of high quality as Larry. I personally will never forget him and his friendship and the words and fun that were exchanged between “brothers”. I am very proud to have known him and appreciate your sadness in his present condition but you each should know that he was truly a GREAT MAN who would have given each of you a big hug and a kiss if he was able.
My only regret is not seeing him and talking with him prior to his present condition but that is my loss for not taking action.
My best to each of you and may you have deep and positive memories about Zeus.
Jim Brown, 972
Dear Melise and Natalie,
I haven’t met you but I know your dad Stuart and I know your Grandpa Larry “Looper” and your grand uncle Ernie very well. They were my idols in high school and Larry was my mentor at the University of Utah. I couldn’t have had a better friend.
I lived with Larry in the Beta house when he was treasurer of the fraternity. When he retired from the job he had trained me well to take over after him. He was the one who got me started in business by teaching me accounting.
He has always been a pillar of integrity and honesty and doing what was right. He also knew how to have fun. He was very funny and fun to be with. Larry and Ernie have always been more than brothers – they have been best friends. You wouldn’t try to do something to one because you would have two strong giants to contend with.
Oh how I would love to return to those days for a while. I can’t even imagine your grandpa any other way than a smart, brilliant and rock-solid person who was the best friend you could have. I am so honored to call him a friend.
He was very successful in whatever he did. His business success is legendary and the University of Utah has been well served by Larry’s financial gifts. He will be hard to live without for you I’m sure, but I know the day will come when you will see your grandpa as he was in the prime of his life…strong and vibrant, playful and reliable…and when you see him again, you will always have him with you.
You are lucky young women to have such a wonderful grandpa and you will have him forever.
Yours in -kai-
John Gaskill, 987
To Larry’s Grandchildren,
Your Grandfather and I where at the University of Utah at the same time and both joined the same fraternity-Beta Theta Pi. Hooper as we called him was a wonderful athlete, scholar, and friend to all. He was clearly a gentle giant among men. There are many wonderful experiences I could mention to you about your Grandfather; however this one I will never forget.
One year I remember playing in intramural football finals against the Sigma Chi’s (“kooks” as we called them). I was playing quarterback and Hooper was playing center. The game was all tied after 4 quarters (0-0). Each team had four plays from the 50. Who made the most yards would win the game. Our rivals were first and after four downs they made Zero yards. Now it was are turn to see what we could do. When we got back into the huddle Larry said, “Jim just run over my back as I fall to the turf”. Sounded good to me because we only needed to make one inch to win. Sure enough as soon as Larry snapped the ball he went right down and I ran right over him. Larry came up with a bruised back and bloody nose. We won the game, but more importantly is the lesson you can learn from your Grandfather. That was the kind of person he was – competitive and willing to lay down his life for a friend.
Larry had a wonderful sense of humor and was bright as hell. He could make anyone feel comfortable around him and was never boastful about his many successes. We all miss seeing are wonderful friend.
Sincerely yours in -kai-
Jim Ellsworth, 960
Dear Melise and Natalie,
When I heard about the illness of Hooper I felt very sad but at the same time I felt joyful that as a college student I had the opportunity to meet and know him. I was older so we didn’t spend allot of time together but I was with him in many social settings and fraternity functions.
To me, the one word that best describes Larry is gentleman. He was always kind and a true gentleman in every situation. By that I mean he always had a high standard of behavior and integrity. To me he was always a man’s man. That’s a very big compliment. I know that my life is better because of the opportunity to know him.
I wish you a great adventure in learning more about your grandfather.
Yours in -kai-
Warren Woods, 903
The letter above is a scanned copy. Bob Pembroke’s number is 894. He was a very good friend of your Zeus.
The letter above is a scanned copy. Dee Wilson’s number is 916. He was one of the “old hands” in the fraternity and was a great influence on both your Zeus and me.
