ForeverMissed
This memorial website was created in memory of Lawrence (Larry)  R  Pomeroy.
Posted by Cheryl Pomeroy on June 3, 2021
Reflecting on what would have been Dad's 96th birthday yesterday, I wish he could have seen his great grand-daughter, born Jan 2021 and doing well.

I miss his dry humor and determined will.

I'm honored to know that Larry helped many fellow scientists during his 40+ year career.
Posted by David Dow on June 2, 2021
In recent times I have been engaged in the dialog on North Atlantic right whale
mortalities from entanglements in Jonah crab/lobster pot gear being conducted by the Massa. Division of Marine Fisheries and NOAA Fisheries. I was able to draw on lessons in biological oceanography and ecosystems-based management from my days as a Graduate Student at the University of Georgia. Ocean climate change in the Gulf of Maine has caused shifts in the marine food web (including greater importance for the microbial food web) and shifts prey/predator species in space/time which alter top down predation and competition. Thus I was able to combine this background with the EMaX (Energy Modeling & Analysis Exercise) research project & 2020 NOAA Fisheries State of Ecosystem report to support my comments on how sustainable fishing would help conserve NARW populations.
Posted by David Dow on March 26, 2021
Recently I was submitting comments to NOAA Fisheries on the effects of climate change on the management of finfish/shellfish and conservation of North Atlantic right whales in the Gulf of Maine. I emphasized climate effects on the base of the marine food chain (diatom-based grazing food chain and microbial food web) and predation/competition at the top. It brought to mind Larry's pioneering research on the microbial food web web and how it was still not recognized by most of NOAA's fisheries scientists 50 years later.
Posted by Rosemary Woodel on March 26, 2021
Just Friday night Gordhan Patel and I were discussing Dr Pomeroy and his many beautiful qualities.
Posted by Ray Thompson on May 5, 2020
Many years ago Larry Pomeroy spent a couple of summers working with my colleague Don Deibel and me at the Ocean Sciences Centre, Memorial University of Newfoundland. It was a pleasure to host Larry, to experience his commitment to the project and to observe his careful and methodical work in the laboratory. I knew almost nothing about marine microbial ecology before I met Larry, but he taught me a great deal during the conversations I had with him. He got along very well with the members of our research group, and I remember that we had some good times when work was over for the day. My fondest memory of Larry is his sense of humour, which I enjoyed immensely. 

Most, if not all, of the people visiting this memorial website are no doubt well aware of the tremendous strength in estuarine and marine ecology which emerged at UGA during the last half of the 20th century and continued into the 21st. Larry Pomeroy was one of several scientists with outstanding international reputations who played a pivotal role in developing the programme at UGA, which attracted students and collaborators from all over the globe. Many of of you have written tributes on this site. Larry Pomeroy's ground-breaking research on the microbial loop is his legacy and will be remembered for a very long time. 
Posted by Russell Pomeroy on May 4, 2020
Thomas Edison famously opined that “Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration”. I believe I first heard that quote from my Dad, and I saw first-hand how that maxim characterized his career in science. While Dad was always a present and loving father, his work life occupied much of his time year-round. It was not unusual to see Dad on the weekend reading through a stack of NSF proposals in the living room or preparing for a lecture in his office. I’m not at all surprised to read accounts from graduate students about how Dad made full use of his time on cruises.

It has been gratifying and somewhat surprising to learn just how distinguished Dad’s career was now that he’s gone. I also didn’t know how important a mentor he was to his students. I knew he was doing important work, but he was not one to talk big about his accomplishments. When his microbial loop article was published in 1974 I was in the teenage angst mode of a high school junior, so I was fairly oblivious.
 
My parents made sure we had some great experiences as a family despite their busy schedules. We attended Expo 67 in Montreal, canoed through the Minnesota boundary waters, drove all the way to Santa Fe (where the car gave out), visited Seattle and the Olympic Peninsula, and hiked the Appalachian Trail for a few days before I headed off to college. My sister and I were also the beneficiaries of the interesting locations that a career in marine science can take you to. We spent our early childhood on Sapelo Island, spent a summer in Bermuda, and visited other interested seaside spots over the years. It seemed normal at the time, but I appreciate how special it was now.

Dad definitely had a sense of humor which I can illustrate with a story about my parents’ vegetable garden. Mom had very specific ideas about how things should be done which Dad didn’t always see the logic in. One day Dad announced to me, “Your Mom and I are going up to the garden to test our marriage!” 

Looking at Dad’s life, I can easily say it was a life well spent. He taught me that hard work is rewarded, and unlike the common expression, nice guys don’t finish last.
Posted by Don Deibel on May 1, 2020
Dr. Pomeroy was a supervisor, collaborator, colleague, and friend since I started graduate school at UGA in 1973. His seminal paper, "The Ocean's Food Web, A Changing Paradigm" changed not only the paradigm, but my life. It lead to my changing supervisors to Dr. Gus Paffenhöfer, at Skidaway, so that I could work on a small part of Pomeroy's figure in that paper that he called, 'mucous net feeders'. Larry remained a valued member of my supervisory committee and the mucous net feeders remained the focal point of my career. Larry was kind, patient, and generous with me over the years, and helped me start my career by collaborating in the Cold Ocean Productivity Experiment in Conception Bay, Newfoundland (see Sea Story 6 under ). He made many friends at the Marine Lab in Logy Bay (now the Department of Ocean Sciences) who join with me in mourning his passing. The originality of his thinking was a continual inspiration to me and revolutionized Biological Oceanography. My family always looked forward to Larry's Christmas card every year, and send to his family our heartfelt condolences.
Posted by Rosemary Woodel on April 24, 2020
I became friends with your dad when he was the Acting Head of Zoology and I was the office manager. I was present with him when Janet died. He was kind and loyal to me in so many ways I can't list. Until he moved away I tried to be his buddy. Gordhan Patel was kind enough to tell me he'd read the obituary in the paper (which I don't get). I am consoled by memories. r
Posted by Robert Gillen on April 23, 2020
I am a contemporary of Jim Thomas and Jim Marsh and a MS student of Dr. Pomeroy's from around 1964. I want to say, first of all, there is nothing I could add to Jim Thomas' memorial; it is just perfect. And we can see from his many tributes from others that Dr. Pomeroy was indeed a man of many sides. I guess that is why after I left the prospects of a scientific career behind I was still his student. I was still asking him questions when he told me "No more calls, I'm losing my hearing. You have to use e-mail." And just when he moved into assisted living near Greensboro, my family and I moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee. So I sent him pictures and wrote him letters the best I could until I got the e-mail that he had passed away. I really loved this man. Rest in Peace.
Posted by Bud Freeman on April 20, 2020
I first met Larry when I started as a graduate student in the Department of Zoology in 1974, as a student in Jim Schindler's lab. I was fortunate to have a few classes with him and also to participate in several research cruises, which was a great opportunity for a mostly freshwater person! Other folks have summed it up-- suffer no fools, ship-time is gold, and very generous and supportive. One cruise event that stuck with me, on a converted destroyer escort out of Cape Fear Marine Institute, involved the ship coming to a sudden unscheduled stop. The crew rushed to the back deck to begin fishing and suddenly Larry appeared looking over the deck, disappeared and just as quick as we stopped, we were underway and the crew's fishing station was cancelled, to much griping by the would be fishers. I'm sure he reminded the Captain about who was paying the bill! 

