In Memoriam

Larry Merideth

Edwin Lawrence Merideth, Jr.

Larry Merideth passed away unexpectedly on Dec. 13, 2004 in Mililani, Hawaii. Paradise lost…at the passing of Larry Merideth. His life was a testament to optimism, service to country, and love of family. Larry is survived by his wife, Pat; son Edwin "Butch" III; parents Edwin Sr. and Lucelia; four brothers and three sisters. Larry was born in Cheyenne, Wyo. I guess you could call Wyoming the eastern flank of Big Sky Country and that is where Larry got his dream of flying. With high school out of the way, it was off to the Air Force Academy and a rendezvous with the Class of '68. well, we all somehow survived that ordeal and got our ticket to Heaven's Gate-pilot training at Webb AFB, Texas. That is where I first got to know Larry. Our careers would later intersect again many times, where I had the privilege of serving together with Larry. We later met, exchanging experiences, just as Larry returned from Vietnam and as I was shipping out to the 'Nam. You would have expected some swashbuckling tales among old buddies, but there were none. There was no bravado. No swagger. That was not Larry Merideth. All I got was the matter-of-fact comments…the "Been there, the done that's" …and the "… off to my next flying job…great assignment…this Offutt RC-135 reconnaissance job is going to be a good deal"… and "Oh, sorry…four spades!" if you never had a chance to notice, Larry was 50 percent steamroller of a bridge team! An all-night siege was normal to break this crew…if you were lucky. A comrade-in-arms and classmate of Larry's, Al Dyer, paid the highest compliment to Larry in a letter he recently wrote to Larry's wife, Pat. I was so moved by Al's comments that I must share some of them. al and Larry were Pleiku Covey FACs. "Larry and I arrived at Pleiku together and we left Pleiku together. Let all know-there simply was no better man to have your side in combat than Larry Merideth." No greater tribute is there than to have the trust and confidence of a fellow warrior. A train-load of DFCs does not come close. Larry's career continued in SAC with many years flying and staffing in the Strategic reconnaissance RC-135 business. Not the up-close-and-personal reconnaissance that Larry was used to, but just as dangerous. Larry was happiest only with a challenge. If the challenge involved flying, so much the better. He served his country well; more than his fair share. Larry's next challenge was getting used to living in paradise…spelled HAWAII! His door was always open to classmates and friend dropping in…and many did. I enjoyed the fellowship and love of all the Merideth household. Larry and Pat were gracious hosts to all. We should not be saddened at Larry's passing. We should let time erase…and fill that void with gladness…gladness that he happened along our way. Larry rests at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, the Punchbowl. He is among many like him…patriots and servants of our nations freedom.
Fly…on your westward journey, Larry…fair winds and sunlit skies…forever.      (Jim Thomas, '68)

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