Lawrence (Larry) George Small

June 6, 1941 to February 14, 2021


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.  A Celebration of Life for Larry will be held at the Legion Pleasantville Branch 56, 930 The Boulevard, St. John’s on September 25, 2021 at 2 – 5pm.”


‘Some day, through various stages of ashes and dust,

We shall be back in earth together,

And resume our conversation.’

 – David Elliot



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Valerie : sorry I can’t make to the celebration of life for Larry , came down with a cold , but thinking of you all today , God Bless. Bonnie

Small Family,

Sorry to hear about Larry’s passing. Funny, I only did one Folklore course at MUN, and Larry was the Prof. He was one of my favourite, if not favourite Prof’s that I had at the university. He made learning fun and it was cool to learn about the NL. culture in the late 70’s.

God Bless Larry! I’m sure you’re having a couple of cold Dominion’s or Black Horse’s right now!

Brian O’Grady
Barrie, ON.

An amazing Prof! One of my all time favs. Sorry for your loss.

It was with the heaviest of hearts that we learned of Larry’s passing. We will always treasure the memory of the seal dinner at our house – his book launch at Breakwater and the many chance meetings where the twinkle in his eye betrayed whatever salty greeting he chose to give us. Val – we wish you all the best and please keep us in mind when the time comes to celebrate his life. Jeff and Mil

Valerie, so sorry for your loss. You are lucky to have wonderful memories !
RIP Larry !

So sorry to hear of Larry’s passing. I met Larry in early eithies at a club he use to frequent a nicer man i have never met.. Great storey teller and turned out to b a great friend.. RIP my friend.

Val, so sorry to hear of Larry’s passing. Always a friendly face and a story to tell when we lived across from you. He will be missed by all who knew him.
May he rest in peace.

Hey Val….so so sorry to hear about Larry…..hope you’re doing ok….miss you so much!!!

So sorry to hear of Larry’s death. I knew him well at University and afterwards.. Loved the quote from my friend David (Smokey) Elliot’s poetry. Smokey and I shared living accommodations while at MUN. Larry will be very much missed. He was a force!

Val ,
We are so deeply sorry for your loss. We hold our memories of Larry in our hearts.
All of our memories of him include smiles and laughter!
He Will surely be missed by everyone who had the pleasure of meeting him!
A very special individual.

I am smiling remembering Larry’s voice and manner of delivery of the spoken word. Much love to you from Corner Brook.

So sorry to hear of Larry’s passing.
My thoughts are with you and your family at this sad time.
Take comfort in the happy times you shared together and treasure all your wonderful memories.
They will be a great source of comfort to you in the days ahead and will stay with you forever.

Deepest condolences to all of Larry’s family and close friends. I have many fond memories of Larry from the March Hare and other cultural events. His voice will be missed by many.

So sorry to hear of Larry’s passing. A wise, gentle, creative man. Condolences to his family and friends.

Our deepest condolences to the Small family.
We cannot say that we knew Larry well ,but we always looked forward to, and and thoroughly enjoyed our occasional meetings on Jimmy Rowe’s Trail. which usually resulted in a great yarn and a laugh. We only hope that ha enjoyed our company half as much as we did his.
Walk on Larry.
Gerald & Ruby

Valerie, Lori, and family,
I first met Larry from Morteton’s Harbour following the 1978 release of the excellent book “Haulin Rope and Gaff: Songs and Poetry in the History of the Newfoundland Seal Fishery” which Larry co-authored with Shannon Ryan.
It was an awesome and important publication.
1978 was my first year at Memorial and I was so happy to have had the good fortune to engage with such a dynamic, knowledgeable and incredibly talented individual.
Larry was a wealth of knowledge and always happy to share his knowledge in his uniquely engaging way of both educating and entertaining..
We will all so miss Dr.. Larry Small- Pace Requiescat

Meta, I send heart felt condolences to the loss of your brother. May you find comfort in his accomplishments in his journey through his life, “Grief is only a passage, not a place to stay”. Take care

To Larry’s family: I was so sorry to learn of Larry’s passing. He and I were classmates at MUN in the early ’70s doing our M.A. in Folklore along with Margaret Bennett, Wilf Wareham, and George Casey. The others were much younger than I but we became good buddies., even though I could not sing, play music, or dance!Our ways parted after graduation but for years we got together for a long, long lunch whenever Margaret was here from the U.K. Missed Larry’s presence in recent years. God bless. Hilda Chaulk Murray

Valerie, we are sorry to hear about your loss, and send you our fondest wishes from across the ocean.

Dear Valerie & Small family,
Thinking of all of you at this heartbreaking time .He has been on my mind a lot during the past couple of weeks. We shared lots of laughs and great yarns over the years. You knew you were in his good books when he showed up with one of his precious salt fish. And then he would tell you how to cook it!!
I was always so happy to see him. xo

Our condolences to Valerie and family. Larry will be missed by all of us.

