Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Leapin' Larry LePage

Larry LePage
Email from John Roberts to Joe Bates and others

Teammates and Friends,

Our old friend and Teammate 'Leaping Larry' LePage passed away a little over two months ago. I had the pleasure of knowing him for many years, from our time in the Teams on the Silver Strand in the late '60's up until recently in Louisiana. For the last dozen years or so I was his unofficial 'Duty Driver' there on the Westbank. Though Larry could be a bit of a pain in the ass at times, as many of you know, he was a good guy at heart, and I recall our many escapades and adventures with much affection.
During his final illness I was out of the country, and another good friend of many years, both of mine and Larry's, stepped in to render all the assistance he possibly could to a dying Shipmate. Joe Bates was with Larry nearly every day from the time he learned of his illness right up to the time he passed away, and at the request of Larry's daughters, took possession of Larry's remains after cremation.
I had the honor of taking possession of Larry's ashes from this fine friend, CPO and Master Diver Joe Bates, and I brought them with me to San Diego to return to his family. Friends of Larry's signed the attached letter I have just sent to CPO Bates in appreciation of his noble service to a Shipmate. I also include photos of when I took possession from Joe, and of where his ashes rested at Rat Miller's in Texas until the two of us brought Larry the rest of the way home, home to the Silver Strand where he spent the best years of his life.

I was able to talk to many of Larry's friends while in San Diego, friends from his Class #19, from Team 11 and SEAL Team 1. Without exception they all remembered Larry fondly and every one had some sort of story to tell and every Man Jack of them considered Larry to have been a good operator. His awards received in the heat of combat in Viet Nam also attest to this. No SEAL could ask for a better epitaph.

Larry had many friends in the New Orleans area as well, friends from the days after his retirement from the Navy when he was a Diving Supervisor for Taylor Diving & Salvage, and in the years after that when he was a Diving Consultant and Welding Inspector. Three of the best of these, who did many favors for Larry, especially after his stroke, were Mike Large, Rocky Mandible and Butch Jones. SEAL Roy Grey also was a part of this group prior to his death.

Farewell Larry, you were an ornery old SOB but we loved you and you were a damn fine Teammate as well.

Rest in Peace,

John Roberts

. . . . . . . .Joe Bates at his home in Louisiana.

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