Obituaries

Lawrence Johnson, 80, of Middlebury

LAWRENCE JOHNSON

MIDDLEBURY — Larry Milo Johnson excelled at life from the day he was born on April 8, 1942, until he left his earthly body on May 20, 2022.

Growing up on his family farm in Weybridge with his beloved brother, Bob, sister, Jackie, parents and extended family, instilled a lasting love of nature, animals, and a true appreciation for Vermont as it was in his youth and is today.

Larry was devoted to his family and would make yearly treks to Florida to help his mother and sister with household projects. The Florida visits often required a restorative stop in the Great Smokey Mountains on the way there, on the way back, or both.

His nieces remember outings with their “cool” uncle to swimming holes and “hotspots” around Middlebury in their youth. Larry and his brother Bob were extremely close until Bob’s death in 2019; Larry expressed his hope that Bob would be waiting for him on the other side.

As dedicated as Larry was to his family, his friends were the strong, predominant and colorful threads in the tapestry of his life. Some of these friends share stories of time spent with Larry that illustrate the depth and enduring nature of his friendships.

Bud, a lifelong friend, fondly remembers leaving Vermont with Larry to seek their fortunes in California. The two adventurous guys made a detour to drop Larry’s dad off at his brother Bob’s in Washington, D.C., in January of 1961 and were unimpressed that John F. Kennedy was being inaugurated while they were there, although they did watch it on TV.

The two of them lived on next to nothing on the way out, but finally made it to California. They mooched off Bud’s aunt for a couple of months until they made just enough money for the trip back to Vermont. They came home very broke but “very worldly” eighteen year olds.

The rock ledge at the end of the Otter Creek Gorge is “Larry’s Rock” remembers good friend Victoria, and everyone knew that Larry could always be found at Green Peppers on a Friday night with his dear friend Alex.

In the spring of 2000, Larry and Irene, another good friend, hiked six miles down the Grand Canyon and six miles up in the same day. They managed to rehydrate themselves with beer and tequila. Larry loved traveling and hiking, especially in the American West.

Kathleen, another dear friend, describes Larry as an “excellent raconteur, delighting all with humorous stories of his own experiences or those of his forbears.” She remembers his knowledge of local history was deep and full of affection. His love of philosophy was a constant in his life.

As a freelance writer and photographer, Larry’s creative work was published in numerous magazines. His weekly column, “From Where I Lie,” was published in the Valley Voice for decades. At the time of his death, Larry was in the process of creating the ultimate legacy for his family and friends — the production of books encompassing his short stories, which capture the beauty of Vermont, the compilation of the best of his weekly articles, and even a children’s book.

In many ways Larry was larger than life, but the kindness he extended to people and all living creatures made him truly special. A man with a dry wit and ability to bring humor to any situation, people gravitated to Larry throughout his life, severely limiting his lifelong ambition of becoming a hermit.

He is survived by a large extended family who adore him, cherished ex-loves, including his ex-wife, Elaine; close friends, including his life-long best friends, Kirk and Bud, his favorite person, Linda; and his devoted cat, L.C.◊

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