ForeverMissed
Dr. Larry Canter (fondly known as Potch or Potchy Boy by his grandkids) passed away and went to be with the Lord on July 9, 2020, at the age of 81. Born in Nashville, Tennessee, to Carsie and Cebre Canter, Larry was the oldest of four children. He graduated from East Nashville High School in 1957. Larry received his bachelor degree in civil engineering from Vanderbilt University, a master's degree in environmental engineering from the University of Illinois, and a Ph.D in environmental engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. He completed his military service as a Commissioned Officer in the U.S. Public Health Service.  He began his teaching career at Tulane University (1967-69), and then moved to the University of Oklahoma (1969-2000) where he served as Chairman of the School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science, George Cross Research Professor, Sun Company Chair of Groundwater Hydrology, and Director of the Environmental and Ground Water Institute. He also was chairman of the Faculty Senate and represented OU with the Oklahoma Board of Regents. He taught short courses in environmental impact assessment all over the world for over 40 years and wrote the first EIA textbook used by colleges and government agencies plus twelve books on environmental topics. Larry earned many awards including being given the Rose Hulman Award by the International Association of Impact Assessment for his contributions world-wide on methods for addressing environmental impacts.

Larry's family was especially important to him along with his Christian faith. He is survived by his wife, Donna, and by his three sons and their families: Doug and wife Carrie, Steve and wife Coley, Greg and wife Jamie. His grandchildren include Haley, Jackson, Maddie, Allie, Audrey, Cole, Jake and Avery. He is also survived by two siblings and their families: Claude and wife Kathie and Ken and wife Ronda. He is survived by many other extended family members and lifelong friends. He is preceded in death by his sister Shirley and parents.

Larry and Donna attended the First Baptist Church in Norman, Oklahoma, for 30 years where he taught a couple’s class in Sunday School for 25 years and served several terms as a Deacon and as Chairman of the Budget and Personnel Committees. After Donna and Larry retired to Horseshoe Bay, he co-taught the Adult Bible Alive Study at the Church at Horseshoe Bay for almost 20 years, served on the Church Board of Trustees, and sang in the Church choir.

Larry will be remembered for his humility, honesty, generosity, and loving nature. When playing family games, he would start laughing so hard that everyone else would start laughing too. His hambone impression was legendary, and the grandkids all knew that popcorn and ice cream were Potch’s after dinner treats. He and Donna were blessed to have spent 58 wonderful years together in which they got to travel to many countries. His sons feel blessed to have had such a strong role model and loving father. He will be greatly missed.

The current plans are that there will be a private family memorial service on Saturday, August 1st. The service will be live streamed on the church Vimeo account so that those who want can participate by viewing the service. More definite plans will be announced later.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to the Benevolence Fund or Memorial Garden at the Church at Horseshoe Bay.

The celebration ceremony will be Saturday, August 1st at 10 am. You can view the live stream at:  https://vimeo.com/churchhsb
Posted by Peter Croal on August 3, 2020
I am very sad to learn of Larry's death. He truly was one of the leaders of EA thinking and action internationally for over 4 decades. In a time of ecosystem and political upheaval, we need Larry's voice to help the world stay on an even keel. He will be missed by so many EA practitioners. The world has lost a wise voice of reason, care and knowledge. My sincerest sympathies go out to his family.
Posted by George Parnell on August 2, 2020
Larry had graduated from East High and was attending Vanderbilt University when we first met at the Cooper & Martin Grocery Store on Gallatin Rd. Larry was a checker and I was a bagger. Somehow we kinda bonded and became good friends. I knew Larry was smart but I had no idea what all he would accomplish in his lifetime. He was such a humble man and never ever tried to show how smart he really was. After I graduated from East High in 1959 I left the Nashville area and never really knew what happened to Larry until a few years ago I googled His name and read about his life. I feel honored to have known this great man and to call him a longtime friend.
Posted by Monir Chowdhury on July 30, 2020
Dr Canter was my mentor, teacher, and PhD principal advisor. I worked as a research assistant at the Envrionmental and Ground Water Institute at OU under him and spent 4 years in a room next to his office. I was fortunate to work with him so closely. He was one of the finest people I have ever met in my life. I learned a lot from him. My deepest sympathies to Dr Canter's family.
Posted by Layton Guinn on July 27, 2020
I have fond memories of attending East Nashville High School and Vanderbilt University with Larry Canter. After that our lives parted, but we were still friends. In 2007 Larry and I were together again at the East High 50th reunion for the Class of 1957. That’s when I met Larry’s wife, Donna, and they met my wife, Merilyn. It was great to reconnect, and since then we’ve stayed in touch. Now it’s hard to accept that Larry has passed away, and it makes us very sad.

