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.

Dear Ernie,

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.

Sincerely yours,

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.

Sincerely,

Myron Nalder,

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.

Respectively,

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.

 

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.

Dear Ernie,

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.

 

Protection

Take my hand,

Child:

There are dangers

At our feet.

 

I grope

The uneven ground

Through midst,

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

Melise and Natalie-

May you always lead with the confidence of a child.

 

Return to Tribute homepage