Larry Paul Hunsicker
January 14 1948-January 4 2020
Born in Akron to parents William and Ethel (Whitmore) Hunsicker
It has been said that the playing of music can reveal one’s character. My friend for more than 20 years, bassist Larry Hunsicker, certainly proved that old adage to be true. His beat on the bass was as solid as his character. No matter how difficult the situation, he was always first in line to offer his assistance, everything he could do to make things better for those with a problem; from solving tech problems for his life partner Lillian, getting up on a roof to investigate and fix a leak, helping a dear friend through cancer (the same accursed disease that now, several years later, has taken Larry’s life)to fulfill her last wishes, not to mention caring for friends pets while they were away.
I have no idea about the number of people he taught and mentored during the last several decades. He never talked about that, but his talent and enthusiasm for music and photography helped two close friends achieve successful careers in those demanding professions. Just as with others, Larry helped me on more than one occasion. In short, Larry was a good man who played bass! From commercial gigs to Jazz gigs, to the Stow Symphony; he handled them all with grace and precision.
Having served in the United States Navy in a Naval Band from 1968 aboard the aircraft carriers USS Shangri-La and then the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt, he was honorably discharged from NTC Orlando, Florida in 1972 where he gained a position with a Disney Company band in Orlando playing bass there for many years. They backed many performers: singers, dancers, entertainers some famous, some getting their start. Eventually, Larry returned to his hometown Akron where I met him. He played with many fellow musicians throughout the years notably the Gene Fiocca band, the Swing Machine among others, making enduring friendships.
He will be sorely missed by his beloved life partner, Lillian Custer; his much loved and spoiled cat, Buddy Custer; his sisters, Deborah L. Hardgrave of Colorado (Mark), Helen Burbridge of Brimfield (Lindsey) and his “kid” brother,” Bruce, to all of who he was very close. He will also be missed by best lifetime buddies, Bill and Paul, who were so helpful throughout this ordeal. Larry was remarkably loyal to his friends and family.
Larry’s strength of character and spirit surfaced clearly in his joy of discovering creativity and beauty even during his last days as he talked (via E-mail) with a dear friend about the music of his much admired Stan Kenton Orchestra.
A good bass player can make any band sound better and can do the same for any drummer lucky enough to work with him. I am a former drummer and I know what Larry did for me. I’ll always miss the kind gentle man that he was. I’ll always miss his wonderful swinging beat which is now gone from my life forever. How I wish we could once more play those many gigs we worked together, but we all know do-overs are only a lovely dream.
Rest In Peace, Larry.
Per Larry’s wishes, cremation has already taken place. There will be a private memorial at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society. (cancer.org) (Billow FAIRLAWN Chapel)
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