Barry O'Brien

I first met Larry at my wedding to the late Nancy Ryan in 1999 at the Boston Harbor Hotel. Of course, I don’t remember that, because I must have met about 200 new people that day. A few months later, after the Boston Ad Club Christmas Party at the Copley Plaza Hotel, many of us gathered at the bar of the Palm Restaurant, across the street. I was with my longtime friend (and Best Man) Tony Franceschelli, re-connecting with lots of old friends. I had been living in DC for 20 years, and moved back to Boston when I married Nancy. I introduced myself to Larry at the bar, and he told me “I was at your wedding!” Well, that was embarrassing! Nancy and Larry had known each other for years. And Nancy had worked with Carolyn at a Boston ad agency years ago. (Sidenote: Nancy was having dinner at the Parker House the night Larry and Carolyn got married, and bumped into Carolyn in the ladies room, dressed in her wedding gown. “I just got married!”, Carolyn told her.

Back to the Palm…..Larry was with his business partner Joe Baerlein that night, and said to me “Joe and I are celebrating a very good year at Rasky Baerlein. Would you and Tony like to join us for dinner?” Well, who could pass up that offer? So we sat at a booth, with the lovely Brandy Barnes as our waitress. Of course, many cocktails had been consumed. Larry ordered the prime rib. How do I remember that? Well, Tony kicked me under the table, and with his head, he gave me a motion to look at Larry. I looked over, and Larry had the whole piece of Prime Rib in his hands, eating it like the gentle lion that he was! It took me years to have the courage to tell Larry that story, but I did one night a few months ago, while we were drinking bourbon and enjoying cigars on the porch of his condo in Delray Beach. I don’t normally drink hard liquor, but I always made an exception when I was with Larry.

I will never forget the time Nancy and I took Larry and Carolyn out on our boat at Sebago Lake in Maine, and the engine died on the other side of the lake! It was a small boat, and Larry and I were not small people. Getting towed back to the marina was another bonding experience with Larry and Carolyn.

I loved living in DC, and missed it tremendously. I still do. I will be forever grateful that Larry let me use his condo in DC several times over the years so I could enjoy the city I love so much.

When Nancy died about 4 years ago, I had many friends that I had met thru Nancy over the years. Since they started as Nancy’s friends, it’s only natural that I’m not as close to many of them as we used to be. But with Larry and Carolyn, it was just the opposite. We became closer. I told them this many times, and I appreciate their friendship so much. Since they have had another home in Florida for the past few years, it’s been so much fun to see them when they were down here in Palm Beach County.

While I was brought up as a Massachusetts Democrat, I became more conservative over the years. Larry knew that, but we never got into any heated political discussions. He knew that our friendship was not based on politics, and I certainly respected his views. I even got to sit across the table from Joe Biden one Sunday morning in Larry’s office in Boston many years ago. I was so honored when Larry asked me to accompany his parents on the flights from West Palm Beach to Boston for Will and Becca’s wedding. I felt like part of the family. And believe me, when the return flight got diverted to Ft Lauderdale, that was a challenge with two 90 year olds accompanying me! But just like Larry, he arranged to have a car service pick us up at FLL and get us all home safe and sound.

Larry was one of a kind. And I miss him dearly. I still find myself starting to email him an article I think he’d like, only to stop and remember he’s no longer with us. I have a feeling that if Larry was still with us, Charlie Baker would have added “Larry Rasky” to the list of essential Massachusetts people exempt from staying home!

To Carolyn and Will…..I hope you’ll still consider me as part of the “family”. We all have so many great memories of Larry.