Eugene Lawrence (Larry) Luening died, after a long illness, on November 1 at his home in Edgartown, surrounded by his family and his favorite music. He was 58.
Larry was born in Plymouth, on June 7, 1952, to Ruth and Gene Luening, of Oak Bluffs. With his family, he lived in Massachusetts, Tennessee, and Indiana, summering always on the Vineyard. In 1969, he moved here full-time and he graduated from MVRHS in 1971.
He married Carol Thatcher of Vineyard Haven in 1973 and moved to the Boston area, where he worked at Raytheon Corp. for six years. More importantly, while off-Island, he was able to attend major league sporting events! He was a serious Bruins fan. He bought Celtics season tickets when they were $9 a seat, and was invited, occasionally, to sit with Red Auerbach during the quiet Sydney Wicks years. Then, as with many of us, his love of the Vineyard brought him home in 1981.
Larry worked diligently at his “day jobs” with the Bunch of Grapes, Hear-Say Music, and the Town of Tisbury, but music was his passion. As a teen in the late ’60s he learned to play the drums, encouraged by his parents (who sound-proofed his bedroom). On the Island, he played with various bands over the years, including Mercy Beat, Nigel, The Dogs of Love, and X-Nigel. He was intensely interested in music, particularly of the ’50s to ’80s and had an encyclopedic knowledge of bands of that era that awed his musical family and friends. According to band-mate John O’Toole, Larry was the “World’s Nicest Person” and he and other band-mates, including Rick Padilla, Al Lucas, Anna Walton, and Tom Mahoney were honored to have known and played with him.
Larry was a humble, humorous, kind, and private man. He was a beloved son, who played weekly scrabble with his mom for years, before her death in 2002. He was adored by his two sisters and was the fortunate mate of three wonderful women during his life. He was a close friend to several and well-liked by everyone who met him. And he leaves a family who loved him deeply: his significant other and best friend, Maureen Tripp, and her daughter, Ashley, and son, Aaron; his sister, Louisa Luening and her son, Erich, and daughters, Sabrina and Talia; and his sister, Margie Luening, and her husband, Jeff Dando, and his children, Holly and Evan Dando. He also leaves his grand-niece, Ella Luening. He will be sorely missed by those who knew him.
As he wished, a private memorial service will be held in West Tisbury in December.
Our family thanks Hospice of M.V. and Island Hospice for their care, guidance, and compassion. Donations in Larry’s memory may be made to Hospice of M.V., P.O. Box 2549, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557 or Island Hospice, 107 Beach Rd. Unit #4, P.O. Box 4188, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568.