Passed away peacefully on February 14 at the age of 79. Larry will be forever missed by his long-time partner Valerie Sooley, daughter Lori (Malcolm Cairns), sisters Meta and Marguerite, and brother Clifton. He will also be missed by his stepdaughter, Sarah Nugent (Tyler) and granddaughters Sydney and Shelby, as well as sisters-in-law Loretta Forsyth, Joan Bursey, and Eleanor Bennett.
Born in Moreton’s Harbour, Notre Dame Bay, the home of his ancestors for two centuries, to Lloyd Small and Dorothy (Boyd), Larry killed his first and only seal at the age of fifteen: the gaff was a dogwood selected from the woods by his father and the hook crafted by the community blacksmith. Larry trained as a teacher eventually going on to complete a PhD in Newfoundland folklore from the University of Pennsylvania. All of his field research was conducted in Newfoundland outport communities where he did extensive work on various aspects of Newfoundland culture. Larry made many friendships during his years teaching folklore at Memorial University of Newfoundland, colleagues and students alike, and he spent many a happy afternoon in the Breezeway bar. He loved nothing more than spending time sharing stories and music with his cherished friends, new and old. Two of his best-loved publications were the sealing anthology Haulin’ Rope & Gaff and his collection of poems Around the Red Land. An excellent cook, he was a lover of long reflective walks in the woods, art, and music. Larry was a truly trusting and devoted friend to many. He was always willing to sit at the table and listen to anyone who needed comfort, and many will miss that experience.
A special thanks to the staff at the Private Josiah Squibb Memorial Pavilion long-term care home in Carbonear who took such good care of Larry during the last year and a half of his life. Due to ongoing Covid concerns, a celebration of Larry’s life will take place at a later date when travel restrictions are lifted.
‘Some day, through various stages of ashes and dust,
We shall be back in earth together,
And resume our conversation.’
– David Elliot