Lawrence M. Washington

Lawrence M. Washington, Instructor in German, 1954-56, died on April 23, 2019, in Weybridge, Vermont.

(The following was published in The Burlington Free Press on May 1, 2019)

Weybridge – Lawrence Moore Washington, husband, father, and teacher, passed away peacefully on April 23, 2019, at the age of 93.

Larry was born on November 5, 1925, in Manchester, CT, the first child of Joseph Senior Washington and Ruby Moore Washington. He later moved to Bloomfield, CT, where he was senior class president at Bloomfield High School, graduating in 1943. He enrolled that summer as a French major at Middlebury College before being drafted into the army in March of 1944. He entered WWII in January of 1945 with the 571st Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion, which crossed and defended the Bridge at Remagen before its collapse. He spent a year as part of the occupation troops near Munich, where he became fluent in German.

Larry returned to Middlebury College in the fall of 1946 and graduated in 1948. That summer he entered the Middlebury College Master’s program in German in Bristol, VT, where he met and fell in love with fellow student Ida Harrison. They were married on December 26, 1948, in Port Washington, NY.

Larry was a graduate teaching fellow in German at the University of Washington in Seattle in 1948-1949, then completed his Master’s degree in the Middlebury College German School in 1950. He earned his Ph.D. from Brown University in 1958.

In 1952, Larry and Ida purchased a small lot and constructed a house by hand in Weybridge, VT, using wood from an old horse barn. As their family grew, they expanded the house and added land, also building a barn and cabins on the property. The Weybridge property was a constant home base throughout Larry and Ida’s 69 years of marriage.

During the 1950’s and 1960’s, Larry taught German at King’s College, Gettysburg College, Bowdoin College, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Hamline University, and Upsala College. Larry supported his wife Ida’s return to graduate school to complete her Ph.D. during that time. Larry spent the last 20 years of his teaching career at Southeastern Massachusetts University (now UMass Dartmouth), where Larry and Ida created a German major program. At SMU, Larry served as Foreign Language department chair, Faculty Senate president, and other faculty governance positions. He also published a translation of Gottfried Keller’s stories and developed an introductory German textbook.

Larry and Ida retired from SMU in 1986 and returned full time to their home in Weybridge, VT. During retirement, Larry ran the Bread Loaf Bookshop, volunteered at the Sheldon Museum, served as town lister, served on the Weybridge School Board, and held several leadership positions in the Weybridge Congregational Church. Throughout retirement, Larry continued to pursue his passions of studying linguistics and learning languages. He was devoted to the care of his wife Ida during her last few years. Following Ida’s death in May 2018, Larry moved into assisted living near his daughter Ruth in Alabama.

Larry is survived by his brother Allyn (Warrenton, OR); his six children, Carol (Weybridge, VT), Lawrence (Rockville, MD), Paul (Mill Hall, PA), Ida (Morgantown, WV), Ruth (Tuscaloosa, AL), and Richard (Saint Nom la Breteche, France); sixteen grandchildren; and eleven great grandchildren.

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