Remembering Larry

Andy Morriss —  25 December 2011

It is hard to imagine a world without Larry. I had the privilege of being his colleague at Illinois for four years and getting to interact with Larry regularly was among the best things about that time. My office was between his office and the coffee machine and he’d regularly stop in, casually toss of an observation worthy of being written up as a chapter in a book, and then head off to write a book while I was digesting his observation.  We traveled together to Hong Kong and Singapore, which let me see him in action as a photographer, yet another impressive talent.

He was the ur-law professor. Larry read more, wrote more, and thought more than just about anyone else. He had strong opinions about everything, always backed up by a comprehensive reading, careful analysis, and a relevant line from a film. Best of all, he had no hesitation about telling people their ideas were stupid. I may have eventually lost the title, but at least for a time I knew that I had offered “the stupidest idea” Larry had ever heard, which he made sure I knew was a real achievement. But attaining that record didn’t stop him from stopping by the next day to see if I’d surpassed myself or from being willing to read my next piece. An honest friend is one willing to tell you that you are an idiot when necessary, and Larry was always an honest friend.

Larry wouldn’t accept less than the best from anyone, including himself. We’re all the poorer for his untimely death; we’re all the richer for his body of work and his influence on so many. His kindness and generosity knew no bounds.

I suspect he’s already been named Associate Archangel for Research in heaven and doubled scholarly output there.

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