Merilyn and I extend our sincere condolences to Donna and all the family.

Love and prayers,

Layton & Merilyn Guinn
Posted by Karen Wines on July 25, 2020
How do you say good bye to someone who has been such a big part of your life for the past 20 years?  Larry and Donna have been our closest friends ever since we met at the Church at Horseshoe Bay shortly after we all moved here in 1999.  We soon learned what a great Bible teacher Larry was as we attended his couples' class in those early years.  He loved the Bible and was always prepared for any and all questions.  He made it come alive. 

We also played golf and bridge together and shared some family times since we both had 3 sons and grandchildren of the same ages. Probably our fondest memories are of trips we made together during summers to London, Puerto Vallarta, Colorado and Christmases shared in San Antonio, Williamsburg, Santa Fe and more. 

Larry's passing has left a hole in our lives that will never be filled. As Don Piper says, "We'll see you at the gate!" (to heaven).  With love and prayers for Donna and their wonderful family, Karen Wines

In addition to the fun trips mentioned by Karen, Larry and I always had fun playing bridge with our wives, especially if we won!  Larry was one of the nicest and gentlest people I have ever known and was one of the few people I have known who was held in high esteem by EVERYONE who knew him.  I already miss him.   Bill Wines
Posted by Bridget John on July 21, 2020
I am a staff member of the International Association for Impact Assessment. Larry was a giant in the field of impact assessment, and a favorite of the IAIA community. He had a kind and generous heart, and he will be missed. My deepest sympathies to Donna and his family.
Posted by Bill Kennedy on July 21, 2020
I met Larry at a CEMP training course in Scotland over 40 years ago and kept up with him over the years, mostly through IAIA meetings. His textbook on Environmental Impact Assessment is within handy reach on the bookshelf near my desk. In his dedication to me in that book he wrote in 1995, "Hope you find this book of value in your continuing EIA work" and, indeed, I have found it to be just that. As a graduate of Colorado University, I have always supported the "Buffs" while Larry supported the OU "Sooners" football team. In a p.s. to his dedication, he wrote, "Will OU ever beat CU again?" The answer is probably "No" as the two schools no longer compete in the same football league. Larry, however, was in a league of his own -- an unsurpassed champion in his field. I will miss him.
Posted by MIGUEL COUTINHO on July 20, 2020
I met Larry Canter during many IAIA annual conferences. His work in Cumulative Effects Assessment will always be present. The world will read "Canter et al." for a very long time, in the distant future in many impact assessments prepared in every country of the globe.
IAIA community will miss him deeply.
My sincere condolences to Larry's loved ones.
Miguel
Posted by Behzad Raissiyan on July 20, 2020
I knew Professor Larry Canter firstly because of his text book on EIA, which was the best known university text book in the field of EIA. This was probably the very reason that I attend his training course in IAIA 2008 annual conference in Perth, which was my first overseas conference ever, when I decided to extend my knowledge on EIA. Attending his course (with his co-instructor Professor Bill Ross) was far beyond my expectation, I learned a lot valuable things which I will never forget. More importantly the entire event and people that I met, the atmosphere of the community, opened a new window in my personal and professional life forever. I've become an active IAIA member since then and I attend all the annual events where I met him.
I love and miss you Larry. You, and Bill Ross have been my very first International teachers on EIA. I owe you a lot.  
Posted by Luis R Sánchez Cataño on July 19, 2020
as a student and a as a professional in environmental impact assessment in Mexico and LatinAmerica we ought meaning and understanding to Dr Canter; We will meet you in the big heaven of environmental engineering
Posted by Kay Herring on July 18, 2020
I know Larry through Donna, singing right beside her in the church’s Chancel Choir in Horseshoe Bay, and earlier with the Bluebonnet Chorale, a women’s singing group in the Highland Lakes.  I knew Larry, but only slightly...and certainly not all the amazing things he did with his life.  What I do know is that Larry and Donna were soulmates; you could absolutely see the love and respect they had for each other.  What a wonderful example they left for all of us.  Donna, I am hugging you.  
Posted by Charlotte Bingham on July 18, 2020
Larry Canter taught me much about impact assessment and he inspired me. I was privileged to teach alongside him with Brian Clark at the Centre for Environmental Management and Planning in Aberdeen, Scotland. I enjoyed seeing him and Donna over the years at meetings of the IAIA . Thank you to Larry for sharing his wisdom and his practical advice.
Posted by Kay Braziel on July 17, 2020
John and I have such wonderful memories of our relationship with the Canters
going back to our firstborns and now so happy that we had all those reunions
from Austin to Norman to London to Dallas to Winter Park to Horseshoe Bay.
It is so hard to give up such an honorable and humble man. We shall miss his
