ForeverMissed
This memorial website is for Larry Berroya. Teacher, mentor, friend, and loved one - we will miss him dearly.
Posted by Angela Chung on April 23, 2020
Mr. Berroya wasn't my mentor at Summit High School, but I deeply respected and adored his passion for his students every time I saw him. I was intimidated by it, but truly admired it at the same time. He was truly an inspiration to all those around him and spoke up when he wanted to. He will be dearly missed. Rest in peace.
Posted by Marie Galvin on April 20, 2020
I was caught off guard when my mother told me she read Larry's obituary in the newspaper. I couldn't believe it. I went to grammar school with Lawrence (we called him Lawrence because there was another Larry in our class) and have fond memories of him. We were both good students, and we had a friendly competition to see who could get the highest grade on tests. Sister Jeanne Marie, our 6th grade teacher, let us write down additional information on the back of our tests for extra points. "What did you get?" "117!" "I got 123!"
He was so smart, and kind too. He gave me a book to read that I really enjoyed, and I got hooked on the whole series.
I haven't seen Lawrence since 8th grade; I wish I had. From what I've read, he had a wonderful, fulfilling life. I am amazed by all of the things he accomplished, and most impressed that he became such a well-loved teacher. I send my condolences to his family and friends.
Posted by Heather Green on April 18, 2020
It was such an honor to know Mr. Berroya as a teacher and coach to my sons at Summit. His intensity and dedication to all he did was an inspiration to so many, and I am so grateful my sons had an opportunity to experience his enthusiasm for life. His good humor, commitment to honesty and integrity, and his soaring spirit will always be cherished by our family. Oh, and let's not forget that sports cheer that brings all of us to our feet, SUM WHAT? Bless you Mr. Berroya.
Posted by Laura Ramirez on April 16, 2020
Larry was one of my best friends. I've known him since I was 15 and loved him like a brother. We met during a high school summer program at Cal Berkeley. He was sitting in front of me at orientation and I asked if I could rub his spiky gelled hair. I couldn't resist and he obliged and that was that. We spent the next 2 summers before college and much of our time at Cal together. We studied together (always with freshly baked hot chocolate chip cookies) and listened to music (he loved Public Enemy, KRS-One and Boogie Down Productions) and danced (The Wop and The Smurf) and went to musicals (Les Misérables over and over) and museums (he got SO mad at me for taking off my shoes and running thru the MOMA in NY when I went to visit him at Colombia) and A's games (where he tried to teach me too much about baseball, rattling off batting averages and stats for every player from every team and telling me to pay attention to what the outfield was doing when all I wanted to do was watch Rickey Henderson steal another base) and Cal basketball (where we both screamed our heads off watching Jason Kidd) and helped each other get thru crappy relationships and breakups (no girl was good enough for him and I told him so and made up disparaging nicknames for each one). One of my earliest memories with Larry was when we had our own Ferris Bueller's Day Off. We "borrowed" his mom's car (sorry Aunty Fe you must have been in the PI) and drove all over the bay area with the windows down, our hands up in the air, singing and rapping along to "My Posse's on Broadway" by Sir Mix-A-Lot as we crossed bridges and tried to figure out how to get the odometer to a number similar enough looking to where we started from so as to not get caught. There was also a memorable Thanksgiving we spent together feasting on roast turkey (with only tortilla chips as a side dish) on the floor of an empty house. I recently sent him a page from a book with a similar scene that reminded me of that simple but special time. I also remember a camping trip where he cooked the best adobo marinated pork chops over the fire. Grubbing on good food together was definitely a pleasure we shared. I'm pretty sure I have pictures from that trip in a box back home along with a pile of letters he wrote to me faithfully in purple pen. I can't wait to read those even though I'm sure I'll be ugly crying as well as laughing out loud. He's already given me a few good giggles just reading through old emails and messages. He could be such a sarcastic smart-ass jerk. I loved that about him. He was real and deep and complex and never boring. He was one of the smartest and most well rounded and interesting people I have ever known and definitely the best man. I drove him crazy because I was so disorganized and late to everything and just basically the opposite of him. The last afternoon I spent with Larry we shared a good laugh about one of our classic moments: the time I promised to give him a ride to class the next morning because he was stressing and planning to cram all night (something I never did and could hardly understand the point of). I was supposed to pick him up from his dorm on my way to campus but I totally forgot and just happened to see him standing on the street corner while cruising past. You can imagine his face when I "offered" him a ride! But he was only 10 or 15 minutes late for the final, still aced it, and stayed my friend...forever. We even made a "When Harry Met Sally" pact to get married if we were both still single when we got old (because 40 sounded hella old) but that just never happened. We never got old. 40 came and went while Larry continued to change careers and move and I was busy being a single soccer mom. Luckily Larry had taught me to love sports so I had a lot of fun being my son's biggest and loudest fan. I never watch basketball without thinking of him and always catch myself sounding like him, "Come on!" I'm so glad we spent the afternoon together eating burritos and ice cream and going to the Cal women's basketball