2007 was quite an eventful year in my life.
In my personal life, I officially ended a marriage…and later that year, began a new one.
Some pretty majestic highs and lows in one’s lifetime. But it was also the year I lost a very dear friend. A guy who, by all measures, should have been considered a mentor, but was more just a buddy–KOMO Radio’s Larry Nelson.
This isn’t about me so I’ll just mention that the 4-1/2 years we worked together at AM-1000 were incredibly awesome and I only wish now that I had known our time playing together would be that short. Budget cuts chased me out the door, but also sent me off into a career of being a morning man myself.
Lar’s ratings were incredible. Radio, frankly, was in its final hey days with double-digit ratings. And for all of his clout and presence in the Seattle radio market, Larry treated me as a partner, a co-conspirator if you will, of waking up that sleepy little AM music station. Any time you want to relive those days and hear about how things were done in “KOMO Country”, just get me started and off I’ll go.
But late in 2007, Larry returned early from a trip to Mexico because of some chest pain. A burning sensation. He went to the doctor and in no time flat was informed he had stage four lung cancer. He hung on for a couple of months, I believe….it’s already getting blurry…but that’s probably because I’d prefer to remember the part of his life where our paths crossed, than those final closing moments.
One of the miracles I’ll always cherish is the night I took my fiance`, Victoria, to the hospital to meet Larry. Not knowing how long he had, I really wanted him to meet this amazing woman I had somehow managed to meet. That night, she met Larry Nelson, prime time—impish, kidding around, that big, deep-throated laugh. He was gracious and recalled some of our adventures together. We even heard that, earlier in the day, Larry had actually tried to sneak out of the hospital, but was busted. It was hard to believe the things they were saying about his health.
But apparently, the very next day, he began to decline. It’s as if he had hung on for one more night to be “good old Lar” to meet Victoria.
In the weeks he had remaining, I rallied a bunch of his radio pals and acquaintances to come up with a message, a bit, something to cheer him up. I don’t believe I’ve shared this with anyone other than Lar, his family and the participants before, but I think you’ll enjoy it.
You see, when October rolls around, I remember Larry’s birthday on the 16th…the same day as my nephew, Matthew. I then go down a path filled with memories of Husky tailgate parties and crazy broadcasts that made the eyes of the suits upstairs roll….but man, did we have fun.
Here’s that get-well message we did for Larry, one of the great ones, who was kind enough to call me his friend.
Enjoy and rest in peace, Lar. We think of you often; especially in October.