Larry H. Laird
Larry Harmon Laird, 79, of Southern Pines, died Monday, March 15, 2010, with his two devoted children by his side.
Larry was born Feb. 21, 1931, in Taylorville, Ill., to Doctor Everett and Evelyn Laird and was raised by his beloved grandmother Cora Oyler Harmon. He graduated from Taylorville High School in 1948 and went on to Shurtleff College in Alton, Ill., for one year before receiving a Congressional Appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy. He graduated with distinction in 1953 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force.
On June 6, 1953, Larry married Marguerite (Peggy) McDonald. He attended the University of Michigan from 1957 to 1959 where he obtained two master’s degrees, the first in instrumentation and the second in aeronautical engineering. He spent his entire career in the Air Force with research and development of ballistic missile systems and retired in 1974. After retiring, he attended Sangamon State University in Springfield, Ill., and obtained a master’s degree in computer science. He served as director of information systems for the Illinois Department of Corrections and also operated his own computer consulting service for several years.
Larry is survived by his wife of 56 years, Peggy Laird, of Southern Pines; two children, son, Michael A. Laird and wife, Sandi, of Manassas, Va., and daughter, Julia A. Murphy and husband, Bill, of Albany, N.Y.; brother, Lee Laird and wife, Dorothy, of Lockhart, Texas; nine grandchildren, Meaghan Henderson and husband, Martin, Andrea Laird, Kailin Curtin and husband, Jamey, Erin Biswas and husband, Shouvik, Michael Murphy, Abbie Laird, Grace Murphy, Devin Murphy, and Ethan Laird; three step-grandchildren, John Yackley and wife, Melissa, Sarah Yackley-Ploeger and husband, Jonathan, and Kevin Yackley; two great-grandchildren, Julian and Lola Henderson, with two more on the way; and his loyal canine companion Sophie.
Larry (Papa) was raised on a farm in southern Illinois where he was educated in a one-room school house. Despite his humble beginnings, he had a courageous and insatiable drive to succeed in all of his life’s endeavors and approached his education, his career, and his family with a devotion that was inspiring to those who knew him. Although soft-spoken and quiet, Papa left an immediate and lasting impression on all those who were fortunate enough to have crossed his path. He was a handsome man with a million dollar smile who had a passion for golf, old movies, breakfast at Mac’s, ham radio and animals. However, the passion he had for his hobbies could never match the devotion and zeal that he had for his family and at the root of this passion was his wife and soul mate Peg, whom he often referred to as his “bride.” Their love exemplified the beauty that is the bond of marriage and together they created a legacy of two children, 12 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, all of whom Papa loved from the depths of his soul. In his later years he reveled in being a part of his family’s life, traveling all over the country to attend their weddings, graduations, and other life events, each time beaming with a sense of pride that could only come from a man who was so devoted to their happiness. He will be missed by all those who were fortunate enough to be a part of his life, and his life will forever stand as a model of compassion, generosity and devotion to those he left behind.
The family will receive friends at Boles Funeral Home from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday, April 4. A funeral Mass celebrating Larry’s life will be held Monday, April 5, at 10 a.m. at St. Anthony’s of Padua Catholic Church with Monsignor Frank J. Hendrick, celebrant. There will be a reception at the Elks Club immediately following the Mass. Interment, with full military honors, will be at Arlington National Cemetery at 11 a.m. June 23.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Larry’s name to the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association, Class of ’53 Project, 247 King George Street, Annapolis, MD 21402; the Animal Advocates of Moore County, P.O. Box 3399, Pinehurst, NC 28374; or the Pope John Paul II Catholic School, 320 N. Ashe Street, Southern Pines, NC 28387.
Condolences may be made at www.bolesfuneralhome.com.