game during my last visit to the bay area. I only wish I had brought a book and gone with him to the cafe afterwards when he went to grade papers. The trip before that it was Zachary's pizza and more ice cream and then off he went with more papers to grade (he was so dedicated to his students). And before that it was some new pasta place in our old neighborhood and I was so proud that I ordered better than he did even though I was the newbie, so I shared my lasagna because his lamb ragu was too gamey. I don't think we had dessert that night but he did give me good free legal advice. But it's not enough. It will never be enough. He's supposed to call me next time he needs help moving. I'm supposed to tell him about the next mess I get myself into. What am I supposed to do next time I "need pie"? He knows my history and holds my memories and I hold his. I am heartbroken that we won't be able to get old and crotchety together. Thank you Larry for being my faithful friend for so many years and loving me through it all. I know it wasn't always easy. I can't wait to see you again. 
Posted by Rama K on April 7, 2020
I had the privilege of knowing Mr. Berroya for my junior and senior year of high school. In my junior year, Mr. Berroya was my cross country coach. I remember how intimidated I was by his dedication to the sport and how intensely he coached us, but later I learned that that was just how Mr. Berroya was - when he loved something, he cared for it so deeply and passionately.
For the two years he coached cross country, Mr. Berroya supported us and always motivated us to do better. No matter how slow I was, he was always there to say “good job!”.
During my senior year of high school from 2015 to 2016, Mr. Berroya was my government teacher. Throughout this year, I got to know him for the amazingly kind, incredibly intelligent and dedicated man he was. I have so many memories from all of the time we spent together. I cherished our mornings in his class where we followed the campaign for the presidency. Mr. Berroya would get so fired up about the current events and when we were confused about what was going on he always took the time to explain. Oftentimes, we spent a good portion of the class listening to his rants about the state of the world, our government, our education system, etc. - the list went on! On Fridays, you could find Mr. Berroya in whatever room had the best snack. If he heard that our mentor group had something tasty, he would find his way to our room, enter without a word, and go straight to the snacks. His love of food was so pure and certainly entertaining.
Wherever we went, Mr. Berroya always found a way to have a good time. When we volunteered at the Stanford game concession stands for cross country, I vividly remember watching Mr. Berroya in his apron gnawing down on a burger during his break as he yelled at the TV and rolled his eyes at the game. Another great memory of mine was when he had us simulate a senate session in class. I had got the opposing side to agree to a bill that funded building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. Once the voting was done, Mr. Berroya immediately broke out into laughter, in disbelief at how easily convinced the other senators were to sign a bill to build a wall just because it was phrased differently. He was so entertained by the scenario that he was yelling at the opposing team and asking them how they let something like that happen. I remember him laughing as he exclaimed “Am I teaching you guys anything?!”
Mr. Berroya was a huge reason I looked forward to going to school each day. He was incredibly patient with us and he always had an answer to any questions we asked, no matter how silly. I went to Mr. Berroya for advice because it was so clear to me that he genuinely cared for his students, so I knew that his advice was well-thought out and tailored to fit us uniquely.
Mr. Berroya was also effortlessly funny. He didn’t even have to try, but he would always put a smile on my face. He had such a big heart and it showed in everything he did, from the hours and hours he spent working to better our education in and out of school to the countless amount of games and events he attended to support us. On the last day of our senior year, he gave every student a piece of a rope as a parting gift, to remind us to “hold the rope” - a motto that he taught us all. I took that rope with me to UC Davis in the fall of 2016 and still have it on my desk where I study to this day. Mr. Berroya even came to Davis in 2018 and had dinner with all of the Summit alumni at Davis. That evening was filled with so much laughter and I remember not wanting it to end. Mr. Berroya was a piece of home that I needed in a hard time of my life - he was family. Mr. Berroya’s impact on my life was so important and special that it is hard to put into words. He was absolutely the best teacher and mentor I have ever had. I will deeply miss him and I will cherish and hold on to everything he has taught me in our time together. The world is not as bright of a place without him in it. Rest in Peace, Mr. Berroya.
Posted by Tom Chu on April 7, 2020
It seems that he was known by many different names, depending on how you knew him, but to me, he'll always be Coach Berroya. I never had him as a teacher or a mentor, but I still feel fortunate to have been touched by his vigor and energy as a coach. The first year Coach Berroya co-coached, along with Coach Edwards, the Summit Prep Cross Country team was also the first year it existed. It was also the first year I ever participated in the sport, as well as the first year I ever attempted to run anything past a mile. The first meet we did as a team was done at Bayfront Park. The course was fairly flat and I finished with a fairly decent time. The second meet we did was at the Crystal Springs Cross Country Course. If you have run on that course you know that its hills make it a very different experience than Bayfront. The hills took the team by surprise, but we all did our best.

But our best wasn't good enough for Coach Berroya. Recognizing this weakness in the team, he worked more hill running into our training program. "Again! Faster! Don't stop!" he would yell as we pumped our legs to exhaustion. But there is one hill that stood out to me in particular. It was at the very end of a 4-mile course that Coach Berroya had designed, and I was behind Coach Edwards, who was running with the team that day. At that point in the course, I was so tired from the 3 and a half-ish miles I had just run that I began to slow down. I thought about just walking up the hill to save me the pain my legs were anticipating. Coach Berroya had strategically placed himself at the top of the hill and saw me slow down. Sensing that I needed some encouragement, his voice, like a crack of thunder, rang out "Tom! I want you to beat Coach Edwards! Pump those legs and get up this hill! GO GO GO!" I don't know what it is about Coach Berroya's voice, but it sort of seems to feed energy to whomever it is directed at. So I did what he demanded, and I turned my pace from a slow jog into an all-out sprint up that last hill, managing to pass Coach Edwards before finishing the course.

I think at that moment, Coach Berroya showed one of his greatest traits: the ability to push people beyond what they think they can do. And I think that is something he did for anyone he taught, coached, and/or mentored. For myself, he helped me achieve 5K times I never even dreamed I could get. So thank you, for everything Coach Berroya. Wherever you are, I hope you are at peace, and getting a new PR.
Posted by Martina Pedersen on April 7, 2020
Mr. Berroya’s love for his students was never ending. He cared for each one of us so much and loved all our successes big or small. He believed in us so deeply and his spirit pushed us to be the people we are today. Even after you passed through his class you were still deeply cherished in his heart.

Mr. Berroya was a huge supporter of sports but loved his students success in academics and athletics. In 2016, after I had graduated from Summit Prep and a freshman at UC Santa Cruz, Mr. Berroya came to one of my UCSC volleyball games. Mr. Berroya’s energy was undeniable. I was no longer a student of his and playing for a college he had no affiliation with but was still the number one fan there. When asked who he was routing for and how he knew her he answered, “Oh she’s my daughter.” And my parents, sitting behind him let him be my dad for the game. This was to the easier answer as no other high school teacher would come to a students volleyball after they had graduated, but Mr. Berroya wasn’t just any high school teacher. He touched the lives of all of his students and it is an honor to considered his daughter even just for that day.

We love you Mr. Berroya and we will keep holding that rope for you.
Posted by CHRIS KELLY on April 7, 2020
I was Larry’s teaching coach as he completed his masters in education at Stanford during the 2013-2014 school year at Summit Preparatory Charter High School. Unlike my previous coachees, Larry had pretty extensive life and career experience before he came to us. By the time we were well into the fall and I had gotten a chance to know him and his background, I was a little in awe of him: here was a Columbia-educated, former federal public defender whom I was teaching how to teach US history. He had, as his colleague Jason Crotty wrote, “...more than a little courage and self-confidence” to change careers. As Larry’s coach, I considered myself lucky that year. I had no idea how lucky the students whose lives he would either influence or in some cases, change trajectories, at Prep, at Lighthouse and later at Gateway, would be.

There were a lot of advantages Larry brought to the work and to our students. His experience in law and the venue of the courtroom was a perfect metaphor for the case he would try to win every day - that the history we study matters, and that every student’s personal story matters.

His experiences with young people, so well-developed with the American Junior Golf Association, matured as he took our teaching and mentoring head-on. His passion for both cross-country running and competition found abiding outlets in our cross-country team, which Larry co-coached for two years. Larry’s reputation for school athletic spirit precedes him here, so I leave it to your imagination about how passionate he was when he attended a Prep game. There, he was consistently “the loudest voice”.

As a professional, the part of Larry I will remember the most is his selfless and consistent focus on his students. He was far more than a teacher, coach and mentor: He was an example of what it is to be a good person: Demanding in academic rigor yet compassionate about personal struggles, ambitious in athletic and academic goals for his students, yet humble and vulnerable when discussing his own shortcomings and tough times in life as he sought to teach and encourage his students. They have consistently commented that Larry saw the future identity in them before they themselves saw it. That is the pure faith of a pure educator, and it will inspire me always.

Equally as memorable was his sense of the ridiculous combined with approach to competition, whether it was retiring the Jack-in-the-box taco eating title forever during his time with the LA federal public defenders office with a decisive 21 tacos consumed in a single sitting or, as his Cal brother Otavio put it “...unfailingly buy a churro at halftime of Cal football games, because our sturdy Golden Bears just might fail to pull out a win without #ChurroToVictory”.

Those are my experiences of Larry. He loved different kinds of history, so I’m going to borrow a tribute from an 11th century poet and scholar that will help me express what I’m feeling. I hope it will help you to find some meaning in this tremendous loss that I know we all feel:

“Tis a Fearful Thing
to love what death can touch.
A fearful thing
to love, to hope, to dream, to be –
to be,

And oh, to lose.
A thing for fools, this,
And a holy thing,
a holy thing
to love.

For your life has lived in me,
your laugh once lifted me,
your word was gift to me.

To remember this brings painful joy.
‘Tis a human thing, love,
a holy thing, to love
what death has touched.”

-Judah Halevi

...and finally from Larry’s last email to the Prep team when he left in June 2016:

“I love you all. Keep on doing the amazing things you do.”
Posted by Jason Crotty on April 7, 2020
Larry and I met in 1997 when we were law clerks for different judges in the Eastern District of California in Sacramento. Larry was part of a small group of clerks who had lunch or coffee almost every day for a year. Afterwards, both Larry and I went on to be associates at Morrison & Foerster in San Francisco. He was a sharp lawyer and a famously active part of a number of summer associate classes.

Larry was a gregarious and intelligent person whose interests led him to leave legal practice and set out on a different path, something that takes more than a little courage and self-confidence. Based on everything I have seen since then, it was plainly the right decision and he found his true calling. 

I am still rather shocked to have heard. He will be missed. 
Posted by Julia Gross on April 7, 2020
Mr. Berroya was an incredible teacher, caring about students like me who were interested in history but not even in his class. I remember the first time I talked to him we were debating whether certain provisions passed by Congress as part of reconstruction constituted ex post facto laws. After that I knew I could talk to him about anything and everything politics and current events.