Larry graciously stepped in to serve as my Ph.D. major professor after Jim left for Clemson University. I had too much invested in UGA research to travel with the rest of the lab and finished at UGA, and ended up continuing a career at UGA. Larry and Janet were very supportive of Mary and I over the years and also of the Museum of Natural History. Larry was dedicated to graduate students and was always judging papers the the graduate student symposium in Ecology, long after he was retired, a model to other faculty! Reading the other tributes is bitter-sweet-- we all were so lucky to have known and been influenced by Larry and Janet
Posted by Sam Wainright on April 20, 2020
Larry taught Marine Ecology, my first class as a PhD student in Zoology at UGA. I hesitated to enroll in the class because I had already taken a class with the same name in my Master’s program in Florida. Larry’s course was a revelation for me. I learned about the Microbial Loop, nutrient cycling, rings and eddies, among other concepts, all delivered with Larry’s subtle sense of humor. My class project was conducted in Stuart Findlay’s lab, where I learned about microbial respiration, following lab protocols, experimental design, writing concisely. When I asked Larry if he would consider having me as his graduate student he said Yes. Larry’s course set me up for my PhD dissertation on the fluxes of sediment and microbes between the benthos and plankton during sediment resuspension.

After several semesters as teaching assistant in Human Anatomy and Physiology, Larry generously offered me a research assistantship in his lab. He sent me to U of WA to take a course on sediment transport with Pete Jumars and Arthur Nowell, which gave me theoretical background, and ideas for designing the flume that I used in my dissertation research. My fellow graduate students, Bopi Biddanda, Peter Griffith, postdoc Don Douglas and I accompanied Larry on research cruises aboard the Blue Fin, Iselin, and Cape Hatteras. These cruises provided us with a breadth of priceless experiences and insights. Larry was very generous in sending all of us to Ocean Sciences meetings in great cities like San Francisco and New Orleans. Although Larry was not one for small talk, his door was always open to discuss research, cruise planning, writing and anything else that was important. His attentiveness to each of us gave us a solid foundation as future scientists.

I greatly value my memories as Larry’s student. He filled a gap in my life that had existed during my B.A. and M.S. degrees, when I was away from home, and had limited contact with my father, a chemical engineer with a work ethic much like Larry’s. Larry’s drive, his thirst for research, and his long and distinguished career made a big impression on me. I am a better person because Larry was my role model during that time. 

After leaving UGA, Patty and I routinely wrote to Larry and Janet at Christmas time. We were deeply saddened at Janet’s passing. Recently, we were concerned that Larry had not replied to our Christmas cards…we now know the reason. I am privileged to have known him; I cannot think of a better role model for a young PhD scientist.
Posted by Gustav Paffenhofer on April 18, 2020
After arriving at the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography in August 1974 I intended to join the Institute of Ecology at the University of Georgia. I was able to get in touch with Dr. Pomeroy who suggested visiting the Institute of Ecology. My first trip to Athens was highlighted by a dinner party at the home of Janet and Larry Pomeroy who had invited graduate students and researchers from Ecology. This was a memorable event thanks to the personalities of Janet and Larry.
Thanks to Larry's suggestion Don Deibel joined me in 1975 as a graduate student. Our first major oceanographic study together was a cruise on the R/V Gilliss of the University of Miami in April 1979. I was chief scientist for the first time being joined by oceanographers Larry Atkinson, Eileen Hofmann, Tom "Dr.Eddy" Lee, Jim Yoder and Larry Pomeroy who was accompanied by graduate student Michelle Wood.
This cruise focusing on processes in upwelled water masses on the U.S. southeastern continental shelf turned out to be a major success for Larry assisted by graduate student Don: They were able to demonstrate, in a pioneering effort, that fecal pellets of pelagic tunicates were a major food source for bacteria which the were the food for ciliates. By that time our knowledge of the significance of detritus within the planktonic food web was indeed limited. These findings by Pomeroy and Deibel strengthened our combined oceanographic effort (Atkinson, Deibel, Hofmann, Lee, Menzel, Paffenhofer, Pomeroy and Yoder, all supported by a large grant from the Atomic Energy Commission, now Department of Energy) to describe and quantify processes associated with and within upwelled water masses.
Last, I would like to say that Janet and Larry Pomeroy will always be with us largely because of their outgoing positive attitude towards all of us!
Posted by Judy Meyer on April 17, 2020
Larry had an enormous influence on my life and career, and I was saddened to learn of his death. I regret that I lost touch with him after we moved from Athens. 

He had a major impact on ecological science and was an integral part of my life in Georgia. I miss my interactions with him.  I could always count on him for objective but kind feedback on my half-baked ideas. I fondly recall walking past his office and seeing him reading the journal Science while eating lunch.   

Larry was a huge part of my scientific life. I first met him at Eniwetok Atoll in the Pacific on the Symbios expedition organized by Bob Johannes. I was there as lab assistant and cook (I could barely cook for myself at that point) for the group of scientists living on one of the islands.  Larry didn’t complain about my cooking, about having to do cleanup, or about the generally rustic conditions in that abandoned military camp. He always wore a white shirt and hat, being much more conscious about sun exposure than I was in those days.

A few years later, Larry and Janet hosted a party for me when I applied for a position at UGA. They made me feel comfortable and relaxed, which I am sure helped me get the job. 

After arriving at UGA, Larry and I shared a lab for many years. It was basically just a huge empty room that we filled with scrounged furniture and lab equipment. While showing me around when I first arrived, he gave me wise advice on what lab equipment I should get with my startup money. That advice and his marine microbial research set me on a path that I would follow for much of my career. I applied the insights and understanding he developed for marine ecosystems to rivers and streams. I don’t think my career would have been as successful as it was without the ongoing insights Larry gave me.

For a while, Larry and I sort of shared an office as well. It was a strange arrangement. I was in the outer office, while he was in the inner office. This meant he had to walk through my office to get to his. His tolerance and understanding was evident after my daughter was born. I brought her to the Institute with me during the first several months of her life, and Larry never complained about having to walk through “the nursery” to get to his office. Few academics would have been so understanding.

I have many happy memories of time spent with Larry and Janet. When we first moved to our house on Lake Oglethorpe, we had 4th of July parties on the lake. Those parties included canoe races. Race rules required at least one faculty member in each canoe, and I recall Larry (still wearing a long-sleeved white shirt) paddling in the aluminum canoe he “loaned” us. He insisted we didn’t need to return it, and we didn’t. I did return something else he loaned me. When I had my daughter, he loaned me a copy of a Shel Silverstein book that he said he had loved to read to his children. He asked for it back when his first grandchild arrived. I was honored that he shared that with me.
Larry had a long and incredibly productive life.  I have many happy memories of him that I continue to treasure.
Posted by John Barrow on April 17, 2020
Larry and Janet were both active in the political life of Athens. Janet and my Mom were leaders of the Democratic Party — and great friends! Whenever we had to hold a caucus to elect someone to the state Democratic Committee, or to go to a state or national convention, we could always count on them to show up and spend the time necessary to support their friends. I had the additional pleasure of representing them both on the Athens Clarke County Commission, and no one ever had better supporters. Larry was an outstanding public citizen, just like Janet. Janet and my Mom passed away within a short time of each other, and Larry continued to represent their values in the years since. Now they are together again, as they remain in our hearts. No doubt they are organizing and helping their new neighbors to see how to be better citizens of the Beloved Comunity!
Posted by Clay Montague on April 17, 2020
Submitted by Clay Montague, PhD ‘80

     "Oceans and Estuaries"

   My ocean his lectures would fill
     with nanoplankton, phosphate, and krill.
   Now I know more
     than ever before,
   from one-half to thirty per mille.