presence. May God hold all of you Canters tightly in his loving arms. Blessings
from the Braziels
Posted by Craig Toussaint on July 17, 2020
Larry Canter and I go back to 1972 when I was a graduate student at the University of Oklahoma. Dr. Canter always had time for his students and I was no exception. He helped me learn about environmental engineering and did much to advise me on my career path. For the past 24 years, I have taught environmental policy and management to graduate engineering classes at Johns Hopkins University where I have used his many books and articles to help educate my students. Dr. Canter played a key role in my life and I will always be thankful for having known him.
Posted by Leo Mérida on July 17, 2020
I was definitely marked by Dr. Canter deep knowledge about the topics he tought and his good teaching while I was a master's student at OU. I took three of his courses in that year (1999), I picked him as my advisor and he chose me as his teaching assistant the next semester. Thanks to him I got a scholar ship for his course in Dallas too. So I learned and enjoyed pretty much everything about knowing him and learning from him. The following year he retired. So I am thankfull not only about having chosen OU but also because he was the first reason that I was strongly attracted to OU. 
Posted by Manroop Chawla on July 16, 2020
In graduate school at UIUC, we used Larry’s textbook for EIA classes. Larry was a great teacher. I had the privilege of working with Larry and Tom on a Cumulative effects assessment study and the NEPA Analysis Guidance Manual. We discussed complex environmental issues and sought unique practical solutions. We also traveled to the North Pole, Alaska so Larry could send letters from Santa to his grand kids. I will miss Larry as a teacher and a friend. My best wishes to Donna and your family.
Posted by Melanie Ravan on July 16, 2020
Dr Canter taught Advanced Environmental Law with me two days before I got married...I can still see the joy he had for me as his fellow instructor personally, as we finished the course and travelled home...even with his massive intellectual gifts he appreciated simple joys, like a happy marriage and wanted the very best for others...I was privileged to work with Dr Canter and teach next to him...his Navy lawyer colleagues will miss him greatly and we know he will be enjoying his reward in eternity having graced this earth with his kindness, humility and astonishing intellect that reached thousands...its remarkable that such a gifted man was also so down to earth and kind to everyone...now he has his seat in our heavens...I hope his family knows how he trained the Navy to protect and preserve our living resources of water, air, land and those who live upon it, we are better for having known him, Melanie D Ravan
Posted by Tommy Atkins on July 16, 2020
This couple became My across the street neighbor when they moved to Norman - Cherry Laurel street was never so blessed again.
I take credit for assisting them to find their new home in Horseshoe Bay where I had retired-we restarted our great relationship and shared many good times together.
Thanks Larry for making my life better.
Posted by Andy Burk on July 16, 2020
I attend the same church as Larry and Donna and they have been such servants over the years. I have also been blessed to attend our local men's Bible study (CBS) with Larry for quite a few years. Larry was one of those beautiful souls that attended because he wanted to learn, but in reality, we were all learning from him. His willingness to share his wisdom with other guys - many younger than us - is the real back bone to a men's study. So many guys learned so much from Larry about the Word, being a better Christian, being a better husband and father and grandfather, and about becoming a real man seeking God's heart. Lives were touched and we will always love him for that and also Donna for sharing him with us on Monday nights. 
An incredible human being has now made Glory a better place. Our prayers will remain ongoing for Donna and all of their family that Larry spoke so much about. We will miss you, Brother!
Posted by Luis Sanchez on July 16, 2020
Like many impact assessment professionals and researchers, I first met Larry in an EIA training course. His clear reasoning, evident in his books and articles as well as in his lectures, was as inspiration for my own professional development. He contributed to strengthen environmental impact assessment in many countries.
Posted by David Turner on July 15, 2020
I first met Larry at a NEPA course he offered in Dallas in the late 1990s, and his deep knowledge was apparent throughout the week. He was kind enough to consult with us on several challenging projects, and he was indispensible in tackling the toughest problems and dealing with prickly clients. I was also fortunate enough to work with him on developing and offering a couple of NEPA training courses in San Antonio and Frankfort, Kentucky. He was kind and generous with his time and knowledge, and he helped me learn about the arcana of environmental impact assessment. I still refer to his books and articles, and they have a prominent place in my office. Larry was a wonderfully patient man, and I will miss his guidance.
Posted by Julieta Pisanty-Levy on July 15, 2020
Posted by Julieta Pisanty-Levy from Mexico City on July 15, 2020.

