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From the Field

The following are remembrances from former and present newspeople at CNN.


A Memorial service was held for Larry LaMotte this past Friday at Haygood Memorial United Methodist Church in Atlanta.

The Ryan and Krysta LaMotte Education Fund
Wachovia Bank
c/o Peggy Orson
3414 Peachtree Street NE
Atlanta, Ga 30326

FUNERAL SERVICES ARE PLANNED IN WASHINGTON D.C. for 11am Saturday, June 21 at...Hillsboro United Methodist Church at Purcellville, VA
Internment of his ashes will immediately follow at the Hillsboro Cemetery
--Any friends or colleagues of Larry's who wish to attend will be welcome.

Messages to Larry's mother may be sent to ...

Mrs. Clyde LaMotte
c/o Kay Bernier
1001 E. Beech Rd.
Sterling, VA 20164

Cards and condolences can be sent to Sandee, Ryan and Krysta ...

J-Mac Productions
420 Melrose Ave.
Decatur, GA 30030

A Remembrance
From Jo LeGood

It's funny because I hadn't seen Larry in a couple of years, but he was never that far from my thoughts. At times in my life where Larry had once offered a little of his wisdom, I would find myself from time to time remembering things he had said or shared with me, and wonder what he was up to.

I will always remember Larry as great journalist, a teacher, and a friend. Larry always worked for excellence in journalism, and stood for the very things that journalism always used to be about: integrity, honesty, good reporting...perfection. Larry was always the one to take us baby journalists under his wing, and patiently show us how things should be done, and shared with us his experience, without expecting anything in return. I was always impressed with his willingness to teach and to share, and he never belittled anyone in the process.

But more than a great journalist, Larry a teacher, a counselor, a friend who always had such a positive outlook on life. It was impossible to be negative around Larry, no matter how hard you tried. He often shared his little "Larryisms" with you, and made you see another side to the issue. I remember there were times when Larry would "hover" at my desk and want to share something he was thinking about - usually something pretty deep and philosophical - and at times you wouldn't want to hear it because you were busy - but then later, you would really think about what he said, and what he shared, and I was always thankful for that.

For many of the years I worked with Larry, my office was next to his, and we were often the first to arrive in the mornings. It was so nice to start the day off with such a cheerful, friendly man. And I'd stop in his office just for a brief chat - the office that was so stacked full of at least a year's worth of newspapers that you wondered if he ever threw anything away - and Larry would share something about himself with you. Mostly he talked of his children, and his thoughts on raising them. He was always so focused on raising the most healthy and well loved children. A day didn't go by where you would hear about something they had accomplished, and you could see how proud he was of them.

Larry treated everyone as a friend, and with respect. He cared about all of us who worked with him and took an interest in our lives. You couldn't possibly work with Larry and not know him, or he not know you. I remember Larry would talk endlessly about baseball, an interest I didn't share, but nevertheless, he was sharing himself with you. And I remember little country-western songs he would make up and sing to you, particularly while you were waiting something out on a shoot, like for the cameras to be in place for one of his infamous stand-ups. He'd sing. And I would laugh. He didn't care whether or not any of it was good. He was sharing himself with you.

Larry was News Director of KTOK Radio in the 70s
LaMotte and a crew traveled to Ukraine for an exclusive look inside Chernobyl's burned Reactor 4 and a first-hand look at genetic ramifications the nuclear power plant's explosion in 1986.

I remember one shoot in particular where we went to the Bronx in New York. Most people in the Bronx have a reputation for using curse words the same way most people use adjectives, and Larry knew I didn't like to curse. He would do his best to goad me into speaking the Bronx lingo, but try as he may, I would insist that things were Fuzzy, or Sugary, or Filling, or Sassy...and wouldn't be tempted. I think I grew the closest to Larry on that shoot.

Perhaps of the shoots that seemed to make the most impact on Larry was one we did together about a Life Coach - someone who helped people organize their lives, and learn to have balance throughout, so that they actually had a real life. Larry found his calling in that story, because it was already his gift that he gave to each of his colleagues...and I'm told he later went on to become a coach and mentored many after he left CNN.

Larry will always be around because he shared so much of himself with everyone. I know that I was once a little irritated by his hovering, but I am now thankful because I see what he was doing - giving little pieces of himself to each and every one of us so that he could live forever.