Beyond politics, he also cared about me personally. I told him I wanted to be a scientist, and needed him to help me get permission to leave early and commute to the lab at Stanford to make it happen. He told me as long as I kept up with my school work, he'd do whatever it took to help me get the lab time I needed. He held up his end of the bargain, and never wavered. With his help I was able to publish a scientific paper in high school. He saw me as a scientist before I did myself, and went above and beyond to help me achieve that dream. He will be dearly missed.
Posted by Diane Jullian on April 7, 2020
I first met Larry on the flight to China with a group of other students all destined for a semester abroad. He and Jonathan were assigned as roommates and had the room close to mine. My first impression was “whoa, this guy talks a lot!” However, it wasn’t long before I was drawn to his wit and incredible intelligence. China certainly wasn’t the easiest country for study abroad, but no matter how frustrating and overwhelming things could get, Larry had a way of finding the humor in every situation. He was also extremely warm and sympathetic. My time abroad was an incredible experience, however, without Larry and Jonathon it would have been a lot tougher mentally. Those two were my distraction when I needed it. .. always welcoming and endlessly entertaining with their uncanny ability to quote so many movies, lyrics, and play 7 degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon. ..so many hours spent just laughing.

At the time Larry was headed for a career in Law which wasn’t surprising given his talent with debating anything. However, I wasn’t surprised when I learned he’d turned his career path to teaching teens. Larry had such a huge heart and amazing sense of humor- it seems fitting that he spread that gift to a classroom rather than a courtroom. 

Larry you are severely missed. The world seems a much emptier place without you.
Posted by Avinash Kunnath on April 6, 2020
My memories of Larry: https://writeforcalifornia.com/p/larry-berroya-son-of-california

Larry, my Cal brother. You were one of the brightest and wisest souls I've ever known. Your time with us was too short. I was looking forward to many years of reunions in the Berkeley foothills. But I'm happy to have known you, and to have been a small part of the last days of your wild odyssey through this world.

Enjoy the trip to Ursa Major. You always were one for new journeys. RIP.
Posted by Jonathan Mates on April 6, 2020
Another wonderful tribute from his Cal basketball family
https://writeforcalifornia.com/p/the-cal-family-reflects-on-the-life
Posted by Jonathan Mates on April 6, 2020
Here's a nice tribute from his golf days at the AJGA.
https://www.ajga.org/in-memory-larry-berroya
Posted by Tania Rodriguez on April 6, 2020
Rest in peace to a man I owe so much of my success to. I met Mr. Berroya his first year of teaching and my junior year of high school. He’s one of the few reasons I made it out alive through one of the darkest periods of my life. Mr. Berroya believed in me and saw my potential when I couldn’t see it for myself. Although, he would certainly get frustrated with me he never gave up. He would apologize when he needed to, which was rare and powerful for an adult/teacher to communicate to a student. What made him so great was that he was unapologetically himself which naturally garnered the respect of his students. He whole heartedly believed in his students and found a way to support every single one of them. He made his students feel seen because he truly cared about them.

I always wanted to reconnect with him. My vision for myself was big but most of the time it was very scattered and that made it hard for some to believe in. Mr. Berroya always had my back and supported my decision to not go to college immediately after high school. He wrote one of my letters of recommendations for City Year which was an experience in education that completely changed my life. I ended up not graduating from high school and getting my GED in New York. Fast forward a couple years and here I am, a first generation college student about to graduate from Columbia University, one of his many alma maters. Regardless of whether I would have ended up at Columbia or not, his impact on me and many of his students was profound in ways that cannot be quantified.

I never got a chance to tell him but I know he would have been proud. He believed in me as a person, a student, a writer and even a politician. Often times in education (as I would later find out) you don’t get to see the fruits of your labor. I take solace in the fact that he loved his work. I can recall seeing so much growth in him as a person within the year that I met him. He wasn’t afraid to talk about his mistakes. He taught me to be patient with others and to give people a chance. This coming Spring, I dedicate my diploma to you Mr. Berroya. I’m grateful beyond what I could describe in words that you were part of my journey. I know as you ascend to meet a force greater than us, the universe, God, or whatever we may call it you are greeted with open arms.