     "Carbon Thirteen Early Days"

   After hours to burn Sample One,
   Heard a new design could be done.
   Gave space in his lab
     and paid for the tab,
   So now we had instant combustion!
   (Ref. Ecology, Vol. 60, No. 1. (Feb., 1979), pp. 48-56).

Favorite memory: sharing one of Janet’s strawberry-rhubarb pies in a Sapelo apartment while learning a few unrestrained limericks (circa 1977). 

What I tried to emulate: in all the courses I took in 11 years of higher education, none were packed fuller of information than each one of Dr. Pomeroy’s. Exquisite preparation. I got my money’s worth.  
Posted by Bob Christian on April 15, 2020
Larry was an excellent, well-respected and especially patient teacher as well as researcher.  His Marine Biology was a highpoint among my courses at Georgia; he always had time for my list of questions prior to each test. Training cruises on the RV Eastward, for which he annually secured funding, were most memorable to all. As alluded to by Chris D'Elia, they were the first research cruise for most and first time out of the country for many.  Gene Turner and I recently exchanged memories of shared experiences on our cruise. Larry patiently listened to the hustler on a Kingston street corner who wanted to sell him a wristwatch to replace his “old fashioned” pocket watch.  He was just as patient when the wire broke sending sampling equipment to the bottom of the Cayman Trench. Chances are that if you took Marine Biology you have comparable memories of your first cruise with Larry.
Posted by James Marsh on April 15, 2020
I was the second student to receive a Ph.D under Larry’s guidance. The
first was Bert Roffman, long deceased. Both of us did part of our
dissertation research at Enewetak in 1967 while Larry was at NSF for a
year. To say that I was given a high degree of independence is an
understatement, but it was a motivator to know that Larry had the
confidence that I could manage on my own and work out things my own
way. However, I still felt his guidance from afar. When it came writing time
for the dissertation, lest I procrastinate as deadlines came into view, he
pledged to flog me to the finish line. It was a mark of his professionalism
that he did not expect to put his name on any publication resulting from
that research.

MS student Libby Stull and I stayed with the Pomeroy family in Alexandria
when we attended the AAAS meetings in Washington in 1966. Larry
wanted to encourage us to have the experience of attending a large
scientific gathering and knew that we were unlikely to be able to do so
otherwise, although it was a significant inconvenience for the family. I’m
sure Russell and Cheryl don’t remember it, but we were fascinated with
their new Christmas toys.

By the time of my dissertation research I had already experienced how
Larry worked as I participated in his early research cruises on the
Eastward. As we students worked at close quarters with him, we observed
those qualities that provided such a good example for us all. He planned
meticulously to maximize ship time. Once on board he showed singular
focus, a dogged work ethic, resilience, and flexibility. Things sometimes
did not go well, but Larry seemed to always find a way to accomplish the
goals with his amazing perseverance. It was only much later on other
research cruises that I experienced the luxury of standing watch time
totaling a mere 8 hours out of 24. It was with Larry on the Eastward,
however, that I absorbed the big insight that he was just starting to
develop with respect to ocean metabolism: “If you can see it, it doesn’t
count.”

After I began my career at the University of Guam and continued my
research interests on reefs, I had the great good fortune to work with Larry
and a number of others on Operation Symbios in 1971. Larry later cited
this as an important experience in his own career, and it was certainly a
seminal experience for me. It was very gratifying to again work with him
daily for an extended period and continue to learn from him as we
exchanged ideas and findings. It was also great fun to share in his
understated, often wry, quick-witted sense of humor.

Alas, I did not get to spend extended time with Larry after that, although
we occasionally saw each other and hobnobbed at meetings. I remember
with particular pleasure the time he stopped over on Guam to stay with
me for a brief period on his way to Japan. It was also a pleasure to
sometimes see Larry’s only lifetime bride at those meetings. Janet was
known and appreciated for taking an active interest in Larry’s students
during and after their time at Georgia. I continue to savor the memory of
having Larry and Janet spend an afternoon with me in my retirement
condo in Honolulu when Larry attended the ocean sciences meetings
there and made what was one of his last presentations at a national
meeting.

How lucky I am to have known Dr. Larry Pomeroy and to have been one of
his students!
Posted by MARIO PAMATMAT on April 15, 2020
In remembrance of Larry Pomeroy, I recall fond memories of my first visit to Sapelo Island to give my first seminar about my dissertation on intertidal benthic community metabolism which was inspired by Larry's paper on algal productivity in a salt marsh. Larry's influence really reached around the world! His and Janet's hospitality and kindness touched many young scientists' life.
Posted by Merryl Alber on April 15, 2020
I was first introduced to Dr. Pomeroy as a graduate student reading his papers on the microbial loop, and then had the privilege of working with him in the 1990s as part of the Georgia Rivers LMER project (well after he had officially retired). I remember Larry working away during cruises on the R/V Bluefin and grabbing his lunch on a paper towel (rather than waste a plate). I also remember how kind and supportive both he and Janet were to me as a young scientist. As the current Director of the Marine Institute on Sapelo Island I think of Larry often (we've got an old hot plate marked "Pomeroy" on display in our visitor's center), and am deeply appreciative of his legacy.
Posted by Sandra Richards on April 15, 2020
Larry was my slightly older cousin and my childhood hero. We had a huge apricot tree in my backyard, and I watched him climb like a monkey to the very top. Since I could only make it to the part of the tree that split in three directions (about seven feet off the ground and a good place to hide, sit, and read), I was in awe of his prowess. I also remember how he kept seahorses alive in a tank, which was then almost impossible to do. They were so fascinating to watch as he explained to me everything there was to know about seahorses. A harbinger of his distinguished career to come in later days. He had a good life, loved by his children, and doing the work he was meant to do.
Posted by Ron Benner on April 15, 2020
Larry Pomeroy was a keen observer of the natural world. His 1974 article on the ocean's food web revealed major roles played by microorganisms and helped kick-start a decades-long age of discovery in marine microbial ecology.  His research and writings were inspirational to me, a doctoral student at UGA in microbiology with Bob Hodson in the early 1980s. 
Posted by Francesc Peters on April 14, 2020
In 1989, Larry accepted an unknown student from Spain with no Master's degree and no fellowship or other support. The only reference came from Carlos Pedrós, who spent some time at Sapelo and had met Larry in Athens. I can support you with a Research Assistantship for two years he wrote just before email, Gopher, Mosaic, facebook, linkedin, and what not. He came to pick me up at the airport in Atlanta, and Larry and Janet had me stay with them for a few days before I could find a place somewhere. I had never travelled alone, I had not been to the US before and I could barely make myself understood in English, but that was not a problem. They were both so welcoming, friendly, helpful and supportive that I felt almost like at home. I had the feeling I was not the first to receive such family treatment at the Pomeroys.
Larry was such a quiet and humble person. At home, Janet would be doing most of the social talking, and she would also highlight Larry's achievements in admiration. I think it was the first night there that she proudly showed me the Huntsman medal (the "Nobel" in oceanography") that was awarded to Larry that same 1989. At the time, I didn't know what the award was or what it meant. She also mentioned about the year spent at NSF in Washington saying she was glad it was over because Larry had worked 10 hrs a day on average for the whole year, including weekends!
Larry was not telling me what to do for my dissertation. He gave me full and unconditional support on any ideas I was having and would only provide advice when explicitly asked. The atmosphere at the Institute of Ecology also helped in such an approach to forming graduate students. This had its toll in time. When I was there I think it took an average of over 7 year to complete a PhD degree! I wound up doing a dissertation on small-scale turbulence and plankton grazing, a subject that was just starting to get in vogue. Larry was an extremely generous scientist. I wanted him to sign my papers but he declined arguing that he had not contributed much. I am sure that if he had signed all his students' papers, as is mainstream, he would have doubled or tripled his scientific publications. As part of my RA I had to go on cruises and do bacterial production measurements, oxygen and respiration measurements and several other things. I loved going on cruises with him, either on the Bluefin mostly along the Georgia and South Carolina shelf, or the Pelican in the Gulf of Mexico or on the Polar Star in the Arctic. With Larry we would always work around the clock. Our team was always small and generally could not do shifts. At 65+ he was always first up to cast the next Niskin bottle, do oxygen titrations or whatever was needed. I learned much oceanography from him on cruises but I also learned work ethics, fixing stuff on a boat with next to nothing, taking accurate notes of every cast, station and experiment, reading sea state, and so much more. Research cruises but also scientific meetings also offered time to chat. Those moments were the best, when Larry would tell some story or anecdote from past cruises.
With nothing to present yet, he paid for my first ALSO meeting in Halifax in 1991 but told me that in the future if I wanted to attend a meeting I would have to give a presentation. Since then I don't think I have ever attended a meeting without giving a presentation.
Later came the numerous letters of recommendation for postdoc positions, grants, or other stuff.
Thank you Larry for all the teachings both in science and life, always from a quiet distance, never imposing, as an osmosis process, subtle but always there.
Posted by Sheryl Shanholtzer on April 13, 2020
Dr. Pomeroy played a big part in my time at UGA in the late 60’s and early 70’s. He was my PhD advisor and inspiration to go into marine biology, all be it a hip boot marine biologist. I took his oceanography course, the highlight of which was a cruise around the Caribbean. Some of the shipboard pictures bring back good memories. He then sponsored my marsh research at Sapelo Island for two years - again life changing.

