Obituary – Larry Englund

Well, it appears that I’ve died. Passed away, departed, checked out, left this earthly vale, kicked the bucket, left town… you get the idea. I went home, as it were on Saturday February 2nd, 2019, at the age of 73 after lengthy treatments for stomach cancer. I am survived by Liz, my loving wife of 23 years.

I was born and raised in the Bronx, the only son of Carl, a carpenter, and Edna, a housewife and excellent cook of comfort food. As a child, I was coddled by my three sisters. I have tried to live a life of kindness and understanding. Perhaps that is what led me to social work while in college.

Looking back, I realize that I’ve been an explorer of sorts, open to new experiences and adventures. My work life has been… varied. I stopped counting after 28 jobs, but can say I learned something from each job. Eventually, I got into tech writing and then marketing for hi-tech and medical companies. When I retired in 2007, I was working for Public Art Saint Paul.

Music & Me

My “Baby Book” (do they still have them?) tells of me loving my little turntable and golden records. My sister Lorraine turned me on to the music of Big Joe Turner and Fats Domino when I was about ten, and a few years later I became a teenage deejay, using one of those 45-only turntables for Friday Night dances at a church basement in the Bronx. I kept up my interest in music through college, and chose music for parties throughout my twenties and thirties. I started hosting shows on KFAI radio in 1981. Over 28 years I hosted three different shows and subbed for many others. I’ve been involved in producing a couple of outdoor festivals, as well as a show called Saint Paul Live! for KBEM and have served on the board of the Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education.

As a music writer, I interviewed folks like James Brown, Bobby Blue Bland, Nick Lowe, Bo Diddley, Allen Toussant, and Esperanza Spaulding, as well as numerous Twin Cities musicians. I started my blog, RhythmandGrooves.net, in 2010, and have written weekly on upcoming music events as well as featuring an occasional interview.

Adventures: High and Low

My adventures have included biking from Minneapolis to New Orleans; traveling with a band on tour in Peru, during which I spent a day at Machu Picchu and took part in a cleansing ceremony led by Incan shamans. I’ve visited pyramids in Mexico and Guatemala; hitchhiked cross-country a number of times; played tambourine and sang back-up in front of thousands of Luther Leaguers. Liz and I saw the “Wrapped Reichstag” in Berlin; visited the hamlet where my father lived in Finland; lived in the Netherlands for three years; visited Havana twice; built homes in Costa Rica; and, along with my wife Liz, were the only Americans on a bus traversing the Finland/Russia border.

Here are a few things I have learned, in no particular order:

  • When working road construction, never, ever leave your lunch bucket where it can get run over by a truck
  • When the computer asks, “Delete file?” Always take a moment, and a deep breath, before hitting the key
  • Even if it’s after midnight and you’re dead tired from working 14 hours, always take a shower after spending an evening cleaning a turkey processing plant
  • Having the Pope in town is no guarantee for success in selling Pope T-shirts
  • Always be open to exploration — even if it’s just trying some new food
  • The more you travel, the more you understand the traits that tie us together are stronger than the traits that separate us
  • Having a partner that can use humor to point out foibles and miscommunications helps keep a relationship on an even, happy keel

That’s it. It’s been a good life. I’m leaving behind a loving wife, Liz, whom I adore, two sisters, Janet and Rene, and a passel of nieces, nephews, cousins, and many, many good-hearted, loving friends. Thanks to everyone for their support during these last few years. See you on the other side, wherever that may be.

A memorial / celebration service featuring some of the area bands that I have been so fond of will be held in March at the Hook and Ladder in Minneapolis.

Please share if you knew Larry.

One Response to Obituary – Larry Englund

  1. Hal Davis says:

    I’m sorry to learn of Larry’s death. I’m 72, grew up in NYC, moved to Minneapolis in 2007, saw Larry — and his distinctive headgear — in a few places, including the Hook and Ladder. I came across this blog only recently. I also have a wife named Liz, who makes every day a joyous delight.

    I’m glad Larry lived the life he loved. I’ll miss his insights as I discover the joys of Twin Cities music.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: