On April 23rd, family, bridge players, film buffs, softball coaches and many, many friends, from near and far, gathered at the Twin City Bridge Center to celebrate the life of Larry Oakey.
And what a celebration it was! Despite grief and shock at losing Larry so suddenly, those emotions were overwhelmed by love and laughter as we remembered him. With standing room only, many shared TGLO stories - bridge experiences of triumph or disaster, Larry's devotion to girls' softball coaching and other sports, his vast knowledge and love of film - and his omnipresent sense of humor.
A common theme throughout was Larry's constant giving. TCBC owner Teri Blu recounted the countless hours that Larry spent there, managing, helping, playing, teaching, mentoring ... anything and everything, and always doing it so very well. Ron DeHarpporte, friend of over 50 years, told tales from years gone by, regaling us with so many of the Oakster's accomplishments and the crazy stories that young bridge players perpetrated.
His film fans - and there were many - described Larry's passion for movies. And they added how, just as he did in the bridge world, Larry was constantly giving - even going through theaters to clean up and help out!
Larry's family, brothers Bill, Steve and sister-in-law Donna, told of the young Larry - and their pride and happiness in hearing of how beloved he was by so many.
In typical Bridge Center fashion, a fine buffet was enjoyed. The only flaw was that TGLO, who always relished them, was not there to partake.
As you look through the photos below, you will see loads of big smiles. This was indeed a day of joy - a celebration of a true "one of a kind" and incredible man.
Larry, thank you for being such a treasure to so many for so long. We are forever grateful for all you were. You are in our hearts forever.