To Melise and Natalie,
Your Grandfather, Larry Knowles, always had a warm greeting and a big hug for his college friends. I was one of the lucky girls to have met him in college. He and your Granduncle Ernie were thoughtful young men and treated girls with respect. May you have joy and happy thoughts of him as you read of the joy he gave to all who have known him. Love and hugs to you from a college friend of Larry Knowles,
Janice Robinson Eiler
To Melise and Natalie,
Larry was such a nice guy to me on any occasion of our being together. The guy from Ogden was a big, strong, handsome man who was very positive, with a very good sense of self. He always looking sharp, especially when he would wear light pants and a long sleeve button-down blue shirt, as he did on so many days at the Beta house. I double dated with Larry and remember the manner with which he treated his dates – with great respect. As his granddaughters, you should know that everyone liked him. He was always sharp and pleasant, and enthusiastically joined in on activities and ensured their success – my love to each of you at this time.
Yours in -kai-
Richard Eiler, 923
Let me add my remembrances of your great brother Larry. My first recollection is of Larry at the Beta House and his handsome, charismatic appearance and personality. He had an aura about him that is unforgettable. I was a pledge at this time, which made him even more impressive.
I did not develop a close friendship with him during College but was blessed to do so during the era of his business involvement with Hy Saunders in Park City. Many were the meetings we both attended when I was CEO of a group in the process of acquiring the Jeremy Ranch complex. Larry and Hy controlled the water in the area and were helpful to me in resolving disputes that existed at the time. Most importantly, it was the beginning of a loving friendship that I hold dear and will never forget. Larry always had the ability to get to the essence of problems. Through business, as well as social occasions, my respect and admiration for him grew with each opportunity to be with him. It was also through this experience that I had the opportunity to meet Stuart, as well as renew and grow my friendship with you. I can’t say enough about Larry’s impact on Hy and Summit Water Distribution Company. It would not have survived without Larry. He was always such a stabilizing influence even under the most challenging circumstances. Larry stayed with us numerous times when in Park City and we truly enjoyed dining and conversing with Larry, Hy, and Stuart. This was one of the richest periods in my life although we all faced numerous hurdles in our businesses at that time.
Larry will always be in my thoughts and prayers and I am so honored to be able to convey this to you and his Family. Ernie, please stay in touch and ask Stuart to keep me posted. You are all a part of my life and Claudia’s, and one we love to renew whenever possible. All the best to you and Pat.
Yours in -kai-
Jerry Howells, 1007
Letters from High School Friends
The following letters and emails are from students from your Zeus’s graduating class at Ogden High School:
To: Melise and Natalie, Family and Friends
From: Steven R. Mecham: Larry’s school friend and retired Superintendent of Weber School District
Childhood memories are the best! I grew up around the block from Larry and Ernie from Elementary through Ogden High School. Larry was in the Darling Street Gang and I was in the Jackson Street Gang. In those days getting together as gangs was just a lot of fun playing games and having contests against each other. He always had a better flipper crutch than I did for rubber band war games. He grew up in the 23rd ward and I was in the 17th ward but we went to the same church together. I remember he was very active through Deacon, Teacher and Priest Quorum activities. Everyone liked Larry. What a terrific personality! He was so easy to get to know and to be around at school. When he started to grow up and get stronger I remember one day when I saw him having a fight with his brother Ernie…but this time it looked like Larry was able to take on his big brother with unbelievable power. He was growing so strong and athletic then that he became our hero on the athletic field. He was an amazing tackle on the football team that won the region championship and played for the State Title. I knew him well in wrestling because we were on the same team together. He won region and state in his heavyweight division. He could throw anyone anywhere he wanted to! I remember that our wrestling team organized a city league basketball team called “Mother Fletchers Five”. One time we challenged our High School basketball team to a game after school (they were undefeated) and we beat them. What a triumph for us and what an embarrassment to them. I was also on the track team with Larry where he excelled again in top form. He was one of the most respected athletes to go through Ogden High. Then we were so proud of him when he went down and played for the University of Utah…doing well again. Lost track of him after that…I went on a mission and our lives went on from there. While he was in High School he was elected a Student Body Officer when I was the Senior Class President. He was always very helpful with our class and student body…what a great leader!!!! We even sang together in a quartet at one of our High School Assemblies. He had talent added to his great strength…he was ZEUS! You can stand tall with pride when you speak of your Grandfather Larry.
