Larry Joe StubbsJune 23, 1957 ~ July 15, 2017 (age 60)
Larry Joe Stubbs.
A man comprised of a wild, tenacious soul. Aged and tattered years too soon. Marked with distinct memories from his years past. While his tattoos and clouded memories may have faded, his love and conviction for his family did not.
Born June 23, 1957, to Edna Rosalee Popejoy Stubbs and Joe Marion Stubbs. The same year the show "Maverick" aired for the first time. The irony of that fact is not lost on me, as my first memory of him reaches back to about the year 1990. If I close my eyes, I can see him standing there in my dad's shop, long and tall, with his feathery black hair turning out the bottom of an old ball cap. Grasping dumbbells, pumping iron to grow the size of his biceps. One of which, curiously sported the name DEBORAH in blotty cursive ink. Cigarette hanging loosely out of his mouth. Hands dirty from the recent oil change on that old white Cutlas. He looked tough, but his heart was always warm and smiling.
Every single time that I saw him, he told me he loved me. Considering he only lived a 1/4 mile up the road from my parents' home for my entire life, he told me he loved me often. I always knew his love for me too. Through kind words, big hugs, and a persistent curiosity for me and my life, he planted his love for me deep in my soul early in my childhood. Not a day passed that I ever questioned it, and I know that the same stands true for my sister, my mother, my father, my aunt, my granny, my papa, and many other family members. The people with whom he spent his entire life. Many of which surround him here today.
Larry loved Johnny Cash, a good country-western movie, and watching the sun rise. He loved stock-car racing, boxing, and politics - although he never believed anything a politician ever said.
He was preceded in death by his mother and father. He perpetually lent a caring hand to them in the last years of their lives. He had an incredibly strong bond with his father, that first formed in the early days that they worked glass & mirror together. But truth be told, he was a mama's boy. And oh did he dote on his mama, offering her kindness and love every hour of every day. They passed the time together picking roses and watching red birds, and he was proud of her for knowing all the right sized wrenches for when he was laid up under that Cutlas.
Larry is survived by his two sisters, Uylanda Jean Shellenberger and Andrea Patsy Hancock. When Larry was about 18, he sat in his green thunderbird with my mom, proudly showing off his his new pistol. He accidentally shot that pistol off, sending my mom's head spinning and ears ringing. I think he made a few hundred other decisions that made my mom’s head spin and ears ring, but she loved him nonetheless. For example, that one time when he put her on the back of his Harley, and she thought that would be both of their last days. But he and his sisters remained close sidekicks. They had fun holding garage sales together, with bags of clothes flying out of the back of the truck as they drove down the highway. He was close with his cousin Sharlet too. Larry and Sharlet shared some treacherous canoe trips over the years, one that involved an encounter with a snake and a flipped canoe, and one that involved Big Foot - or so Larry wanted her to believe. Above all, though, he and my mother were best friends. They were "running buddies," grabbing lunch on the daily. They went on road trips, karaoking as they drove south on I-35. They spent nearly every single day together for last 13 years.
When Larry was a young buck, he ran the town with his brother in law, Brad, my father. And while they had their fair share of disagreements, not much changed over the years. On Saturday night, in Larry's final minutes, my dad reached back and shared his fondest memories with Larry. Giving him his best farewell. Recalling the time that they drove his truck Bigfoot, trespassing through the bottom of the lake right after it was dug by the city. And that time when Larry pulled my dad water skiing, pulling him 50 MPH because he was looking at the RPMs instead of the MPH. And then there was that one time when they maybe had a little too much to drink, and they got pulled over for driving too slow.
We've all shared so many good times with Larry. We've created memories with him that we will never forget. That's the beauty about making memories with friends and family. No matter what happens to us, we can rejoice in knowing that all of the experiences we shared will persist in time and persist through death.
Larry passed on to the next life on July 15, 2017, at the age of 60. He was surrounded by his family, blanketed with love. He was tragically diagnosed with cancer only about a week before his death. And in the face of his final days on this earth, he said "I may be sick, but nothing is going to steal my joy." I think if he were here today to give us one final piece of advice, it would be exactly that - to not ever let anything or anyone ever steal our joy.
So may you rest in peace, Larry. In this moment, our hearts ache, but until we meet again, we promise to carry forward your love, fire, and joy.