There are some guys who make spectacular plays, diving to their left or right to stop a ball, and they are heralded for their flair and athleticism.
And there are other guys, solid guys, who never seem to make the spectacular plays that show up on the highlight reels.
But that’s because they are so professional and so well prepared that they never have to dive for anything. They’re the guys who are positioned so that the ball is always hit straight at them, and they make every play look easy.
Larry Myrold personified that guy, as a husband and father and firefighter and plumber.
Myrold died this past March following a traffic accident. A celebration of his life will take place this Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at Fire Station #1 in Mammoth.
Myrold’s eldest daughter Hollyanne said her father grew up in Detroit and as a single dad, moved her and her sister across the country in 1987, raising them in Mammoth Lakes.
He arrived with some skills – he had already become an apprentice (to his father) plumber by the age of 18. And would evolve into a master craftsman. As Hollyanne says, “The boiler rooms he did in some houses were like … sculpture.”
His daughters, raised on a Mammoth diet of after-school programs and hiking camps and ski and snowboard teams, were sculptures in themselves, carved in large part by their father’s integrity and high moral compass.
Be kind and do right by others. That’s the message he
Little wonder that both chose careers as schoolteachers, in service to others. Hollyanne teaches 2nd grade; sister Christina teaches middle school.
He doubled his family size overnight in 1999 when he married wife Cyndi and gained two additional daughters (Meghan and Jessica) in the deal. Cyndi and Larry dated for several years before marrying. He met her at a Fire Station Open House on the 4th of July while she was serving hot dogs.
Which leads us to Larry’s extended family – the Mammoth Lakes Fire Department. Larry served on the MLFD for 31 years, becoming a Fire Captain in 2005. He had recently been promoted to Acting Duty Chief.
Rick Terrell served on the MLFD with Larry for many years. What sticks out for him is Larry’s presence. “Everything we did – he was there for everything … I was a medic for 25 years. I’d be on a call, snowing , 2 a.m., in a building or under a car, and Larry would always be there. And if you needed A, B or C, he’d have it there for you … “
“I never saw him nervous or scared, regardless of circumstance. He didn’t have any hang-ups or arrogance. He was humble – you couldn’t do anything for him. He wasn’t a great communicator, but you knew what he wanted.”
“I have 250 stories of all the funny and weird stuff that happened during my career … but all the stories involve what happened before Larry showed up to help [fix it and get things sorted out].”
Larry made chaos disappear.
Darin Kaylor echoed Terrell. “Larry would go on almost every call. He was a quiet leader. He didn’t do things fast, but he’d always be there.
Sheet: Didn’t do things fast … as in, methodical?
Kaylor (laughing): He was just slow. Literally.
Terrell also described Larry’s pace as that of a turtle, and yet …
Larry had a sixth sense or a knack of being in the right place precisely at the right time.
Kaylor recalled a time where he was redoing a shower in his Bigwood condo and he began to hear this insistent drip. So he called Larry and described the situation and the sound.
“He was there instantaneously. Within five minutes. And we shut off the valve and ripped it apart,” said Kaylor.
Rick Terrell talked about how he lived in the same cul-de-sac as Larry and how you’d see Larry’s pickup at every house at one point or another. He was always helping his neighbors.
Kaylor said he had a running joke with Cyndi because when Larry would come over to fix things. he’d never send a bill, so Kaylor would just guess at an amount and mail a check.
Andy Boxley, owner of Dean’s Plumbing, describes Larry as “the most-respected man I’ve ever met. He was really important to me.”
It was Larry who was Boxley’s mentor when Boxley was learning the plumbing trade in the late ‘90s. “He taught me everything I know about the trade,” said Boxley.
“The most important thing he taught me was work ethic,” added Boxley. “There are not too many in Mammoth Lakes or Mono County who put in as much time with customers as Larry … if I called him, it didn’t matter the hour. He’d respond and take care of people. There are not a lot of people like that. Really, there’s nobody like that.
… I don’t think there’s been a Thanksgiving or Christmas over the last twenty years that we got entirely off, and there’d be times where I’d be ready to throw it in and say ‘what about us?’ And Larry would pull me back and say ‘This is our job. This is what we do.’
… Larry could outwork anyone. He’d be the guy driving in white-outs to access a customer to get a boiler going. He’d never leave until the job was done. And even if he had to pull an all-nighter the night before, he always made sure to get home and make Cyndi her coffee in the morning.”
What’s toughest for friends and loved ones to accept is that Larry’s passing at 62 years was a few decades too short.
“Larry made all the right choices in life,” observed Kaylor, “and he never got to enjoy it [the fruits of his labor] … but the joke around the fire station was that Larry was always going to work, until we had to pull him out of some crawl space at 98-years old.”
As Boxley said, Larry’s death has “left a massive hole” at Dean’s. “We’re still figuring it out. It’s been rocky.”
As for daughter Hollyanne, it’s still tough every day. “He was my hero. One of my favorite, special people. He raised us all four [sisters]. I always wanted to make him proud.”
A hobby/passion of Larry’s that the family did wish to mention: hockey. Growing up in Detroit, Larry played football and hockey, the latter of which he continued throughout his adulthood. His favorite professional hockey team was the Detroit Red Wings. He played on a local hockey team called the Firebirds for many years.
As Rick Terrell joked, that’s one place where Larry moved fast – on ice.
Larry Myrold is survived by his wife Cyndi, his four daughters: Hollyanne Haeder, Christina Franklin, Meghan Porter and Jessica Lockwood; his three siblings Terri Bream, Mark Myrold and Chrissy Lambert; and his nine grandchildren Nico and Lukas Haeder, King and Culture Franklin, Amelia and Lexi Porter, and Ella, Everett and Ezra Lockwood.
Again, a Celebration of Larry’s life will take place this Saturday, July 17 at Mammoth Lakes Fire Station #1 beginning at 10:30 a.m.