Saturday, April 25, 2009

Celebrating Larry Horyna’s life on April 25, 2009

Here’s his story as published in the Park Record, Park City Utah, on April 17, 2009:

Larry Leroy Horyna, longtime resident of Park City, passed away unexpectedly in Goodyear, Ariz., on April 7, 2009, due to heart failure. Larry was a wonderful father, husband and grandpa, and an outstanding professional, mentor and true friend to many people. If you knew Larry, you shared his wisdom, sense of humor and sensitivity toward others.

During the last three-and-a-half months of his life, Larry and his wife, Pat Brogan, were enjoying life to the fullest, living in Goodyear, Ariz., at Pebble Creek with his "tribe" of Oregon Duck friends. Larry was golfing, attending baseball games, swimming, entertaining many friends, taking road trips, cooking and having a glass or two of red wine at the end of each day.

Larry was born in Ontario, Ore., on January 28, 1938, to Stanley and Margaret Horyna, who preceded him in death, along with his younger brother, Richard. His sister, Joan Wright, resides in Ontario, Ore. Larry has two sons, Timothy David (Julie) of Salt Lake City, and Matthew James (Tiffany) of Park City. Larry's brightest stars were his two granddaughters, Arianna and Amaia.

Larry and Pat met in 1953 at a May Day Festival in Payette, Idaho. After graduating from Ontario High School in 1956, Larry joined the U.S. Air Force. He played football at the University of Oregon from 1960 to1964. Upon graduation, he married Pat on May 30, 1964, in Eugene, Ore. In 1968 Larry earned a MS degree from Central Michigan and in 1970 he returned to the University of Oregon as the Regional Center Director of Community Education. He and his family moved to Park City in 1985, and he worked as an administrator with the Utah State Office of Education until his retirement in 2000.

A celebration of Larry's life will be held at Park City's St. Mary's Catholic Church on Hwy 224 on Saturday, April 25, at 2 p.m., followed by a wake at the Elk's Club on Main Street from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Attendees are requested to wear a golf shirt and be prepared to shout, "Go Ducks!"
P.S. Our only regret is that it did not happen on the 18th hole looking at a birdie putt.

In lieu of flowers, please send a contribution in the name of Larry Horyna to the charity of your choice, or to the University of Oregon, Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, 2727 Leo Harris Parkway, Eugene, OR 97401

Editor’s note: There has been some suggestion by members of Larry’s class of 1956 at Ontario High School that we post stories of his life in new blog, probably titled “Tiger Tracks” after the newsletter he used to help us keep in touch. We could then use that blog as a way for the class to stay in touch, posting comments and pictures. If that is something readers and classmates would like to do, send your stories to the email address of this blog, I’ll set up the blog when I receive enough material and let classmates and contributors know when we get it going.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Horyna memorial service planned

Verl Doman, a classmate in the Ontario High School class of 1956, on Thursday, April 9, provided this information about Horyna’s death and plans for a memorial celebration:

“I have just finished talking to Pat and she asked me to convey to all of you her great appreciation for all of your thoughts and prayers. She asked me to tell you that Larry was enjoying life to the fullest, having spent the last three months in Arizona, golfing, watching baseball, golfing, relaxing and golfing. He was taken by a sudden massive heart attack and though there were continuous efforts at resuscitation both by the paramedics and at the hospital, he never responded. She said that there could have been no better circumstance, except she would have preferred it much later, for him to go, as he was in the height of his glory these last few months. She said that she was grateful that his passing precluded any suffering or lingering illness, and as we all continue to age will all agree that is a great blessing.

“He wanted to donate his skin, which he has done, and thus will be cremated prior to being brought back to their Park City home. Pat expects that it will take some time to get him home and that a celebration of his marvelous life is tentatively planned for April 25th in the Park City Elks Lodge. More details will be made available leading up to that event. He will be interred at the VA Cemetery in Salt Lake City.”

Friends and former associates of Horyna who might stumble upon this page and want to reach his family can email us at and we’ll try to put them in touch.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Tribute to Larry Horyna who died this fourth month of 2009

The last time I talked to Larry Horyna he told me how proud he was of his football efforts on the University of Oregon team. I was surprised because I hadn’t followed his career then. When I ran into him in the library when we were both students there, he starting out on a football scholarship after the Army and I about to finish up my senior year, he said he was focusing on his school work. Football was just a way to a degree. He must have changed his view over the years while I was off trying to get started as a newspaper reporter.

Anyway, I do know that he carved out an exceptional career as an educator in Oregon, spending some of his huge energy on helping youngsters who were coming from tough backgrounds – maybe because he worked his way up in life the hard way though he never talked about that, at least to me.

My father in his later years, when we talked about the Ontario newspaper and my dad’s years there, frequently mentioned how much he was impressed by Horyna’s strength and leadership as a young man. (Frankly, playing across from him as a second string center, I was often impressed by his strength but I can’t say I liked it.)

Anyway, I sometimes go back to the following editorial my father crafted after our sad 9-8 loss to Vale in our senior football year in high school. Larry was a bulwark of that team and probably felt the loss as hard as anyone, though I know over his life he maintained friendships with many of the Vale players who whipped our team.

But enough of that: Here’s what my dad wrote after that Vale game:
His editorial, titled “These Were Our Boys,” included this passage with its tribute to Horyna’s appetite for watermelon:

“It was hard to hold back the tears driving home from Vale that night. That was partly because we knew from experience the nobility of these kids in defeat as well as their grandeur in victory.

“You see, they played knothole baseball for us five or six years ago. And they really learned how to take it. They were under-age, playing with a league of older kids in order to fill out the league schedules for summer play. If we ever won a game that summer, it has long since been forgotten.

“We couldn’t help but wonder if we hadn’t given some of these youngsters such adequate early training the philosophical acceptance of reverses on the playing field, if the result might not have been different at Vale on the critical evening this November. No bunch of kids ever wanted more to win a ball game. We know because we’ve listened to them work on it conversationally for the past nine years.

“For all that, we wouldn’t trade away that summer. What a sight it was to watch the Doman kids come in to town, covered with the dust of a day’s work in the field, and then take on an evening’s work on the playing field. And Larry Horyna, crouched behind the bat, whipped the gang in those days to higher performance, just as he has in recent years.

“Another sight we’ll never forget. Horyna eating watermelon --- seeds and all --- at the kids’ picnic in our backyard. That Larry could go through more watermelon in less time than any kid we’ve ever seen.”