The Loss of a Legend … and a Really Great Guy

Eduflack was deeply saddened this afternoon to learn of the passing of Larry McQuillan. Larry was a colleague, a mentor, a dear friend, and just a terrific guy.

Just about everyone in the education communications community knew Larry. And he was universally liked in our field. That can be a real rarity. 

For those unfamiliar with his background, Larry started off as a reporter. He did the local media grind in a number of small-town newspapers. Larry was a helluva reporter. He worked his way to Washington, DC, where he covered the White House. And the stories he could tell about life as a beat reporter. 

As I came to know Larry, I finally asked why he was always wearing a coat and tie, even when he was working in a business casual environment. He responded with a story of covering President Bill Clinton. The “lid” was supposedly on for the day, and Larry was wearing jeans and a t-shirt. Then he was called into work, finding himself in the Oval Office in jeans. He wore a tie every work day after that. He would never be caught unprepared again. 

After he left journalism, Larry worked in communications for groups like the American Federation of Teachers and American Institutes of Research. It was at the latter where I really got to know Larry. 

He was the consummate professional, terrific writer, thoughtful leader, and great human being. Larry had a great sense of humor, coupled with a wonderfully dry wit. I could be entertained for hours each day just by the stories he could tell or the conversations we would have. 

When I left AIR, one if the hardest things was saying goodbye to Larry. My success at AIR was due so much to Larry and his terrific work. After departing AIR, I was fortunate to continue to build my relationship with Larry, really growing to appreciate him as a friend. 

Larry cared about me and my family, always wanting the latest updates. He loved talking about his own son and how exciting the equine world, his son’s field, was by observation. He adored his wife, and was always telling me about her work. And in recent years, nothing meant more to Larry than his role as grandfather. 

Today, I lost a great teacher, great counselor, and even greater friend. Larry was the big brother who taught me what it was really like to think like a reporter. The education world is a little lesser today with the loss of Larry McQuillan. And I know my personal world is as well. 

Larry is what we all should aspire to become. A successful professional, completely selfless despite enormous skill and success. A man who knew his priorities, and never forgot them. 

Goodbye, my friend. Know you will be deeply missed, but never forgotten. Your advice, counsel, and fraternity will forever be a part of my professional DNA. Thank you for all you did, all you gave, and all you cared. 

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