I was so sad to hear of Larry’s passing. I worked closely with Larry at the Department of Folklore at MUN for many years. He was a kind, gentle man who was respected by all. His classes were always filled to capacity because the students adored him. He held nothing back and students considered him not only their professor but their buddy. To Lori, Valerie, Meta Clifton, Marg and other family members, I share in your grief. Hold Larry in your hearts and he will always remain with you. RIP my dear friend.

A wonderful man has left us

I was so sad to hear about Larry’s passing. My sincere condolences to all of Larry’s family and friends.

Larry was, first, my student, and then, for many years, my colleague with an office next to mine at Memorial’s Folklore Department. I learned much from his love and deep understanding of Newfoundland outport life. He inspired several generations of students. My condolences to his family, friends and loved ones.

So sorry for your loss..treasure the memories

I remember Larry as a kind and gentle person, of great sensitivity and integrity, unfailingly loyal and principled. He had the loveliest, most twinkling eyes, and a wicked sense of humor. My condolences to Valerie and Lori and all those who loved him and were loved by him.

Valerie, Lori, Meta, Clifton, and Margie, So sorry to hear of Larry’s passing. We all grew up in Moreton’s Harbour and enjoyed so many wonderful times together from playing on the wharf and getting in the way of our fathers who were putting away the fish to playing Sailing in the Boat down on our grassy spot.. Meta, you and Larry liked to get up early in the summer mornings and I remember my mom calling me up out of bed and saying Get up Betty…Larry and Meta are out in the garden. Wonderful memories . Deepest sympathy to you all!

Although Mr Small and I were separated by the decades and are stylistically quite different in our literary output, I can certainly appreciate his background and perspective. Like Larry, I was born in Twillingate and reared in Moreton’s Harbour. My mother sang with him in the United Church choir in the 1950s and early ’60s. He also taught at the high school I would attend a decade later. I am truly amazed that our paths never crossed during my days at Memorial University. Ironically, I do believe the last time I saw him was at a funeral or viewing in Moreton’s Harbour. Having devoted so much of his life to folklore and the preservation of this province’s past, I think it is safe to say that Larry shall be remembered by all and sundry who appreciate remembering. Our sincere condolences to his family and friends.

Vanishing hometown—
the harvest moon wasted on
boarded barn windows

Prime ore depleted—
surnames preserved in granite
and dusty yearbooks

Dear Meta, Margie and all members of Larry’s family, Deepest sympathy on the passing of your brother. While the death of a loved one is never easy, it is made even more difficult in this unprecedented time. I know that the wonderful memories you treasure and the support of family and friends will give you strength and comfort. Larry will always be with you-in your hearts .You will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers especially in the days ahead. God bless.

To Val; Our thoughts and prayers go with you today in the loss of you best friend all soul mate, Larry. We share in your loss today since he was such a true friend to all with whom he came in contact. We will all miss his humour, his old sayings, his passion for the preservation of our NL heritage.

Valerie and family, Lori, Meta, Margie and Clifton. Sorry to hear of Larry’s passing. I have fond memories of our conversations over the years as he always enjoyed sharing his knowledge of our culture. Thinking of all of you at this difficult time. Take care.

George Bugge
Salmonier Line

so sorry to hear of your loss, especially now when we cannot do anything, it is an important part of the grieving process. He picked a good day to die!! will always remember this date

Deepest condolences to Larry’s family on his passing… we have such .fond memories of our good friend.

To the family of the late Larry Small
We are so very sorry for your loss,,we only knew him for a short while ,but he was a wonderful man and he truely loved Newfoundland . God be with you all he is now free from painting and suffering.

Deepest condolences to Larry’s family on his passing.Larry grew up not far from our home town,Bridgeport,on ,New World Island.My son,George,was fortunate to have him as a prof at MUN.George wrote a paper for his class on work ethic,on me,growing up on New Word Island..Mary Jones Ellsworth,Stephenville,NL;Alma Jones Burgess,Vineland,ON; Frazer Jones,Grassie,ON;Allister and Jean Jones ,Carter’s Cove,NL

My condolences as you mourn and celebrate Larry’s life!The first time I met him he was a candidate for the ministry in UCC and serving in Glenwood!The last time I saw him was 2 years ago and found him as I always did with incredible humor and wit, intelligent and vivid ,lively conversationalist with an interest in so many things and ideas! Always appreciated him!Best wishes and prayers!

My heart and thoughts are with you all during this time of loss. Larry, I wish you fair winds and a soft following sea …..wherever you may be.

Val & the Small Families:
Sincere condolances. Admirable men those “Small” fellows from Moreton’s Harbour.
Harry Tibbo

Dear Meta and family;
We were so sorry to learn that your dear brother had passed away. We never had the pleasure to meet him, and after reading all the condolence comments about his intelligence, knowledge of Newfoundland folklore, kindness and sense of humour…… sadly, that was our loss.
I know from experience Meta, that your brother will never really leave you….” just whisper his name in your heart, and he will always be there “.
Our heartfelt sympathy to you, and your family dear friend.

Bill and Bonnie Sinnott

One of the funniest men I have ever had the fortunate to know and have as a professor. In an introductory folklore course, he once said that if your spouse does not appreciate your need to have an afternoon nap, then they are probably not the right spouse for you. Awesome advice! His recollections of NL traditions and cultural heritage taught this CFA to appreciate and love this province as if it were her own. My heartfelt thoughts to his loving family.

Valerie and all of Larry’s family,
So sorry for your loss, I only knew him since he came to the LTC home and it was no trouble to tell he was a fine man with great Wit.

So saddened to learn of Larry’s passing. I have known Larry since 1974 when I took a folklore course from him. He being from Moreton’s Hr and my family coming from Exploits, just a stone’s throw away, gave us an instant connection. He always referred to me as ‘Butt”, never ‘Bill’. I went on to complete my Folklore/English BA and Folklore MA; Larry’s passion for the NL soul and spirit was instrumental in that. There are so many classes (occasionally held at a favorite pub), house parties, Breakwater Books launches other great memories. We co-edited Breakwater’s ‘Voices Through Time’, a school system text, some years later. Always a gleam in his eye, and an enthusiastic yarn; he was a natural humorist. I believe he completed some divinity courses, then a B Ed. before going on to folklore and a PhD; so, in earlier years, friends sometimes referred to him as the ‘Reverend Doctor’. That often got a rise and chuckle from him. Larry had a very interesting and full life. So genuine. He will ever be remembered and missed. Sincere condolences to Valerie, Lori and all his family.

I was saddened to hear that Larry G. Small had passed; On a daily basis I catalogue manuscripts from his students while he was employed at Memorial University of Newfoundland in the Folklore Department. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.

I’m so sorry to hear this. He always had a smile and laughed a lot in class. He supported my thesis research wholeheartedly and his stamp of approval made a big difference in my life. My condolences to his family.

I was saddened to hear that Larry has “shipped into another life,” as he put it in his poem ‘The Bay from Long Point.’ I was lucky to be taught by him and to become his colleague. I admired his ability to inspire students with respect for the culture of rural Newfoundland. I also liked to hear him talk about what he had cooked for breakfast! Barbara Rieti and I extend our condolences to all who loved him.

Extending our deepest condolences to you Valerie and family on Larry’s passing. We were privileged to befriend him here in Birchy Bay and appreciated his wisdom and advice in many issues. He was always looking for his notes that he jotted down to share on a matter we were discussing. He will be forever missed and never forgotten.

Deepest condolences to Larry’s family and friends. He was an excellent teacher and a wonderful man. May he rest in peace as he lives on in our hearts and memories. Clara (Murphy) Rutherford

Mom and I are so sorry for your loss Valerie. Our condolences to you and Larry’s family. May he Rest In Peace. Hugs.

My condolences to Larry’s family and friends.

It was such an honour to know this man and more especially to be taught by him. The pride he had for our Province was evident every day with Larry. He instilled that in all of us he taught. Some of our best conversations took place over a beer or a drink at the Breezeway. I say conversations but it was just a bunch of his students who wanted to hear him speak about NL. To this day I think back fondly to those times.

My deepest condolences to Valerie and Larry’s family. He was a proud Newfoundlander.

Please accept our deepest condolences on the loss of your loved one Larry. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. R.I.P.

My condolences to Larry’s family and friends. It’s Larry’s fault I became a folklorist…so I am indebted to him. Thank you Larry for calling on thousands of students from this place to be proud of this place…no matter what cove, harbour, tickle, shore, bay or bight they belonged to. I’ll be forever appreciative for having known you. Safe journey home.

Sorry to hear of Larry’s passing. My sincerest condolences to the family.

When I was a grad student at MUN, though never in folklore, I met Larry through mutual friends.. He was one of the few professors I knew who were, like me, from. « the bay ».. He was such a kind, decent human being.

The phrase “gentleman & scholar” is over used, but so fitting for Larry. A great person who will be missed by those lucky enough to have known him. Our condolences!

I am so sorry to hear of Larry’s passing. My sincerest condolences to members of his family.

sending our condolences and prayers at this time
Rita and Hunter Bolwerk

To Valerie: So sorry to hear that Larry had passed away. We extend our condolences to you and all of Larry’s family and friends.
Alfred & Alice

So sorry for your loss. Larry was one of my favourite profs and I made sure to take every undergrad course he taught. He was such a kind and gentle soul that you felt like you had known him forever.

I am so sorry to learn that Larry has passed. He was such a wonderful teacher. Fun, inspiring, and insightful. My deepest condolences to you and all the family and friends.

Our heartfelt condolences to Val and Larry’s family: he was a great source of knowledge of his, and our, Newfoundland heritage. Always enjoyed his company and his delight in listening to and relating stories from his vast collection of our collective folklore. May he rest in his final peace.

My heartfelt condolences to Larry’s family; he was one of my favourite professors as an undergrad. It had been several years since I last saw him in the Department of Folklore, but his legacy lives on as I often work with his collections, and those of his students, in MUNFLA. Rest easy,, Larry….

Meta and Clifton, my heart aches for you both as you mourn the passing of your much loved and wise brother, Larry. Know his gentle soul is now resting peacefully in the arms of our Savior. Until you meet again, may Larry rest in peace and Love. Sending you both my love and hugs..