I learned today that one of my favorite high school teachers, Tony Larimer, is battling lung cancer. He’s currently in hospital back in Utah, trying to overcome a bout with pneumonia.
Tony always loomed large to me. He is one of my most vivid memories of my time at Rowland Hall-St. Mark’s School: a tall man with distinct, owl-like eyebrows, a wide smile and a deep, commanding voice. He was easily the tallest person on campus back in the days when RHSM’s entire student body (pre-K through grade 12) was shoe-horned at 205 First Avenue. And he must’ve been something, because he was the one who married Mrs. Newman – the “Band-Aid Lady” – and created the power couple of acting on the school campus.
To generations of RHSM lower school students, Mr. Larimer is the Grinch, with his wicked facial expressions bringing Dr. Seuss’ character to deliciously wicked life. He was also equally at ease talking to a 6 year-old or a 16 year-old, and always made sure to reassure the young folk that he was, indeed, a kind Grinch.
To similar generations of RHSM upper school students, Mr. Larimer is the man who instilled in them a love of The Bard, who relished sharing his love of acting and marrying it to a love of English literature. For any RHSM upper school student who happened to take Mr. Larimer’s “British Foundations” course, the following Shakespearian passage is permanently etched into his mind:
“To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow; a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
— Macbeth (V, v, 19)
He also was the director of the upper school musical for many years, and I’m honored that I was the set designer and first chair pit orchestra for the last work he directed, The Pajama Game.
And he has always been a vocal supporter of RHSM. As co-chair of the alumni association, Tony and Marie are often traveling cross-country to catch up with alumni who have made homes in other parts of the USA. I’m really glad that sprite got to meet Tony and Marie in Boston a few years ago.
And now Tony is fighting against a most cruel foe. He is strong, he is determined, and he knows that he does not fight alone.
Give those cancer cells hell, Tony!