Born a Yankee in New York State, Laurence "Larry" Van Dyke came South by way of the.N|B9>i»r Along the way, he met and married Margaret Morrison, and the two went on to have four children. The family settled in Memphis for a time, and while living in Tennessee, Larry completed a masters degree in education at Memphis State University. After exploring special education opportunities and services for their daughter Ruthio, Larry and Margaret made the move to Mississippi, landing in the Holly Springs community. In 1970, soon after settling into
Southern life, Larry, a progressive and dedicated educator, was recruited to undertake the integration of the Holly Springs Elementary School. In spite of the expected frustrations and turbulent times. Mississippj became home. The family later moved to Meridian, and Larry continued his career in elementary education, eventually earning his doctorate in education from the University of Mississippi and being inducted into Phi Delta Kappa. While Larry's career was punctuated with many highlights and accolades, including leading Marion Park Elementary
School to attain recognition as a National School of Excellence in 1986 and serving as president of the Association of School Administrators, he was most well-known for his care and concern for his students. Larry firmly believed that school should be "the best part of a child's day," and he worked tirelessly to ensure that students and teachers in the schools he led were engaged in active learning, with hopes that the seven hours they spent at school each day were, indeed, the best.
Beyond the classroom, Larry held many interests. A creative and scholarly soul, Larry loved to read and work with his hands. He also enjoyed creating activities for his children, building a zipline in the backyard long before the ziptine craze of today was ever conceived. Each of
Larry's children can recall many special memories ranging from family trips to the beach to a boys' road trip to the Grand Canyon. A talented potter, many of Larry's works - most notably ceramic mushrooms and extravagant gargoyle masks - are proudly displayed throughout
Meridian. Known for his keen sense of humor and love of cigars, Larry and his wife, Margaret, hosted many festive lunches for friends and family, who were frequently treated to a tour of the backyard, which sported all varieties of yard art and greenery, as well as a Koi pond constructed by Larry and his sons. St. Paul's Episcopal Church served as Larry's church home, and throughout the years, he worshipped and enjoyed great fellowship with her members, especially the choir and Men's Group.
Larry is preceded in death by his daughter, Ruthie Van Dyke, and is survived by his wife
Margaret, sons Daniel and Paul (Shlaina), daughter Sarah (Rolando), granddaughter Spencer, and brother Barry.
Visitation will be held on November 25th at St. Paul's Episcopal Church at 10:00 AM followed by a memorial service at 11:00 AM. Should friends desire, contributions may be made to St. Paul's organ fund or Hope Village for Children.
Published on November 16, 2017