Larry Mahlum

24 Aug

The last few days, I’ve been in San Diego. My good friend and former college roomate, Larry Mahlum, died. He had colotis which developed into colon cancer and matastasized throughout his body. I got to talk with him, briefly, before he died. His father contacted me about a Memorial Service for Larry at the University of San Diego. I flew out and joined his family.

Larry’s memorial service was very nice. Joe Tokarz, a friend of Larry and mine from the Marine Corps ROTC at UT, sent a framed picture of Larry in his dress whites. It was beautiful and was front and center at the reception. Everyone there wanted to know what Larry was like in his earlier days. It was nice to meet so many people who dearly loved him. There were a few people who spoke at the reception and during the service. I was one of them. Below is what I said:

Larry has been my friend for a long time. He has seen too much of my life. And in his quiet way, thank heavens he didn’t get me on the Jerry Springer show.

I met him in the Marine Corps ROTC. He was a very determined and focused individual. He had a clear mind of what was right and wrong. He would hang back and help others rather than push for the top spot. He encouraged those around him, and they loved him and excelled because of his care and respect.

After which, we were roommates (me, him, and a 7 ft long snake). He was with me through my ups and downs (an ex-fiance, my wedding, then children). And when my wife was being treated for cancer in Houston, he was the quiet companion we could handle seeing.

When we moved across the pond to England, Larry shortly followed with a visit while studying abroad. As usual, his time with us was very easy and relaxed.

My children love and call him uncle (especially when they are pirate fighting). My wife loves him like a brother. And me, he was much more. He was my quiet hero.

I wish I could also include the writings of what others said, but I thought the above would be nice to share.

2 Replies to “Larry Mahlum

  1. Guy, I just read your blog and was shocked to learn that Larry has passed away. I met Larry in Austin, Texas, where we became fast friends–working together at a real estate appraisal firm. Last time I saw him was in ’99 when he came to Baltimore to visit. I was attending grad school at Johns Hopkins, and he was traveling on business. We spent a few hours together and he went on his way back to Houston (I think). When I graduated, I moved back to Arizona, married my college boyfriend and hoped to stay in touch. (In usual Larry style, he sent a letter to my workplace congratulating me on my nuptials and new full-time job.) The years to follow were challenging; I lost my dog, Sharky, (who Larry loved) and my wonderful father to cancer, and just never followed up on my desire to keep in touch with Larry. Today, with summer starting–prime running season–I thought of Larry again, and searched to see what he was up to. Words cannot describe my surprise and grief; I am so saddened to hear of his passing.

  2. Hello Sandra,

    I can only imagine the shock you are experiencing. Even though this will be the second summer since Larry’s passing, I still find myself thinking back to the surprise of finding out he was in hospice. By the time I had arranged travel to San Diego, he had passed away. I was able to briefly talk with him before he died.

    Communication with Larry was sporadic. Sometimes we’d talk regularly for a week or two. Other times, we’d have a gap of four to six months. From my past discussions with his parents, Larry’s cancer escalated quickly. It was a matter of only a couple of months from diagnosis. I think the only folks who had time to learn about his illness were his law school colleagues at University of San Diego.

    We have missed him these past two years. We normally saw him once a year. When we lived in Austin and he was in Houston we would see him multiple times in a year. Gabriel grew up sword fighting Larry. To this day when I climb a mountain (like Snowdon or Carrantouhil), I think about him at the top. He was a dear friend who we love and loved. As my wife so eloquently puts it, ‘We are heart sick over losing him’.

    I do hope sharing thoughts on Larry has been helpful. I know it can be bittersweet.

    Warm regards… Guy

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