Here’s to growth, an unwavering sense of love for your work and students, laughter, and all you can eat Las Vegas buffets (which he loved)! You gave us a reason to hold onto the rope and we will continue to do so during these trying times. Thanks for everything Berroya. You will be missed but live dearly in our hearts and memories.
Posted by Fe Bondad Berroya on April 5, 2020
Lawrence Gerard Bondad Berroya was born on a July 4, 1971 at the Marian Hospital in Manila, Philippines. It was one of the happiest moments of my life. He lived in the Philippines until February 10, 1974 when Larry & I left the Philippines for the United States. We eventually settled in Daly City.

Larry attended Our Lady of Mercy Parochial School in Daly City where he graduated in 1985. He & Peter Bautista were classmates & became very good friends. He was involved with the Scouts, played baseball, occasionally served as an altar server.

He then attended St. Ignatius College Preparatory where he graduated in 1989 and I was so proud that he did so well there academically.

The University of California at Berkeley was his next destination where he majored in History. On his last semester he went to China in an exchange program and this where he met his best friend, Jonathan Mates. He graduated with honors in 1993.

At this time, he had set his mind on going to law school. He took the LSAT exam & again did very well. He opted to go to Columbia Law School where he was awarded his law degree In 1997.

He passed the California Bar Exam in 1997 and then spent a year as law clerk for a judge in Sacramento.

Morrison & Foerster was where he worked for a few years then off to Los Angeles to be a Public Defender.

He was introduced to golf while in LA. He worked for American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) for a couple of years.

Larry, then, worked for a year at Snyder Miller & Orton before attending Stanford University for his master’s degree in education.

He found his true calling in education. He was such a dedicated teacher & really cared for his students.
———————————————————-———————————————

To my son Gerard (the younger brother of Larry) and to Larry’s best friend, Jonathan, I can’t thank you enough for everything you have done and continue to do. I am sure Larry is also grateful.
Posted by Melanie Ramirez on April 3, 2020
Larry,

Thank you for being such an inspiration to the Stanford SMASH community. Your passion for teaching and for providing opportunities to underrepresented students was truly inspiring
Posted by Peter Bautista on April 3, 2020
Pare,

It's been a fun and memorable 40+ year long journey. Thank you for being a part of that ride.

Posted by Judy Mates on April 2, 2020
We’ll miss you a lot. Rest In Peace.

Leave a Tribute

 
Recent Tributes
Posted by Angela Chung on April 23, 2020
Mr. Berroya wasn't my mentor at Summit High School, but I deeply respected and adored his passion for his students every time I saw him. I was intimidated by it, but truly admired it at the same time. He was truly an inspiration to all those around him and spoke up when he wanted to. He will be dearly missed. Rest in peace.
Posted by Marie Galvin on April 20, 2020
I was caught off guard when my mother told me she read Larry's obituary in the newspaper. I couldn't believe it. I went to grammar school with Lawrence (we called him Lawrence because there was another Larry in our class) and have fond memories of him. We were both good students, and we had a friendly competition to see who could get the highest grade on tests. Sister Jeanne Marie, our 6th grade teacher, let us write down additional information on the back of our tests for extra points. "What did you get?" "117!" "I got 123!"
He was so smart, and kind too. He gave me a book to read that I really enjoyed, and I got hooked on the whole series.
I haven't seen Lawrence since 8th grade; I wish I had. From what I've read, he had a wonderful, fulfilling life. I am amazed by all of the things he accomplished, and most impressed that he became such a well-loved teacher. I send my condolences to his family and friends.
Posted by Heather Green on April 18, 2020
It was such an honor to know Mr. Berroya as a teacher and coach to my sons at Summit. His intensity and dedication to all he did was an inspiration to so many, and I am so grateful my sons had an opportunity to experience his enthusiasm for life. His good humor, commitment to honesty and integrity, and his soaring spirit will always be cherished by our family. Oh, and let's not forget that sports cheer that brings all of us to our feet, SUM WHAT? Bless you Mr. Berroya.
Recent stories

Write for California: Remembering Larry Berroya

Shared by Peter Bautista on April 3, 2020
Lovely write up on Larry. Be sure to read the comments section as well. It's revealing how much he influenced our lives both directly and indirectly. 

https://writeforcalifornia.com/p/remembering-larry-berroya