I was so sorry to hear about Larry’s illness. We are going through a similar situation with my husband’s father. What I remember most about Larry is what a hunk he was – a great big strong football hero. He always had a string of girls making goo goo eyes at him, and I was probably one of them. I remember him at the 30-year reunion bringing all his pistachio nuts and telling us about his orchard. Tell his grandchildren that he will be greatly missed by everyone that knew him.
Ann Wheelwright Hunter
Dear Melise & Natalie,
I’m sorry to hear that your grandfather’s health is failing. We shared nearly 16 years of growing up in Ogden Utah.
My first recollection of Larry was when we were practicing ducking under our desks in case of a bombing raid on the Quincy elementary school. It’s still there. I believe it is now a catholic elementary school. He and I were very competitive. First under the desk was the winner. The year was approximately 1945.
Two other events in that time frame was the introduction of bubble gum. We didn’t know what it was because of all the shortages, but when it came to town we had great times seeing who could blow the biggest bubble and sticking it in everyone’s hair. Next came rubber inner tubes for tires and we then made “flipper crutches” (actually some call them sling shots, but they were Y shaped and made of wood cut from a cherry tree, with bands from the rubber inner tube attached to the two upper ends and a leather pouch at the end of those bands into which we could cradle a rock or marble). Nothing was safe and we would go to the hollow (at Jackson and Patterson streets) for great times shooting frogs and rodents. Larry was a good shot.
About the 4th grade, our personalities began to develop and was your grandfather ever popular! He had a Paul Newman flair with a strong physique and sharp mind. Everyone gravitated toward him. Especially the girls. Our classes were comprised of 34-40 students all jammed together. We were a fairly rowdy group of kids . Our teacher, Mrs. Jenkins would have Larry choose 4 other students and put on impromptu skits in front of the class. It was very entertaining and she knew that Larry would set the tone for rest of the hour. It worked well for her.
The 5th grade was a doozy. I grew to be 6’2″ that year. Second tallest kid in school. Jim Breitweiser was 6’4″. Could we play basketball???? Yes Yes Yes! As usual Larry was the team captain. We played for the city championship two years in a row.
In the 6th grade we went to the recreation hall and they taught us to dance. The girls all wanted Larry for their partner. It was depressing.
Summertime was quite interesting. We had two gangs consisting of about 15 boys each. The Darling street gang consisted of Larry, Ernie, 2 Albright boys, and Robin Frieze. The Jackson St. gang consisted of 2 Nadler’s, 2 Malan’s, 1 Pledger and Steve Mecham.
We would go to the hollow and play war with the dirt clods from the hillside. It was great fun. A wonder that no one go hurt. We did this for years.
Sometimes Ernie, Larry, moi, and a couple of other guys would pick a few tomatoes from the neighborhood gardens and station ourselves at the side of someone’s home on 30th street. In the evening the cars never stood a chance. Whack, whack, whack,…they would screech to a stop and the chase was on. We knew the alleys and fences and where to jump. Only once did we nearly get captured. We whacked a taxi cab and could that guy ever run. He chased us for about a mile over fences and through back alleys. It scared us greatly and we sort of stopped after that incident.
We did, however, raid the neighbor’s fruit trees from time to time. Apricots, then cherries, plums, peaches and finally apples were plentiful. We had great times sitting telling stories and munching.
Scouting was a hoot. Larry was a fire starter cum laude. We held a jamboree at the park on the Ogden high school playing fields. One of the contests was first to boil water wins. Teams of 3 competed. There were approx 25 teams. Guess who won? We later learned that one of the Albright boys had used a bunch of matches as part of the kindling. What a fire!