He had a quiet hands off approach with just the right amount of support and advice. When I began looking for jobs after finishing, I think he didn’t quite understand why I preferred a teaching position to research. Hopefully, I have spread his excitement for marine ecology to many students so that his legacy goes forward.

Thanks to Dr. Pomeroy who gave me the boost I needed.
Posted by Bopi Biddanda on April 12, 2020
In the fall of 1982, Larry welcomed me to his lab at the Institute of Ecology. Soon, Larry and Janet took me under their wing. During those grad school years, I learnt a great deal from Larry’s thoughtful ideas, and benefited from his generous nature. 

While on cruises together, I tried to copy his endless energy and learnt to understand his own brand of humor – as he used to say before we left the docks “Now keep the family jewels safe” – an oblique reference to making safety the first priority. Most of all, I admired his quiet wisdom, and deep sense of ethics.

Over the years, I have continued to be inspired by Larry’s ideas. For example, it was only in 2008, that I was able to write a paper without citing Larry’s earlier works. Janet, who read all of Larry’s papers (and some of his student’s too), declared “Bopi, you are all grown up now” when we met up in Athens that spring on their wedding anniversary. I have cherished their friendship, and will miss them dearly.

The Grandmaster of Marine Microbial Ecology has now passed….but the wake stirred by R/V Pomeroy still rolls on…those paradigm-shifting ideas he raised half a century ago, still drive an ever-increasing body of students and scientists in pursuit of “Pomeroy’s unseen strands in the Oceans’s food web”. They will continue to yield key insights into the inner workings of our watery planet, and leave a lasting legacy to Larry’s life and vision…
Posted by Wade Sheldon on April 12, 2020
My wife Joan and I had the honor of working for Larry at the UGA Institute of Ecology around the time of his “retirement”, and continued collaborating with him until he gave up his lab and transitioned to working at home. Those five years we spent working in his lab, and particularly the months we spent with him at sea, were foundational periods in our careers and time we’ll never forget. His diligence, work ethic, and particularly his egalitarianism in a field dominated by big egos and hierarchies left lasting impressions that guided us through our own careers.

We'll always remember one Bahamas cruise we worked on with Larry aboard the R/V Gyre in 1992. In true Larry fashion everyone in his lab group (particularly Larry himself) worked around the clock for two weeks, while everyone else on the cruise carved out time to hit the beach between tasks. I still remember others on the cruise asking “Haven’t you had any fun yet?”. Only after we started incubating the very last set of samples that could possibly be run before pulling anchor did Larry call stop and joined us for a quick boat ride and swim. But none of that hard work at sea was forced – it was just a natural reflection of his personal work ethic and behavior he modeled. He treated every research dollar and every minute of cruise time as a precious resource that couldn’t be squandered, an all too rare ethic that sticks with us both to this day.
Posted by J Christopher Haney on April 12, 2020
For taking a chance on a very unconventional Ph.D. project, I will be eternally thankful to Larry for his exceptionally perceptive and generous mentoring while I was at the University of Georgia. In addition to benefiting from his sharp and ever-challenging mind while on my graduate committee (1982-1986), I had the great privilege of serving months at sea with him on various research cruises -- longer stints on the R/V Cape Hatteras, but also days-long cruises on the old, cramped Bluefin at Skidaway Institute. More than a decade later, when I returned to Athens to give a seminar, he was right there in the audience, challenging me by his mere presence to do my best. Thank you Larry...
Posted by Evelyn Sherr on April 11, 2020
Larry Pomeroy was incredibly influential on my and Barry's careers - as for many others in aquatic ecology. Pomeroy was Barry's major professor for his PhD at the University of Georgia after Barry's initial professor, Bob Johannes, left the university. His students and post-docs addressed him respectfully as 'Dr. Pomeroy,' although among themselves they called him 'Uncle Larry.' Indefatigable does not begin to define how hard Pomeroy worked on his research projects, sometimes to the point of exhaustion. Once he and his students had a research cruise on the R/V Bluefin docked at the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography in Savannah. When they got to the ship, Pomeroy discovered that his team had failed to pack a vital piece of equipment. He took it upon himself to drive back to Athens to pick up the instrument and return to Skidaway in time for the Bluefin's departure. 

Larry facilitated my research using stable carbon isotope ratios to trace plant organic matter in estuarine food webs. He also made possible Barry's and my turn to focus on the roles of heterotrophic protists in aquatic systems. His and Johannes's studies of the importance of bacterivous flagellates in elemental cycling primed us to think about these marine microbes. When Pomeroy left UGA for a year at the National Science Foundation, he invited his Israeli colleague Tom Berman to replace him for that period. After arriving in Athens, Tom got to know Barry, and invited him to do a post-doc at the Kinneret Limnological Laboratory in Israel. Both Barry and I went over to work in Tom's laboratory on the shores of Lake Kinneret, and it was there that we began our studies of bacterivorous flagellates, which we continued after returning to the Marine Institute on Sapelo Island. Roles of heterotrophic protists remained a major theme of our subsequent research.
Posted by Peter Griffith on April 11, 2020
Thanks to an introduction by Chris D'Elia, I was a PhD student with Larry 1983-88. He was an excellent mentor, especially when electronics failed, or weather happened, or results were unexpected. His calm persistence helped me learn to trust myself. We continued to publish together for quite a while: our most recent paper is from 2011!