Larry was my teacher, mentor and also my colleague. We met in Mexico in the 80's. We also shared many IAIA conferences. I attended one of his courses in Dallas, TX and I learned a lot from his books and papers. I respected him as a recognized professional on Environmental Impact Assessment and I think he also respected me as one of the first Mexican professionals in that field in my country. He was also very king and generous to me by giving me a scholarship to attend his course, and also giving me two of his books as presents.
I will miss him and his broad smile and wish his soul rest in peace.
Posted by Tom Swor on July 15, 2020
Larry was a wonderful mentor and colleague to me over the last 20 years. We spent untold hours discussing seemingly unsolvable issues before finally discovering a pathway to the solution we sought. In the process, I learned many things, but the most important was that I found a dear friend. You will be missed Larry. My best wishes to Donna and the rest of your family and friends.
Posted by Michael W. S. Hayes on July 15, 2020
A great man, A GREAT MAN!, and a life well lived.
A sound mentor and friend. I was honored, privileged, pleasured and pleased to have known him during my professional life.
He will be sorely missed, in- and out of-, the environmental law and science academic community. And by the Department of the Navy Family.

VR and WR,
Very respectfully submitted,
     //s//
Michael W. S. Hayes, Esquire
Senior Attorney-Advisor (Trial)
Direct Dial Office Number is: ☎ 1-(202)-685-7734
Professional E-mail Address is: michael.hayes1@navy.mil
Posted by Martin Daniel Palacios Qu... on July 15, 2020
We are left with his teachings, the tenacity of learning and the objectivity of environmental impact studies, I anxiously read his books and papers ... I will miss him Until always !!!
Posted by Martin Daniel Palacios Qu... on July 15, 2020
We are left with his teachings, the tenacity of learning and the objectivity of environmental impact studies, I anxiously read his books and papers ... I will miss him Until always !!!
Posted by David Sabatini on July 14, 2020
Larry Canter was one of the godliest men I have ever known. I was blessed to know him as a mentor, colleague, co-laborer for the kingdom and friend. Larry was instrumental in my decision to join the University of Oklahoma - he the senior, highly accomplished professor and me the fresh-out-of PhD assistant professor.  Larry took me under wing, professionally, personally and spiritually (five years of BSF leadership together). I am a better professor, husband, father and person for knowing Larry and will always be grateful that God brought him into my life. I especially enjoyed traveling together to teach EIA courses - our conversations on wide-ranging topics were instrumental in forging and shaping me into the person I am today - I vividly recall them. Thank you Larry! I look forward to joining you in heaven one day, where we can together worship our precious Savior face-to-face. In the meantime, my prayers go to Donna, the boys and their families as I know you all miss him so.
Posted by Robin Senner on July 14, 2020
Larry was my friend, mentor, and inspiration, and known around the world. I will miss him.
Posted by Cheryl Wasserman on July 14, 2020
Larry Canter is known throughout the globe for his expertise and training in environmental and social impact assessment. He was the premiere advocate for cumulative impact assessment and really a giant in the field. He has been and will be sorely missed. Heartfelt commiseration with his family for the difficult journey at the end of his productive and caring life. He will be long celebrated as one of our intellectual and committed professionals and persons.
Posted by David Keys on July 14, 2020
Larry was a good friend and awesome teacher who I will sorely miss. 
Posted by Jamie Brinkley Canter on July 13, 2020
We love and miss you Larry!