Gene Lynch, Des Norton and some of the other dads at our church gatherings provided several memorable trips. They would take about 25 of us in the back of Gene’s big insulation truck up to St. Anthony, Idaho to fish the north fork of the snake river. Great summer of fun catching graylings and trout. We had a wonderful camaraderie.
The 7th, 8th grades were spent at Lewis Jr. high School. (Approx. 450 28th St.) We played ferocious football. Larry was in the backfield and usually ran the team plays. He also was good at baseball. Mostly he excelled at being very popular. I don’t remember if he was class president at Lewis but he was at Ogden. Larry and Gary Millspaw dated the two best-looking girls in our class. We got the leftovers.
About this time our interests took us in different directions. I do remember one day while playing a rough game of basketball in the gym someone knocked me down and I came up swinging. Larry took one on the chin and the game was on. We “duked” it out for about 5 minutes with not much success on either side. Later in health class we sat together and counted bruises.
Larry had a strong sense or right & wrong and stood up for himself at all times. He often took on bullies and was always ready to defend others.
Lewis jr. high burned down and so we spent 4 years at Ogden High. There were over 2000 students. It was I believe in high school that he was chosen from among that crowd to be in the class presidency. Larry played football and we both did wrestling and track.
In the summertime Ernie, Larry, the Albright twins and I worked for Mrs. Larsen. She owned a large orchard on the slopes of North Ogden. We picked cherries, apricots and peaches. She paid us 2-4cents per pound. If you think that was bad…we also moved large rocks from the orchard, placed them on a pallet and drove the tractor to the edge of the property and then unloaded them by hand. We were paid $4.00 per day for such arduous labor (she would pay us with two $2 bills). The highlight came after a day’s hard work. At 3:00 in the afternoon we would all go to Mrs. Larsen’s small reservoir, whoop, holler, and skinny dip for an hour before she would take us home.
Senior year I worked the midnight shift for the railroad and we lost track of each other…
Not much else…oh …Larry and Ernie’s dad took us to the stock yards one day to watch…that was a highlight in our younger years.
Well that about does it. Just a note to let you know that you have a proud lineage. Your grandfather was a good and noble man. You can be most proud. I count him among my good friends.
I wish you all the best.
Pres. Certiclean Corp.
Dear Melise and Natalie,
What a privilege it is to communicate to you concerning your grandfather Larry (Zeus).
My acquaintance with him goes back to the third or fourth grades. I am sure you are aware of his athletic abilities, his wonderful physique, and the great popularity he enjoyed with class mates and friends. I will always remember that flat top haircut which never changed from year to year, or that wonderful smile that was so much apart of his very being. Also he was a handsome young man, especially popular with the girls.
However with all of these wonderful attributes, there is one thing that I will never forget about Larry. That is something that no one can take away, and he will carry it even into the next life. I am referring to his outstanding character, the kind of person that I feel set him apart from many. With all he accomplished and possessed he never let it go to his head. He was always kind, caring, and a gracious person. Arrogance from my point of view was not a part of Larry. He was a down to earth friendly person. He always had time for you, and would give you that friendly warm smile. It was fun to be around Larry because you just felt good to be his friend.
How fortunate you are to have his legacy. I am sure you will carry on with the wonderful attributes of your grandfather. My best wishes to you and your family.
J Brent Minnoch, D.D.S.
The picture of your Zeus and his best friend in high school, Roger Tomlinson (the picture in the printed copy is more clear) – see his letter below.
The letter above is a scanned copy from one of Larry’s best friends. Roger can be seen with your Zeus in the picture above the letter and below – pictures from Roger’s collection and newspaper articles from his own collection.
The picture above is the 1956 Ogden High School first-team football squad. Can you pick out your Zeus (second from left, first row)?
This picture of six MEMBERS OF THE OGDEN HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL TEAM IN BALLET COSTUMES PERFORMING AT AN ASSEMBLY is scanned from Roger Tomlinson’s collection. The boy to the extreme left is Stephen Tanner (who also is a fraternity brother and whose letter is included there); the second figure is Roger Tomlinson and right behind him is Bill Smith. Can you pick out your Zeus????
