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.

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