It’s Tough To Say “Goodbye” to My Teacher And Friend — Larry O’Donnell, “Mr. O”

This is tough.  On Thursday, I will attend a Mass of Christian Burial for my friend and teacher, Larry O’Donnell — “Mr. O”

I telephoned Larry last Thursday, January 7, and when I received no answer, I telephoned him several times more. We were to have breakfast together, where we always met, at George’s Restaurant in Northridge on Friday.

I was shocked to eventually learn that Larry had suffered a massive stroke on Thursday and that he had passed away Saturday.

Larry, as a young man, was my sophomore high school English teacher in 1963 at Northridge High School.  He stayed at Northridge his entire career, a proud Polar Bear, and retired with 39 years of service.

Larry -- with two hats -- and me at a Dragon's game last summer. Larry's Northridge Kiwanis had organized a group outing. Larry gave me the ticket.

Only in the last seven years, or so, did I reconnect with Larry, and with my other Northridge teachers — David Griesmeyer and Bill Howell — as well.  Now, shockingly, all three are gone and all at early ages.

I enjoyed having breakfast with Larry and did so two or three times each month.  He was a gracious, intelligent man with a keen sense of humor and we would stay at breakfast for several hours.

It is incredibly painful to me that he should leave so abruptly. I never told him so, in so many words, but I think he knew, that I deeply appreciated his friendship, his kindness, his spirit. We enjoyed each other’s company. I was looking forward to many more years of fellowship with Larry.  I will miss him very much.

It hurts to say:  Goodbye, my friend.

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