Leave a Tribute

 
Recent Tributes
Posted by Peter Croal on August 3, 2020
I am very sad to learn of Larry's death. He truly was one of the leaders of EA thinking and action internationally for over 4 decades. In a time of ecosystem and political upheaval, we need Larry's voice to help the world stay on an even keel. He will be missed by so many EA practitioners. The world has lost a wise voice of reason, care and knowledge. My sincerest sympathies go out to his family.
Posted by George Parnell on August 2, 2020
Larry had graduated from East High and was attending Vanderbilt University when we first met at the Cooper & Martin Grocery Store on Gallatin Rd. Larry was a checker and I was a bagger. Somehow we kinda bonded and became good friends. I knew Larry was smart but I had no idea what all he would accomplish in his lifetime. He was such a humble man and never ever tried to show how smart he really was. After I graduated from East High in 1959 I left the Nashville area and never really knew what happened to Larry until a few years ago I googled His name and read about his life. I feel honored to have known this great man and to call him a longtime friend.
Posted by Monir Chowdhury on July 30, 2020
Dr Canter was my mentor, teacher, and PhD principal advisor. I worked as a research assistant at the Envrionmental and Ground Water Institute at OU under him and spent 4 years in a room next to his office. I was fortunate to work with him so closely. He was one of the finest people I have ever met in my life. I learned a lot from him. My deepest sympathies to Dr Canter's family.
his Life

Larry's Life in His Own Words

Larry wrote this when he was featured in the East Nashville High Alumni News after being awarded the Rose-Hulman Award in 2014.

Reflections by Larry Canter, PhD

I begin my remarks by acknowledging Ms. Katherine Atkinson, my English teacher at East Nashville High during my senior year (1957). Ms. Atkinson always encouraged her students to go to college; and she routinely sought out scholarships to help them along. I was fortunate to receive a scholarship to Vanderbilt where I majored in Civil Engineering. Several other classmates also went to Vanderbilt; for example, Ann Smithson and Layton Guinn. Over the four years at Vanderbilt I began to think about a career in teaching and research at the University level.

After graduating cum laude from Vanderbilt (1961), I attended the University of Illinois to pursue a Master’s degree in Environmental Engineering. Again, I had help and encouragement from my advisor at Vanderbilt, Dr. Peter Krenkel, who influenced my receipt of another scholarship. I graduated with an MS degree in 1962.

The most important event in my life occurred when I was at Illinois – I met Donna Johnston from Oklahoma. She also graduated from the University of Illinois in 1962. Soon afterward we were married (August 25, 1962) and moved to Cincinnati, Ohio. I volunteered to be in the U.S. Public Health Service (to fulfill my military obligation) and had opportunities to teach in the field of radiation and the environment.

After 2.5 years in the USPHS, I applied to the University of Texas in Austin, to work on a PhD degree and was awarded a full fellowship by my advisor, Dr. Earnest Gloyna. I continued to study and work in environmental fields such as Air Pollution Control, Water and Wastewater Treatment, Solid Waste Management, and Environmental Laws and Regulations. By the way, our first son (Doug) was born in 1964, I received my PhD degree in Environmental Health Engineering in 1967.

From 1967 to 1969, I taught as an Assistant Professor in the Civil Engineering Department at Tulane University in New Orleans. These formative years allowed me to gain experience in advising students, seeking research funding, and presenting papers at conferences. Also, our second son (Steve) was born in 1967.

In 1969, our family moved to Norman, Oklahoma where I was an Assistant Professor in the School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science. Further, our third son (Greg) was born in 1972.

As my career unfolded at OU, many positive things began to occur. I was appointed as Director of the School in 1972 and continued in the position until 1979. I was also promoted to Associate Professor in 1972 and to Professor in 1977. These years were filled with teaching graduate-level courses in environmental engineering and science, in receiving research grants from outside sponsors, in preparing research reports and peer-reviewed journal articles, and conference presentations.

