OCEAN PARK - Judge Larry Heron, 83, passed away quietly on Dec. 13, 2002 in Seattle. He had been in nursing home care for six months with dementia-related disabilities.
He was born in Aberdeen on Feb. 2, 1919, and named Clarence E. Heron, the only child of Charles and Jewel Heron. He became a resident of West Seattle after his infant years spent in Anchorage, Alaska. He received public education at West Seattle schools, Fauntleroy, James Madison and West Seattle High.
Employment as a booking agent in the dwindling vaudeville theatre days provided tuition for two years at the University of Washington.
In 1940, Mr. Heron began a 25-year career in retail sales at the Sears department store on First Avenue. He and Greta McClarty met in 1941 and were married on Aug. 1, 1941. His Sears career was interrupted by World War II and a nearly four-year hitch in the United States Coast Guard, shipboard in Alaskan waters.
After the war, the Herons remained in West Seattle until 1967, when they moved to Ocean Park to complete their new home on the sand dunes, and begin a different lifestyle away from the city. Rural politics and community issues at the beach intrigued them, and Mr. Heron opened up a new career option at age 54.
The new career as lay Judge of Pacific County, South District Court was a challenge that was soon mastered. Presiding over the county court, plus the municipal courts of Ilwaco and Long Beach, was a full, part-time job that included over 600 weddings in 11 years of service. Retirement in 1984 offered more time for his lifetime hobby of poetic writing and documenting the family Irish heritage. A new joy was rowing his dory on Willapa Bay and in rowing regattas on the Columbia River.
Judge and Mrs. Heron sold their home on the dunes of 30 years and returned to West Seattle in 1997. The Judge will be remembered by many.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 61 years, Greta McClarty Heron, son and daughter-in-law Mike and Pam Heron, and son Riley Heron, granddaughter Kristin and her husband David Anderson, and grandson Ryan Heron.
A memorial to Judge Heron with family and friends will be held next year. Friends are encouraged to contribute to their favorite charities in lieu of offerings to the family.