Thank you, Larry, my dear Friend

From Shari Bell

Dear Ryan and Krysta,

Before I ever met your father in 1991, I’d already heard all about him. He was legendary at CNN. Larry LaMotte had been everywhere, covered every kind of story and had worked with the best. He had a reputation of being tireless and relentless.

He had a knack of making people cry.

I was a young producer fresh out of the sports department and new to news when I got my first assignment with him. I was nervous and intimidated. Would this guy be forgiving of my rookie mistakes? Or would he criticize my every decision. Would he make ME cry?

Larry was generous and encouraging. It was the first of many memorable stories I did with your dad. Some of them are among the finest work of my career.

While Larry didn’t make me cry, I certainly saw why he had earned the reputation for eliciting tears. He loved people stories – and was good at drawing out the emotions of people we interviewed. No question was out-of-bounds. He asked the intimate ones and the tough ones.

In the field your father was tireless and fearless. I saw him climb an ice-covered, structurally unsafe bridge in New York, hike up steep and rocky hills in Nepal and explore the murky remains of the burned-out reactor in Chernobyl.

I remember one particular afternoon in Chernobyl. We were in an area where people weren’t supposed to live due to the high amounts of radiation in the soil. We came across an elderly couple who had moved back in the exclusion zone illegally. After we interviewed them, they invited us in their house for some food from their garden. I cringed. We knew that the food was probably contaminated. But it would be rude to refuse. I took the smallest nibble possible. Your dad ate everything offered to him, and asked for seconds. He drank vodka with the couple and swapped stories, although neither spoke the other’s language. I’m certain by the end of our visit they were debating the Braves’ latest trade. Your father never missed a chance to talk baseball with anyone.

I knew your dad to be generous and energetic, funny and unpretentious. He wasn’t into being a star, just a good journalist and storyteller.

He was also stubborn. I argued with Larry more than I have with any other correspondent. He could be uncompromising. But it was always in the name of the story, of making the piece the best it could be.

Larry cared for the people he interviewed, the people he worked with, but mostly he cared about the people he came home to – his family. I felt I was there with you for all your early milestones because your dad talked of you and your mom all the time. He was very proud of you.

I’m proud and lucky to have known and worked with your father. He truly was legendary.

Shari Bell

My Memories of Larry
From Marika Olsen
Sent From Tashkent, Uzbekistan

I have to admit that when I first met him, I thought Larry was a bit of an ogre. According to my 28 year old self, he had a hot temper and was a complete grouch.

I was cowed. He was bullish.

But over the years, I came to know a very different Larry. Under all his bluster and eruptive, volcanic temper, was a supremely kind person, a person who loved taking time to talk with me about the bigger issues of life; like what it meant to be happy, the meaning of our lives here on earth, and what we needed to do to be good reporters. (Yes, we considered being a good reporter to be one of life’s big issues.)

And of course we spent a lot of time talking about his second favorite subject, genetics and predetermination. Larry always argued that genetics were the prime determiner of how a person’s life turned out and that he was generally powerless to change things. Me? I was a member of the “Nurture” team. Neither of us managed to change the other’s mind, but we both loved the debate.

During the 10 years I knew him, Larry often took time out to encourage me, even during times when he himself was under the gun. I was so damn grateful he thought I had talent. Especially since I was kind of a pain in the ass. But Larry believed in me. And I was supremely grateful to him for those times when he made me feel like Superwoman.

I will never forget our last conversation when he began to take on coaching for a living. I don’t think there was a happier human being on the planet. He spoke so excitedly about how he was learning new skills and changing some of his get-in-my-own-way habits that kept him from being and doing and feeling everything that he could. I came away amazed. He was positively, dare I say it, glowing.

Now when I think back to my last conversation with him, I think Larry himself provided for me the evidence I needed to win my long standing argument with him on “predestination”. He showed me that it was possible for all of us to change, at any point in our lives, and become who we want to be and live the life that we want.

I am so sorry the world has lost Larry Lamotte.
I read the news of his death on the other side of the planet, in Uzbekistan.
And as of today, there are 20 people here in Tashkent who know about what a sweet, complicated and wonderful man Larry was.

I will miss him.