One of the titans of Tacoma journalism has left us. Larry LaRue was one of the most recognizable names in the business around the Puget Sound for nearly 30 years. On Monday, Nov. 6, Larry passed away. The world of journalism is a little diminished by his absence, and we no longer have one of the nicest guys in the world around us any longer.
Fortunately, Larry’s work will always remain in black and white print, as well as the Internet. For that we should all be thankful, because he was one of the finest writers this world has offered up in modern times.
Above all that, Larry was one of the kindest people you could ever meet.
When Larry came to work for the Tacoma Weekly a couple of years ago, he wasn’t interested in jumping back into the world of sports that he knew so very well. After decades of covering athletics at their highest, he had found a voice doing the sort of people pieces that warm the heart. His stories were almost always the most-read articles that appeared on our website.
Larry spent nearly 30 years at The News Tribune, before retiring in 2015. Prior to that he was already considered one of the best in the business as a beat writer for the Anaheim Angels, Los Angeles Rams and the L.A. Lakers. His years covering the Seattle Mariners were filled with the sort of stories that a reader could sink their teeth into, even though he somehow had to muster up nearly a couple of hundred different pieces and flavors from the team every year.
I began reading Larry’s work as a freshman in high school. He was, and always will be, one of my favorite writers from Tacoma. Along with the likes of John Clayton and Don Borst, Larry spoke to me through his work. He had always had the best leads ever, and managed to turn the lousiest of Mariner outcomes into an interesting read.
Facebook and Twitter exploded with words of love, praise and sadness for Larry last week. When news reached me, my wife and I made sure to raise a toast to him at dinner later that night. It was followed by the second round of tears that I shed for the man in a few hours.
I didn’t know Larry very well. He wasn’t with the Weekly for a long run, but we were enriched by his presence whenever he was in the office. I was blessed to share an office with him for a short while and the man exuded a pleasantness about him that I can’t really compare to anyone else that I have worked with. He had a great laugh and I’ll remember it always.
Seattle Mariners legend Edgar Martinez summed it up perfectly in a Twitter post following the news of his passing. “So sorry to hear Larry passed away. He was one of the best people I ever knew. We will miss you Larry!!”
There are many of us who have family, loved ones and friends that aren’t in the best of health these days. I urge everyone of you to reach out and let them know just how you feel about them, and if there’s anything you can do to help them, there’s no time like the present.
Larry “Lash” LaRue was 68 years old. Thank you for sharing your world with us.