I have a clear vision of him sitting in the galley/lab of the Blue Fin working through a cardboard box of NSF proposals while the rest of us could barely keep our stomachs under control. I think of this sometimes when I'm working through a laptop full of pdfs of NASA proposals.

One thing I'd like to mention: I always felt that few people appreciated how hilariously funny Larry was. When I TA'd for his class one term, I sat in the back, cracking up during his lectures, although none of the students seemed to get his dry sardonic quips. Behind his back, but never to his face, we sometimes called him "Uncle Larry".

Farewell Uncle Larry!
Posted by Star Scott on April 10, 2020
I feel so blessed to have known Dr. Pomeroy. Truly the world has lost a very special human. We were so lucky to know his GREAT MIND and HEART.
Posted by James Thomas on April 10, 2020
I was a student of Larry's during the 1960s, doing both my MS and PhD under his tutelage. It was Larry who guided and developed my seagoing oceanography. It began on the Kit Jones at Sapelo, migrated to the Eastward at Duke University, and ended up on the Eltanin in the Antarctic. He made sure I was academically based and that I appropriately questioned how things worked. It has led to a happy, productive career and I am thankful to Larry for that.

I learned a number of lessons from Larry:
1) I remember Larry’s work ethic. Ship time was pure gold and you did not waste it. Larry was up when I went to my bunk; he was up when I returned to my work station. On the Eastward and on the Eltanin he often worked until he dropped. Nothing was wasted. I carried that view with me for the rest of my working career.

2) I remember his advice to accomplish at least one thing everyday. That way, during the course of a year you get 365 things done. While it seems like a modest goal, It is one that leads to much accomplishment. I have done my best to follow his lead.

3) Larry sometimes was prone to seasickness. I never saw Larry get sick but he would lie down for 30 minutes or so and then he’d be up at ‘em. Once on the Eastward, a very quick, rough ship, I became violently ill. He advised me to drink plenty of water. It was on that cruise that I learned that one could be quite seasick yet keep working if you kept drinking water. That carried me through my career and enabled me to work in spite of mal de mare in the Atlantic, the Pacific and the great Southern Ocean. I also learned that I would get over my seasickness after a couple of days at sea and with time even that subsided.

4) Through his example Larry taught academic rigour, honesty and not to over extrapolate the data. He taught not to cherry pick data, but rather to let it speak on its own and be totally honest. His example has been my touchstone as well.

5) Larry was a very decent, kindly person with a wry sense of humor. He treated everyone with respect and always tried to do right by them. He overlooked people’s shortcomings and alternatively, attempted to gently teach how things should be done. He was never loud or showy. He worked diligently and quietly accomplishing a great deal. He was well worth emulating.

6) Finally, his scientific achievements were second to none. His mind was brilliant; his ideas superior. He set the pace for much of the research he accomplished. It was thorough and probing. I still find his work cited widely.

I admired him greatly and will miss him and the opportunity to bounce ideas off him and hear his insightful thoughts in return. He was my friend as well as my mentor. I am grateful for having known him, interacted with him, and learned from him.
Posted by Rick Hindman on April 9, 2020
The tributes are wonderful. He obviously nurtured his friendships. What more can you ask for in life! I really enjoyed his Wye Goodie story. Beth and I surely enjoyed the Pom’s hospitality that Thanksgiving 2013 and it was so nice to see my Beth in the family photo. Rest In Peace Pom.
Posted by Michelle Wood on April 8, 2020
It has taken me some time to gather my thoughts for this tribute and I must confess it's still hard to put my gratitude to "Uncle Larry" and my admiration of him into words. I was very lucky to land in Dr. Pomeroy's lab, not really knowing much at all about graduate school when I applied. My undergraduate advisor had recommended Odum, who suggested I talk to Jim Schindler since I was 'aquatic', and Jim passed on me because I was 'marine' but suggested Pomeroy. When I went over to meet Dr. Pomeroy, he had a microscope on a cart in his office and was so pleased with this new instrument that we spent much of the visit talking about the importance of looking at things. However, I had absolutely no idea how distinguished he was, and no initial inkling of how much his ideas, and the huge amount of independence he allowed his students would shape my life. Now, with a few decades of academic experience, I can see that Larry was uniquely willing to help students pursue their own interests - intellectually, financially, and with ship (and wire) time.  For example, when I started there was still resistance to women students going to sea - thankfully, this was NOT Dr. Pomeroy's way. We even hot-bunked people a couple of times on the Bluefin when there were too many scientists for the 8 berths. He figured we could manage to share the head, and set a watch schedule that kept everyone way to busy to be concerned about gender and too tired to worry much about privacy.

Dr. Pomeroy did not suffer fools, but the spark in his eye if an idea caught his attention made it worth braving the presentation of your "next proposal". I learned that he often dismissed an idea the first time you presented it, almost as if he wanted you to make a better argument and decide the idea was worth standing up for. His interest in bacteria and the 'small' size fraction caused me to choose Micromonas as the study organism for my project when I took the Experimental Marine Botany course in Woods Hole my first summer of grad school; thus, even he catapulted me into the world of ultraphphytoplankton before 'picoplankton' were named a category, and long before Synechococus were recognized as important in the ocean. That was just the beginning: his insights, standards, and encouragement continued to inspire me through all the eras of my career. I already miss him a lot.
Posted by Chris D'Elia on April 6, 2020
I was a Ph.D. student at UGA in the late '60's and early '70's. Larry was on my graduate committee and chaired my dissertation committee. I took his Marine Biology course; went on my first oceanographic cruise with him in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean; was a participant on Bob Johannes' and his iconic Symbios Expedition to Enewetak, Marshall Islands; and have kept in contact since. We even coauthored a paper after his official retirement. Larry was an iconic figure in oceanography. His conceptualization of the "microbial loop" turned our understanding of the ocean's "trophodynamics" (what eats what) upside down. His clear understanding of the concept of the inverse relationship between body size and metabolism showed that we need to focus more on small things if we what to know where the action is. He was, with no exaggeration, a truly great man--one of the best scientists whom I have ever known. RIP dear professor. You helped me achieve what ever success I have.
Posted by Cheryl Pomeroy on April 6, 2020
Thanks to The Odum School of Ecology, UGA for making a video tribute to Larry. Click on "Gallery" above; then click "Video" on the Gallery/Photo page. 
Posted by Barron Simmons on April 2, 2020
Dr. Pomeroy was my patient and my friend. I remember his gentle and quiet demeanor as he faithfully presented every six months into my office for over thirty years. I repeatedly teased him about whether he would keep all of his body parts to the end, and he did.....I remember asking him when he retired from the University of Georgia (Marine Science) what he planned to do the rest of his life. His answer: "I have studied 5% of what is known about Marine Science and now I have time to study the other 95%. I also remember his deep devotion to those of different ethnic and racial backgrounds. He and his wife always tried to help those in need. I will miss him.
Posted by Cheryl Pomeroy on April 2, 2020
My father was a man of few words but could talk for hours when engaged in conversation about something he cared about -- my mother, us kids, his early years in Watkins Glen, NY or Pass-a-Grille, FL, or his early career in science. I will attempt to write up some of his memories, as told to me, in the coming weeks.

He was devoted to his wife and his career but could be an attentive father. When very young, he read French Nursery rhymes and sang French children's songs to Russell and me. He drove me to weekly piano lessons the year we lived in Alexandria, VA.  He taught me how to put snow chains on tires -- an important lesson after an ice storm in hilly Athens, Ga.

