November 17, 2018
Larry E. Ellsworth
WORCESTER - Larry Elmer Ellsworth, 73, died on Sunday, November 11, 2018, at West Side House, following a period of declining health.
Larry was born on February 16, 1945 in Franklin, Vermont, to Elmer and Lucille (Rushford) Ellsworth. He moved to Wendell, MA at an early age and attended Ralph C. Mahar High School, later securing a job in the Art Department at Erving Paper Company. Eventually Larry took his artistic skills “on the road” as a sign-painter and blues harmonica player. He traveled all over this country, made many friends, and developed musical contacts such as Richie Havens, Bob Dylan, and Linda and Michael Ronstadt.
At the very least, he lived in North Carolina, Vermont, New York, California, Arizona, and New Mexico. After returning to Massachusetts, Larry married Lois (Miller) Johnson in 1981 at the Wendell Town Hall. Larry and Lois continued a traveling lifestyle, even going across the country in a red school bus and living in the bus while Larry played music and painted signs for truckers at truck stops and for businesses in small towns.
He always said that they were received generously by the community members they encountered. Larry and Lois also promoted the blues locally, organizing a concert series in Orange in the 1990’s which included Sam Lay of the Butterfield Blues Band, blues harmonica player Billy C. Farlow, and the J. Geils Band. At around that time, Larry founded the Western Massachusetts/Southern Vermont Blues Society.
Lois predeceased Larry in 2011 after 30 years of marriage. Subsequently, Larry spent time in North Carolina and then Vermont before returning to Athol in February 2017, and four months later he moved to West Side House, where he entertained staff and other residents by playing gentle blues tunes on one of his harmonicas, at mealtimes and on other occasions. He always said he “wanted to bring people together” there, and the staff expressed their enjoyment of his presence among them.
Larry was predeceased by his parents, his sister Joyce Labrecque, and his beloved wife Lois.
He leaves her children Douglas, Julie, and Angela, as well as many friends in many locations, especially Mike and Mo Corder of North Carolina, Ann and Terry Reed of Orange, and Candy and Peter Cross of Orange. The staff of West Side House are particularly recognized as having loved Larry completely and unconditionally during his time there.
A service of remembrance will be held at Witty’s Funeral Home, 158 South Main St. in Orange, on Wednesday, November 28, 2018 at 10:00 AM. The Rev. David Woessner of St. Michael’s on the Heights Episcopal Church in Worcester will officiate.
You are encouraged to support a blues musician of your choice in honor of Larry, or you may donate in his memory to West Side House, 35 Fruit St., Worcester, MA 01609
Witty’s Funeral Home, 158 South Main Street, Orange, is directing the arrangements.
You may offer your sympathy online at www.wittyfuenralhome.com