It is with great sadness that I share the news of Larry Phillips’ passing on October 31, 2018. At the time of our reunion those close to Larry confided that his health had been declining, but even so, it likely didn’t prepare us for Larry’s death resulting from Type 1 diabetes. His obituary in the Boston Globe, which I will send to you in a separate email, underscores Larry’s extraordinary musical accomplishments and the way that he touched others through his personal courage and humanity. At Deerfield we all sensed that Larry possessed a rare musical talent as he worked quietly “under the radar” to hone his craft, at times playing the organ for our Deerfield community. These glimpses of Larry the musician only allowed us to guess how much time he spent practicing behind the scenes to gain mastery of an immensely complex instrument. In his obituary it was noted that Larry gave Deerfield credit for quietly handing him the keys to gain access to the Brick Church, thereby providing him the opportunity to perfect his craft as a musician. Larry’s obituary will offer a more complete overview of his musical journey and the respect that he gained in his field.
In his obituary Larry is described as a harpsichordist, organist, composer, music critic, and philanthropist. These areas of work only scratch the surface of the range of accomplishments that were spawned during his schoolboy days at Deerfield. He was a scholar of the highest order, the Managing Editor of the Deerfield Scroll and a devoted friend to all of us in the Class of 1966. During his life after Deerfield, both at Harvard and in the professional world, Larry earned widespread admiration for his groundbreaking leadership in combating sexual discrimination, thus becoming a pioneer for the movement that was to follow. As Larry’s classmates, with his passing we all share a profound loss. We were touched by his creative genius, warmth of personality and brave independence.
A celebration of Larry’s life will take place at the First Church in Boston, 66 Marlborough Street, at 1:00pm on February 2, 2019.