For us kids, he modeled determination, hard work, truth-seeking, generosity, and compassion. The only time I remember him crying was at the funeral of our maid. He voiced pain at knowing her life could have been saved with prompt medical attention which she did not receive as a poor black woman.

It was only later in life that I understood what a pioneering scientist my father was -- considered by some to be the father of marine microbiology. 

Leave a Tribute

 
Recent Tributes
Posted by Cheryl Pomeroy on June 3, 2021
Reflecting on what would have been Dad's 96th birthday yesterday, I wish he could have seen his great grand-daughter, born Jan 2021 and doing well.

I miss his dry humor and determined will.

I'm honored to know that Larry helped many fellow scientists during his 40+ year career.
Posted by David Dow on June 2, 2021
In recent times I have been engaged in the dialog on North Atlantic right whale
mortalities from entanglements in Jonah crab/lobster pot gear being conducted by the Massa. Division of Marine Fisheries and NOAA Fisheries. I was able to draw on lessons in biological oceanography and ecosystems-based management from my days as a Graduate Student at the University of Georgia. Ocean climate change in the Gulf of Maine has caused shifts in the marine food web (including greater importance for the microbial food web) and shifts prey/predator species in space/time which alter top down predation and competition. Thus I was able to combine this background with the EMaX (Energy Modeling & Analysis Exercise) research project & 2020 NOAA Fisheries State of Ecosystem report to support my comments on how sustainable fishing would help conserve NARW populations.
Posted by David Dow on March 26, 2021
Recently I was submitting comments to NOAA Fisheries on the effects of climate change on the management of finfish/shellfish and conservation of North Atlantic right whales in the Gulf of Maine. I emphasized climate effects on the base of the marine food chain (diatom-based grazing food chain and microbial food web) and predation/competition at the top. It brought to mind Larry's pioneering research on the microbial food web web and how it was still not recognized by most of NOAA's fisheries scientists 50 years later.
his Life

Organization of "LIFE" tab

1.  Two short stories by Larry (2008) -- Wye Goodie and Stalking Panther -- about his early years in Pass-a-Grille, Florida.

2. A layman's obituary of L R  Pomeroy

3. Larry's  manuscript "Science Comes to Sapelo: The Founding and Early Years of the UGA Marine Institute, 1954-60."

4. "Science at Sea" stories by Larry -  research cruises and expeditions, 1960 to 1993.

                               --Do not use or reproduce without permission--

Wye Goodie -- "Sea Story 1" L R Pomeroy (2008)

  My seagoing career begins with the chance offer that I work for an acquaintance, Danny Martin, on his fishing boat. I am working at the soda fountain of the Pass-a-Grille drugstore, and fishing sounds a lot better. The first day of my life out at sea, with a 360-degree horizon of water, is at age seventeen. I am now the new hand aboard the fishing boat Wye Goodie, out of Pass-a-Grille, Florida. It is 1942, wartime, and by necessity we make day trips. Civilian boats are not allowed out of port during darkness. We are on our way to the grouper reefs on the outer continental shelf west of Florida, and it is not a nice day. Curtains of rain descend from squalls all around. A waterspout descends out of one cloud, and then another and another. We stay on our course through the squalls, keeping an eye on multiple waterspouts, and I am seasick. I have been assigned to take the helm and maintain a compass course. Watching the spinning compass as the little boat pitches through the waves reinforces the effect of rise and fall of the boat. The more experienced helmsman knows that it is better, once on the correct course, to steer toward something distant—a cloud, a squall, anything transitory except a waterspout— and only occasionally correct course by observing that spinning compass. That is my first seaman’s lesson of the day.
            After about two hours on course, Danny Martin, the owner, pulls back the throttle. Now we have to find the grouper. They are, of course, a bottom fish that usually stays near coral or other reefs. The reefs are twenty-five fathoms below the boat, but there is a way to find reefs and grouper. Danny hands me an armed lead line. The armament is Fels naptha soap. A cavity in the bottom of the sounding lead has been pressed full of the soft soap and the surface of the soap smoothed. Standing near the bow of the boat, I throw the lead as far forward as possible and the boat overrides it as it falls. I bounce the lead on bottom when it is directly beneath me and then retrieve it to examine the surface of the soap. Stuck to it are grains of black and white sand. I call out, “salt and pepper,” scrape the soap clean with my knife, and do another cast of the lead. Again it is salt and pepper. Another cast, and this time there is no sand but the smooth surface of the soap is dimpled from contact with coral or limestone. I call out, “Rock.” Danny, who is at the wheel, immediately tosses a piece of crumpled paper over the side. He brings the boat around and we drop the anchor a bit upwind of the floating paper. We are now anchored over hard, rocky bottom or live coral.

          To lure the fish, Danny produces a brown paper bag and a handful of sardines he had caught previously and stored on ice. Into the bag go the sardines and also the sounding lead. The bag is now tied shut above the lead. He lets the bag with lead and fish fall to bottom and bounces it up and down long enough for the bag to disintegrate and release the sardines. This process is called chumming, which draws in the grouper with some tasty food. We then put sturdy hand-fishing lines over both sides of the boat. At the end of each line is a five-pound sinker into which have been cast steel eyes to which two swivels, steel leaders, and large hooks are attached. Each hook is baited with a chunk of fish. As our sinkers hit bottom, we know at once we have a catch. With two large groupers on the line, it is not a simple matter to pull them in. When both fish decide to swim downward, the only recourse is to bend the line over the gunwale and hold on until they change their minds. When the groupers finally have been hauled up twenty-five fathoms, their eyes are popping from the sockets and their bodies are distended by the rapid decompression from five-times the sea-surface atmospheric pressure at the sea bottom.

           Grasping them by the open jaw, I haul each grouper over the gunwale and, continuing to hold the jaw, remove the hook. The fish are tossed into a barrel, the hooks re-baited and dropped to bottom. Immediately the process begins again. Two more groupers are fighting against the line and are brought to the surface as rapidly as possible. Most of them are so large their tails are slapping the deck as I hold them waist-high to unhook them. The smallest, that Danny derisively calls piss-cutters, are about eighteen inches long. After half an hour, we have a barrel full of groupers and no more are biting. We have removed all groupers from that particular bit of sea floor. It is then time to pull up anchor, motor a short distance, and start sounding again: Salt-and-pepper, salt-and-pepper, salt-and pepper, salt-and pepper, rock. Toss the crumpled paper, come about upwind, anchor, chum with sardines, and start pulling in groupers again. Except for a short lunch break, this goes on for about eight hours and it is then time to start back. We have to be back, and be checked off by the Coast Guard, before dark. Back in Boca Ciega Bay, we dock at the fish house and unload the fish one at a time with a big hook. They are bought for eight cents per pound, live weight. At the time, for a kid out of high school, my share of this is a very good wage.

