Lawrence Foss (born 1950) died the night of August 10, 2023. He remains vividly alive to us all in our hearts.
Few people in this world can give more happy memories. We remember the sad times too, such as the Paradise Fire when he and his wife Leslie lost their home and Larry’s lifetime of artwork. Larry’s art and life was full of beauty, humor and adventure. This he showed even in adversity. A button he wore said “it’s never too late to have a happy childhood!”
As a boy he had a hard life under a father who was an abusive alcoholic gambler who later could not comment when asked about Larry as a boy. However, Larry remembers ducking if he raised a hand. By age ten, after moving dozens of places (to escape his father’s debts) Larry and his six sisters and mother (divorced), all ended up in Red Bluff, CA.
Impoverished and always hungry, Larry found a way to add to his diet of cornmeal mush or oatmeal by hunting. He ate everything from coots, doves, and even squirrels and bullfrogs. Larry once said he could run like the wind, so thin there was little wind resistance on his body. He, lonely and wandering, once said he did not know if he “were the sea or the sea monster” a quote from the book of Job. But later being “lost” especially in the woods was a constant joy to him. Like John Muir, Larry heard “the calling” of the hills and mountains. His art and life reflected the call of creation wonder.
Larry was known around Northern California as a cheerful holiday window painter, sign painter, and pastel artist. He also had a variety of side jobs from goatherder in the Oakland hills, to an art teacher, to helping with his friend Ken Hodge’s landscape business. When Ken died Larry drove 2,000+ miles to attend and speak at his memorial service in March 2023, this while being wracked with advanced stage-4 cancer.
To Larry’s sisters: Barbara Foote, Bonny Foss, Deborah Pierce, Louisa Gilani, Erna Foss and Bertie Sorenson; he was our dearest only brother. To Larry’s friends: their best friend. To his nieces and nephews; a favorite uncle and to some a father. To strangers: (especially the homeless, helpless or friendless), someone they could not forget being “larger than life”.
At age nineteen (he looked fourteen), he joined the Air Force. He was happy to get three meals a day! After 3 ½ years at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia he was sent to Vietnam for six months. He wrote that, “the Vietnamese were terrible shots. They dropped bombs around us but didn’t hit us.”
Larry discovered the Navigators (a Christian organization) during this time, where he put his faith in Jesus Christ and knew God loved him and he is now with God. We can imagine him making Angels laugh! Larry gave his friends and family personal messages before he died. One of his final statements was, “Love God, love one another, and love what you do.”
Crossroads Bible Church, 97 East Road, Los Alamos, NM at 10:30 a.m. Monday August 28 with a luncheon to follow. We will also have a time of sharing your favorite Hi-Larry-ious stories!
National Cemetery at the Vietnam Memorial, Angel Fire, 1 p.m. Tuesday August 29. We will leave the DeVargas funeral home at 12:00 p.m. for a procession to Angle Fire. Note: DevargasTaos.com has a site to share your stories and condolences.