Over the years from the 1980s to 2000, I was the recipient of numerous awards at OU; some examples are:

  • Outstanding Faculty Achievement in Research, College of Engineering, 1982.
  • Regent’s Award for Superior Accomplishment in Research, 1983.
  • George Lynn Cross Research Professor, 1993.
  • Sun Company Professor of Ground Water Hydrology, 1984; and Sun Company Chair of Ground Water Hydrology, 1995.
  • Regent’s Award for Superior Accomplishment in Professional and University Service, 1999.
During the above years and even until today, I have continued writing research reports, journal articles, and several books and book chapters. I also attend yearly meetings of the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) at locations around the world.

When I retired from OU in August, 2000, I decided to phase out of my work. However, it has not worked. I still teach professional short courses in the USA and internationally. I also work on environmental impact studies. I have written several textbooks/professional books; the most widely known book is Environmental Impact Assessment (which has been translated in several languages). Further, I am wrapping up a book entitled Cumulative Effects Assessment and Management (to be available in May or June of this year).

A particular honor occurred in May, 2009. I received the Rose-Hulman Award from IAIA; this reward recognized my sustained contributions world-wide on methods for addressing environmental impacts, including cumulative effects.

I want to close these ramblings by thanking God for His blessings throughout my life. I also thank Donna, my wife and friend for 52+ years, for her support and encouragement in my many endeavors.Our three sons are now practicing engineers, each with outstanding wives (Carrie, Coley, and Jamie); also we have eight grandchildren. Our oldest (Haley) is a sophomore at the University of Texas and our other grandchildren (Jackson, Allison, Audrey, Avery, Madelyn, Cole, and Jake) are busy in sports, music, drama, etc. We are truly blessed!

Recent stories

Vanderbilt Surveying Camp

Shared by Layton Guinn on July 29, 2020
Larry Canter, Wesley Elrod and I (Layton Guinn) went to East Nashville High School together. We also went to Vanderbilt together.  We were good friends.

In 1957, during the summer between high school and college we worked at Vanderbilt’s Camp Schuerman near Sparta, Tennessee, about 100 miles east of Nashville.  This was Vanderbilt’s engineering school surveying camp.  There we met Charlie Hamlet who was also starting his freshman year in the fall at Vanderbilt.  Now there were four of us who were good friends.  The four of us were on Vanderbilt “work” scholarships.  We worked at the camp washing dishes, setting tables, and doing odd jobs.

A year later at the start of our sophomore year the four of us were again at Vanderbilt’s Camp Schuerman, but this time we were students taking the four-week surveying class.  There were about 40 of us students attending the camp.  The students were divided into groups, and each group had to survey the camp property and draw a map.

The attached photo (See the Gallery.) came from Charlie Hamlet.  This photo shows our surveying group of six students (the four of us plus two other student friends) with the map that we made.  Unfortunately, the details of the map do not show in the photo.  The map shown in the photograph is dated, September 14, 1958.

Back row, left to right:  Wesley Elrod, Ransom White, Larry Canter - Chief, Everett Falk
Front row, left to right:  Layton Guinn, Charlie Hamlet

The four of us grew beards and mustaches during the four weeks that we were attending the surveying camp.  We all shaved soon after the camp was over as I recall.

Condolence from a former Grad Student

Shared by Randolph Larsen on July 15, 2020
He will always be Dr. Canter to me. He took a B/C student into his graduate program and turned him into an A student with a love of academia. Dr. Canter was my mentor for my MS degree in '97. His detailed oriented teaching of EIS and Air Pollution Controls led me to continue on to a PhD then an academic post and currently department chair and professor of environmental chemistry. Thank you Dr. Canter for giving me an opportunity. I will be praying for you and your family. God Bless.
Shared by Audrey Canter on July 15, 2020
As one of potchy boys lucky grand daughters, I am flooded with memories to share. One of my most memorable and reoccurring memories is of him falling asleep on his chair while watching re runs of Longhorn Football. Luckily for him every rewatch left him on the edge of his seat, but despite all of the excitement of the same game being new, he never failed to fall asleep. My cousins and I would always try to take pictures making silly faces while he was taking his naps but he always would wake up by the sound of our laughter. And despite us ruining his much needed nap, he would still get up, find that basketball pump that always seemed to disappear and let jackson and jakey beat him at a game of horse. I love you Potchy Boy, rest in peace