A VERY Sad Day                                                             12-13-2017

                   New Lebanon lost a very important and unique resident tonight. We are mourning the loss of Larry LaFerriere.  Most of you know Larry, if not personally, at least by sight. He was in Stewarts every day with his little walker and many books, greeting people as they came and went.

                   For Larry, his Stewarts Station was much more than a place to go to see folks and get out of the house. It was his pulpit, and his calling. As a devout Christian and compassionate soul, Larry felt called by God to spread His Word and the gift of Salvation. It had become in his declining years, a Mission, his purpose in life. Larry wanted everyone to go to Heaven and he did his best to win as many souls as possible for Christ.  Tonight, he met the God he loved so dearly and I know he heard the treasured words that all Christians hope to hear one day. "Well done, my good and faithful servant". 

                  Larry became a member of my family many years ago, in fact, it was 28 years ago that he first took my son fishing. It was one of numerous excursions they made together over the years. Having never been married or being a dad to kids of his own, Larry dedicated most of his life to kids in need. He worked many years at the Berkshire Farm with troubled boys who all came to love him and call him "Pops".  He taught them about outdoor survival, how to eat off the land and build shelters, appreciate nature, and most of all, how to be GOOD men. 

                  Some people tended to avoid Larry because of his witnessing, but that was their loss, not his. He had some awesome things to teach and share. He wrote poems and short stories about his frequent travels and unusual experiences, and though he was sometimes considered to be elaborating, he wasn't. In all the years I knew him, those stories never changed one iota. Truth remains the same, embellishment never does.

                  My son and Larry remained close friends to this very day. Mike took Larry grocery shopping and to all his Dr. appointments, and some years back, when Larry was undergoing treatments for Prostate Cancer, Mike took him to those treatments every week for over a year. At least once a week, they spent an evening together discussing books and movies, history and the Bible, and of course, politics.  On Wednesday nights, there was a Bible Study at Larry's home that was open to all. It was very well attended!

                 In the past 20 years, we have not had a Thanksgiving, Christmas, or family birthday without Larry at our table. He was family. So tonight, when I was checking in on another Senior and running to Stewarts to pick up a few things for HIM, I saw the ambulance pull into Larry's home. I immediately went over and ran into the house calling Larry's name, only to scare two EMTs who were standing over Larry. I knew the minute I saw him, that he had gone home. The EMT's estimated that he had passed sometime yesterday.

                 I have dealt with unattended deaths a thousand times during my career, but when it is your own, everything you have been taught is forgotten, and you don't know what to do or how to react. So I made the necessary phone calls while I waited for the Investigator and Coroner. There would be no Wednesday Bible Study tonight, or ever again.

                 Larry's only living relative lives out of state, and has passed the responsibility for the arrangements and apartment clean-out to Mike and me. I am honored to do that for Larry, as it is the last thing I CAN do for him.  He had very little, but he gave much.

                  I stayed near until the Coroner took his body away, because I just could not leave him alone with strangers. He would have wanted one of us to be there, even though he himself is in Heaven with his God. Bob came and joined me there, as Mike was out of town, and other friends also stopped to offer condolences. It was much appreciated.  We will miss you, Pops, but we take comfort in knowing that you are happier now than you have ever been in life.  Christmas will not be the same this year, there will be an empty chair at my table.

                Thank you Scott Larabee and Wayne Martin, you know what for. 

    I will post the arrangements as soon as we get everything in order.