Your Zeus was chosen as one of two tackles on the high school All-Regional Team. Not shown is his selection to the Utah State All-State Team. Notice that the other two on the team are Bill Smith guard, and Roger Tomlinson, quarterback (and remember both were in the ballet costumes above).
This is your Zeus helping to carry the football coach, Chris Apostle, off the field after winning the Regional Championship game.
The newspaper article above shows your Zeus and the two Malan twins, whose letters are also included below. They were all student body officers their senior year.
This is a scanned letter from Lee Malan, whose picture is in the picture above.
Lee also included this poem from William Wordsworth and one he wrote himself that he though would be appropriate.
The scanned letter above is from Max Malan, the other twin, and also seen in the newspaper clipping above.
This scanned letter is from Carol Conroy Browning, one of your Zeus’s early girlfriends.
My memories of your brother and you mainly relate to football at Ogden High School and Larry’s activities in wrestling.
Larry and I were in the same class, which graduated in 1956. He attended Lewis Jr. High, while I attended Central Jr. on the corner of Monroe and 25th Street. I grew up at 832 26th Street in Ogden and first became acquainted with Larry when we played football at OHS. I played our sophomore year, along with Larry, then got injured my junior year and then played as a senior. I kicked extra points for the team my senior year and got the nickname of PAT (it stood for Point-After-Touchdown as it appeared in the newspaper game summary). Larry always said hello to me in the halls of school and referred to me as PAT.
My most vivid memories of him also cause me to recall that I believe his playing weight was approximately 185 pounds. He was one of the heaviest players on the team, but did not carry any excess weight on his body. He was a solid guy with well-developed muscles. In today’s world we would almost describe him as being “ripped”. He played offensive tackle on the football team, which was coached by Chris Apostle, whom I know had great respect for Larry. His strength and determination made it possible for him to dominate most of his opponents on the other side of the line. He also played on the defensive line. His work ethic was very impressive. I never recall that he slacked off during any of our practices. I can remember him winning many of the wind sprints we would run. Even though he was one of the bigger players, he had good speed for his size. I seem to have some recollection that he might have received the honor of being named to the All-Region team. You could confirm that by checking the records from the Ogden Standard Examiner newspaper, which would have published pictures of those named to the team. He was good enough to have also received honors from the Salt Lake Tribune, the paper that chose the players for All-State recognition.
Ogden in that year had a very good team, going undefeated in our Region in the northern part of the State of Utah. We played East High School in the first round of the State tournament and were defeated. Our top running back, Roger Tomlinson, was not his usual self, having injured a knee just a few days before this big game. Larry and Roger were close friends.
He also wrestled for Coach Apostle, again I believe in the 185lb. class. I was a terrible wrestler and eventually gravitated to serving as the student manager of the basketball team. I recall that Larry wrestled in the State tournament and won in his division, and two of his teammates from the football team won 1st place honors in the State tournament in their weights: Boyd Christiansen at 127lbs. and Larry Canfield at 140lbs. These two lightweight guys were two of our linebackers on the football team. Although they were light in their weight, they were very good tacklers. Another football player who was very close to your brother was Bill Smith, who I learned has died. Bill played alongside your brother on the line.
Larry was also a student leader and was well regarded by most of our classmates. He had a very quick smile and excellent sense of humor.
My religious beliefs convince me that we will have a chance to meet once again, when his body and mind are not dominated by this terrible disease. I look forward to that time.
Submitted by Gary C. Smith
This scanned letter is from Natalie Noblitt, whom your Zeus liked a lot.
Take my hand, Child:
There are dangers at our feet.
I grope the uneven ground
Fearfully and slow.
But you –
(Oh take my hand)
You go with unsuspicious eyes,
With trusting walk.
There are dangers
At our Feet,
And I see them; all.
Take my hand, Child,
Lest I fall.
A poem by Carol Lynn Pearson
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