Larry Lord Joyce Rodriguez photo

In the days before Larry Lord died, he started to write his own obituary.

“I suppose it surprised you more than it did me,” Lord wrote. “I had been sick for about a year, but certainly wasn’t going to tell anyone. Don’t mourn my passing, I’ve been to too many somber services over the years and that’s not what I want.

“I knew I had reached the bottom of the ninth and this was not going into extra innings, so I was fully prepared. Don’t be sad. Instead, pull up a chair, pour yourself a cold one, and let me you tell you why I’m totally at peace with the end of a very rewarding life. I loved hearing other people’s stories but rarely told my own.”

Lord died on Jan. 30 after battling lymphoma for more than a year. He was 76.

He was remembered by friends Tuesday as a kind and gentle soul.

Mr. Lord’s career in education spanned nearly 25 years. He graduated from Gorham State Teachers College in 1967, and began teaching science and coaching basketball and baseball in Porter. In 1969, he joined the Army and served 18 months in the Mekong Delta during the Vietnam War. He earned a Bronze Star and two Army Commendation awards.

“I didn’t talk about it very much, but I was proud of my time in the service,” Lord wrote in his obituary. “That experience instilled in me a deep appreciation for people who sacrificed throughout history in peacetime or in war to preserve the freedoms that we enjoy to this day.”

Mr. Lord later resumed his career as an English teacher, guidance counselor and special education teacher. He became the assistant principal and athletic director at Sacopee Valley High School, and was principal of the high school from 1981 to 1992.

His friend Joyce Rodriguez of Cornish said Tuesday he was a firm, but fair principal who was always present for his students. She said Lord would go home after a long day at school, change clothes, and go back to the school to support the athletic teams.

“He loved the ability to identify a strength in every student and encourage them in that direction,” Rodriguez said. “He would sit down with parents. He would introduce kids to new experiences. He took a group to London once.”

He was married to Mary Lord for 19 years. The couple married in 1976. She died in 1995. “She was my special angel on earth, and we had far too short a time together,” he wrote in his obituary.

“Anytime one of his practical jokes got out of hand, she could bring him right back in line by lifting her eyebrow,” Rodriguez said laughing.

Mr. Lord retired in 1992 and began a second career in real estate at Pike, Lovejoy & Howe, known today as Cote & Howe Realty. Rodriguez recalled the year he led the team in sales and was named salesperson of the year.

“He was very good,” Rodriguez said. “He had taught the families in the five towns. He knew everybody and they trusted him. When it came time for one of his students to buy their first home, they went to him. He was very successful.”

Mr. Lord retired again in 1999 and pursued his passion for community service. He helped raise money for the Brown Memorial Library renovation in Baldwin and delivered food for the Meals on Wheels program.

Rodriguez said he was always helping people, including her. Rodriguez said he mentored her when she started her career in real estate.

“He was always looking for an opportunity to give back to the community,” she said. “He had a tremendous impact.”

Another friend, Maggie Hoxie of Cornish, said he was a wonderful person and dear friend.

“He loved everybody, and everybody loved Larry,” Hoxie said. “When he would stop by the house for a visit – I have my chair, my husband has his chair, Larry would pull up the rocking chair and sit between us. So, he had his chair too. I knew I could call Larry anytime for anything and he would come. You could depend on him. He would drop whatever he was doing to help anyone.”

Friends say Mr. Lord was diagnosed with cancer about 18 months ago and his health began to decline last summer. Rodriguez said she will miss his friendship and surprise visits.

“Larry paid attention to you,” she said. “You could tell him five years ago that your favorite flavor of ice cream is butter pecan, and he would remember that for the rest of his life. When he spoke with you, you were the only person in the room. He gave you 100 percent of his attention.

“I’ll miss him walking into our house, helping himself to a glass of wine. Sometimes my husband and I would come home from somewhere and he would be sitting on our couch, having a glass of wine. He had the TV on and was watching the news, waiting for us to come home. It was such a compliment to us that he was comfortable to just walk in.”

Related Headlines

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: