In Memory

Larry Appleby** - Class Of 1962

Larry Appleby**

Larry Appleby
1944 - 2009

We are sad to report that Larry passed away. We heard through Larry's wife, Dee Anne of Fountain Valley, California that Larry had died on 14 Feb 2009 at the age 65.

Words from his friend, John Dejanovich, class of 1962:

Larry and I were friends. Along with other kids our age, we more or less crossed into adolescence together. At that time we were part of the Yokota milieu, the pre-Johnson kids who attended the Junior High prior to 1959; JHS came later. Some of you will have known Larry and I; some of you will have not, owing to the constant coming and going in our military life as a "Brat." When I heard that Larry had passed away, I thought I would reminisce about my friend for all those who did not know him well.

I met Larry sometime in 1957. Below you see a photo of him in the checked jacket, which was taken at the American Embassy in Tokyo. We were there on a field trip in the fall of '57. We had just come from inside having been received by the Ambassador's wife, Mrs Edwin Reischauer. We were greeted in the "Green Room," which was reserved for people far more important in title than the small group of younsters seated there that day. Mrs Reischauer was very gracious and treated us as though we were important. We were impressed, and though the "Cutting Up" in the parking lot tried the patience of our escort-teacher, we all came away from the event just a little bit taller. Being an amateur photographer, the other photos I took were blurred or somehow unusable. This photo shows Larry as young fellow still more "Boy" than the man.

The group photo was our 8Th Grade class, shown here in 1958. Larry is the 6TH from the left in the top row. I am 6TH from the right top row. The change is evident. Now we see a young teenager, exhibiting a growing confidence and worldly awareness. He is almost cocky here, almost James Deanish but, if you knew him, more like Tab Hunter, which I am sure you all remember. And, the likeness did not go unnoticed by the girls. Larry played the part...everybody had a good time.

We were 14 in "1958"... Rock n' Roll had taken wing and propelled by its visceral messengers: Buddy Holly, Elvis and Little Richard, we boarded Elizabeth Cottens "Freight Train" and left the past behind. We smoked Pall Malls or Luckys and drank when we could. We were pretty fair athletes and above average students and played spectacular pool. Together, with some others, we explored the exotic Japanese domain. Larry was a good guy. He was congenial, had a good sense of humor, and you could count on him. He was a loyal, supportive friend and somehow I always felt "Safe" when Larry was around, even in parts of Fussa Machi or rougher parts of Tokyo, where we probably should not have gone. I always felt like Larry had my back.

As it happens in the service, in "1959" we moved on. I never saw Larry again. You all know how it worked. Most times when somebody went somewhere it just ended; that's how it was. Nevertheless, it was a special time of sharing and being and the memories are rich and they endure over time. In the end we are grateful for them. A few years back I chronicled one of our "Adventures," which you may recall -- it was typical of how we interacted.

Larry had one of the rings in the photo. They are solid silver with real emerald inset eyes; I had them made especially for us and there are only 4 of them. I was in hopes that somehow Larry would make the reunion this time. But, that reunion will have to wait now ... 'til my train pulls back into the station. Frankly, this is a hard path to go down, as I am sure it is for many of you who have lost a close classmate. I just wanted to say good-bye and good luck Larry, wherever you are.

The Johnson High alumni will miss Larry very much.