At the dock, we are met by two women who ask us, “Did you see our men out there?” These are wives of men on a grouper boat that did not return the day before and now is not likely to return. Indeed, we saw nothing but waterspouts, not another boat of any kind or any debris of a boat that might have had too close an encounter with a waterspout. The women continue to appear each afternoon for several days. Finally, they accept reality. Encounters with newly widowed women bring home the fact that this is a hazardous occupation, perhaps especially so on the Wye Goodie. Although a little eccentrically shaped, she is a typical Florida fishing boat about forty feet long with a combination cabin-engine-room forward and an open after deck. The Goodie was built by a man of that name, Goodie, who is now too old to fish. One might say that is also true of the boat, but it is a boat Danny could afford to purchase. Each time we start the engine at sea, which is every time we move to a new fishing spot, we all don life jackets. The hope is, apparently, that in the event of an explosion of the gasoline-powered engine, some loose scraps of wood, plus the life jackets, may keep us afloat. But the chance of being found is nil. We learned that from the two women. A person floating at sea in a life jacket is all but invisible, a head bobbing up and down between waves.The grouper banks are far offshore and vast. In wartime, perhaps half a dozen boats are working out there and we never see other fishing boats. The sharks will bring our discomfort to a quicker end than just floating forever in the life jacket. Of course, at seventeen I have not yet had any close encounters with death and think I am immortal. I am enjoying the work and after the first day never that summer am I seasick.



Danny Martin is not the typical fisherman. Only two or three years older than I, he had been a whiz in high school and the local junior college. His father is an attorney in St. Petersburg and commutes to his office every day on the bus from Pass-a-Grille, where he and his two children live (with no wife-mother) in a bay-front home. Danny is interested in science and understands that I am too. We both are observant at sea and notice things a fisherman might not think interesting. Like many very bright people, he has his eccentricities. I once heard him say that he had no intention of marrying any woman who would consider him marriage material. He has grown up without a mother and with a father who, like Danny, is quiet, taciturn, and opinionated. Fishing has become Danny’s life. In spite of being smart and well-read, he seemingly has no motivation for higher education. He has embraced the simple, almost monastic life of a fisherman.

We are a cheerful little group, usually three of us, putting in our long day of fishing. I arrive at the fish house by bicycle in the dark. We pull blocks of ice down to the boat. In the early morning light we motor down to the Coast Guard boat near the inlet and there we stay until the Coast Guard person on duty can actually see the sun. Only then are we allowed to begin our two-hour run out to the grouper reefs. After that first stormy day, the weather has settled into the Florida summer routine. In the morning we motor into a light sea breeze from the west. Out over the continental shelf the days are normally very calm and clear. At the time we are returning, thunderstorms are building to our east and we return through rain-squalls to unload our catch. By essentially randomly steering out to a very large area of outer continental shelf reefs, and being almost the only fishing boat out there, we waste little time chumming up grouper and catching every one on a reef.

It never occurs to us, or to any other fisherman, that every time we do that we eliminate groupers from that part of the sea floor. It didn’t matter then, because there were so few fishermen and so wide a continental shelf. Now, of course, fishermen have outnumbered the groupers and just about caught them all. A thirty-pound grouper, that we would have considered the usual, and caught them two at a time as quickly as we could pull them out of the water, is now a rarity.

Although I enjoyed the fishing life, it did not last long. I was young, had a girl friend, and wanted to take days off. Danny needed someone every day, so he fired me as soon as he found someone who would agree to go to sea every weekday, every week. That brief introduction to the sea did serve to make me ready to embrace oceanography. When I began to go to sea on larger and mostly steel-hulled ships, it all seemed so safe and easy compared to those trips on the Goodie. Danny continued to be a fisherman all of his rather short life. Some old hand from Pass-a-Grille sent me a newspaper clipping stating that Danny had died at age 49 after falling from his boat during stormy weather in the Cayman Islands. The old Wye Goodie, that we thought might blow up or disintegrate any day, outlived Danny. In the 1990s, I was working with a research group using a boat from Skidaway Island on which we travelled up and down the intracoastal waterway in Georgia. As we were passing St. Catherines Island one day, I noticed a familiar, oddly shaped little boat at a dock. With binoculars I was able to read the name on the transom: Wye Goodie.

                               --Do not use or reproduce without permission--

Stalking Panther -- by L R Pomeroy (2008)

High school began as a lonely experience. I was one of a small group of perhaps 20 kids who were taken 10 miles in a small city bus from Pass-a-Grille to St. Petersburg High School where we were lost in a sea of strangers. Fortunately, one of my first courses was biology, my favorite subject, and I discovered that the high school had a Biology Club. Anyone could join, of course, but the logistics were difficult. Meetings were at night, someplace in St. Petersburg. I was not yet a licensed driver, and this was the middle of World War II with strict gas rationing and a total blackout on the beach islands—no automobile headlights. My parents were sympathetic to a fault. My father had a job in a war plant which made him eligible to buy a bit more gasoline than he needed to get to and from work, so he would drive me to the meetings and he and my mother would somehow kill a couple of hours and then take me back home, driving the last five miles along the blacked-out beaches without headlights or streetlights.

The best part of the Biology Club was the field trips. How the gasoline was finagled, I don’t know, but about once a month we managed to have an all-day trip on a Sunday, usually beginning very early in the morning and returning after dark. Sometimes, several automobiles were used, driven by older students or parents; sometimes someone would arrange for a truck, and we would all ride in the bed of the truck. Much of Florida was still wild. We discovered Weekiwachee Spring, which was then just a big spring out in the woods where the locals went swimming. We located caves in central Florida, around the Brooksville area, and explored them with gasoline lanterns and flashlights. Our favorite, called Gumtree Cave, was not very large, but it had a small stream at the bottom and the stream contained blind crayfish (Cambarus acherontis).

The Biology Club led to my first conflict with religion. Although I was not attending a church or Sunday school, others in the club must have been, and when they went on Sunday field trips they were missed. The ministers’ association in St. Petersburg, asked the Principle of the High School to forbid meetings of school activities on Sundays, and he did issue such an edict. As the club’s response, notices placed on school bulletin boards thereafter stated that the Biology Club would not have a field trip beginning at 6 AM the next Sunday and not meet in front of the school.

Through the Biology Club, I met people who became best friends and with whom I hung out thereafter. One of the first was Betty Pierce, who became my girlfriend. Another was H. Robin Mills. His interest in ornithology was a family affair. His father, Herbert R(aphael) Mills, was a pathologist whose avocation was birds. Indeed, Dr. Mills owned a private bird sanctuary, Whiskey Stump, a mangrove island on the east side of Tampa Bay. Craig Phillips was the one person in the club I already knew. He had gone to the same fifth and sixth grades, coming to Pass-a-Grille from St. Petersburg by bus. Craig’s interest was fish and snakes and, for a kid, he knew a great deal. He was also an accomplished cartoonist. A younger friend, who joined our group a year or so later, was H. Morgan Smith. Morgan’s older brother was a botany graduate student at Harvard, going on expeditions to South America. Morgan also had an interest in botany and was a natural woodsman, someone who seemed never to get lost and was at ease with the natural world.

Within the club, a small group of us became close friends who did a lot of exploring of Florida on our own. The core group consisted of Morgan, Helen Harris (Morgan’s girlfriend), Betty, Robin, and a series of his girlfriends. Robin seemed at first not quite ready for a girlfriend. He dropped the first one when she proposed some rather innocent physical intimacy. Both Robin and Morgan had motorcycles—light, quiet European ones. I couldn’t afford a motorcycle, so I rode on the back of one or the other motorcycle. A little gasoline would go a long way, and we rode all over central Florida. Motorcycle safety had not yet been discovered. We rode wearing jeans, T-shirts, and sneakers, with no helmet, jacket, boots, or goggles. Of course, we often “spilled.” They taught me how to exit a falling motorcycle safely, and I never had a scratch in spite of many rolls in the road.

One of our favorite places to visit was Hillsboro River State Park, north of Tampa. The park still exists on the map, but now it must be a small island in a sea of ranch-style houses.In 1941, river and swamp extended well beyond the park. Tents with double-decker cots could be rented very cheaply, so we would go there during a spring break or in summer and stay several days, girls in one tent and boys in the next one. Hardly anyone else seemed to want to visit this primitive park and we mostly had it all to ourselves, day and night. Boats were available on the river, so we paddled around. Morgan claimed to be able to call alligators and produced in his throat a kind of grunt. I did not take that too seriously, but we went for a night paddle in total, swampy darkness with Morgan in the bow grunting. I paddled silently, feathering the paddle instead of bringing it out of water. As I paddled along in mid-river, my paddle unexpectedly struck something very firm, and an eruption of vigorous splashing immediately followed. My paddle had probably struck an alligator.

We walked through the swamp day and night on primitive paths. At night, we did not use, or even carry, flashlights. We were totally silent, listening for sounds of wildlife as we walked in the dark, feeling the smooth path with our bare feet in order to stay on course. Barred owls were hooting. Then from some distance a scream came out of the swamp. After a few minutes, the scream was repeated. It was the call of a panther. That was exciting, and we all wanted to get closer to it. Each night as we walked, we heard the screams but always at some distance. One night as I lay in my cot, I could hear the screams coming closer and closer. Finally the panther was outside the tent, a few feet away. I could hear a low, inhalent growl at the end of each scream. The screams became more distant as the panther continued down the river. That was as close as we got to the panther and we never saw it. At a later time, Betty had a summer job at the park and she actually saw a panther right in the administrative area in the daytime. By then Betty had said goodbye to me. Like Robin, I was courting too slow. I went off to the University of Michigan and said goodbye to Florida panthers.

In 1953, Janet and I bought a new Ford car–for cash, using Janet’s life savings up to that time. It replaced a 1942 U. S. Navy surplus Ford station wagon that was beyond further repair. With our new set of wheels we went to Boston for a meeting of AAAS, and the next spring we went on vacation to Florida. I wanted Janet to see some interesting places, one of which was the Everglades. At daybreak, we drove down the road to Flamingo on Florida Bay. As we drove slowly down the unpaved road through the lower Everglades, a panther stepped out into the road in front of us just a short distance ahead. It turned, walked down the road, and stepped back into the roadside thicket. That was an interesting part of Florida I had never expected to show Janet, and I, too, finally got to see a wild panther.

                           --Do not use or reproduce without permission--

Recent stories

How a penniless, asthmatic, Army reject got to Ann Arbor

Shared by Cheryl Pomeroy on May 6, 2020

Dad was an asthmatic, allergic young boy, in the days when the only treatment was breathing in steam by covering your head with a towel, curling your shoulders over the back of a chair and over the pot of steam. His mother was convinced that because of his poor health, his only career path would be as a writer, so she encouraged his writing. The Army was not impressed with Dad and labelled him “4F” because he was too thin, asthmatic, and had flat feet. He and his mother were determined he enter WWII and he was fed banana splits and other goodies to gain weight, to no avail.

Instead of serving in the war effort, Larry entered St. Petersburg Junior College (now St. Petersburg College), where he was one of only 4 men attending the 2-year college – all of them deemed unfit for service. Larry reminisced about those years he enjoyed at the junior college. Most extra-curricular groups wanted male participation, so he acted in plays and worked on the college paper, among other things.

At some point one of the three other male students asked Larry if he’d applied for the state’s college scholarship. He had not, as it was news to him. Upon testing for and receiving the scholarship, the junior college counselor recommended University of Michigan over Harvard for Biology. Although Dad later expressed regrets about that choice, it is clear that University of Michigan had excellent medical care and he received life-changing allergy shots from them. Even after he left for Rutgers, he was self-injecting shots mailed to him from University of Michigan!  Thank you, Ann Arbor!

Random Memories about Dad

Shared by Cheryl Pomeroy on May 9, 2020



A small Post-It note on refrigerator, upon which Dad wrote the amount of radiation in one banana.


At an academic dinner party, Dad says “Jesus H Christ.”  Asked “What does the H stand for, Larry?”  Without missing a beat, Dad replies  “H is for haploid.” (This was told to me, not witnessed.)

“Subvert the Dominant Paradigm” – a magnetic bumper sticker affixed to Larry’s refrigerator.

“Nothing is impossible to the determined will”—caption under Larry's photo in his Senior Year High School Yearbook, according to my mother.

“Annual Test of our Marriage” – this is what my father said about putting up the framework for the blueberry nets on their adjoining lot. Dad had cut and fit plastic tubes that rose above the 10 ft tall blueberry bushes, but he needed help fitting it together. I never witnessed this but I did enjoy my mother’s blueberry pies!

“In New England they call us “spiders” because we are all arms and legs,” explains Dad about our shared body types.  (Seeing his photo at 14 years old, in Gallery, it’s easy to see.)


The Flood of 1935 at The Glen – Family Trauma and Resilience

Shared by Cheryl Pomeroy on May 6, 2020


A freak event occurred on July 7 and 8 of 1935 in Watkins Glen, NY that forever changed Larry and the Pomeroy family.  Heavy rains began one evening and continued into the next day. According to Larry, the CCC had been logging above the railroad trestle, which was above The Glen. The logs were driven by the excessive rain into the trestle, forming a temporary dam, which eventually burst, flooding the town, around 8 pm. At the entrance to The Glen stood the Pomeroy’s Rainbow Shop, their spring-summer-fall tourist shop. Larry’s Dad, Rupert ("Pom") and aunt Carol were at the shop and managed to wade home in sometimes waist deep water. The building, which his engineer father built, was flooded but held. They were lucky, as there was death and destruction.

Only a few years earlier his parents owned the successful Pomeroy’s Variety Store, the main general store for the area, but for some reason sold it.  Further, Pom had been persuaded by Doris to quit his engineering job at nearby Shephard Hoist and Crane Co. to help with the successful stores. Their only income, apparently, was the Rainbow Shop.

Tourist business was slow for the rest of the summer and into next year. As the local post card wholesaler, Pom had just paid for a large shipment of post cards of The Glen. They no longer sold. Although Doris and Pom had been successful business owners in the area for about 15 years – had a car, a boat, a 4-bedroom home, and wintered in Pass-a-Grille, FL -- they had no immediate way to pay rent or mortgages. FEMA didn’t exist and it apparently never occurred to them to talk to the local banks about a loan. Pom took my father, aged 10, with him when he handed over the house mortgage to its owner. From that point on, the family struggled to survive financially. Pom fixed up the attic of the Rainbow Shop so they had a place to live. It was the family trauma. It was certainly not something talked about much – until I had a chance to sit down with Dad in retirement.

Dad’s comment about this was that he had learned how to “make do” with little, which was a valuable lesson. His other general comment, was that his father should never have agreed to leave engineering school without his degree. Pom had been persuaded to take a job at Shephard Hoist and Crane, in Montour Falls, NY, in his last year at Worcester Polytechnic. It was WWI and they were desperate for engineers. His employers told him that he could always go back and finish his degree but they needed him now for the war effort. Before the flood destroyed their businesses, he’d left the company and didn’t have the degree to return to an engineering job. “Sometimes women have too much influence,” “always get the degree,” and “a PhD is like a union card” were Dad’s main comments.

In retirement, Dad told me he had a hard time deciding between Geology and Biology for his undergraduate major. After visiting The Glen in Watkins Glen, about 10 years ago, I now understand where his interest in geology came from!