Larry Tall was born to the proud parents of Dorothy Nella (nee Lowery) and Sigel Tall on February 11, 1946, in Morris Chapel Tennessee. After enduring (and surviving) various medical complications over the past few years, he made his peaceful transition under the love and care of his wife of over 40 years "Barbara" on Sunday January 15, 2023.
Larry was raised in Morris Chapel. He was the 2nd of 8 siblings, all of whom he loved very much! He received his primary and secondary education at Dunbar Elementary & High Schools, respectively; however Larry went on to obtain his GED shortly after enlisting in the United States Army. Determined to continue to enhance his knowledge, he continued his studies by taking various "collegiate courses" under the "continuing education programs" offered by the military. His enlistment was the beginning of a military career that would last for more than 15 years. Joining the armed forces gave him the opportunity to travel to other parts of the world, most notably the country of Germany. It was here that he spent a core number of years of his military career working his way up through the ranks to become a Staff Sargent (grade E-6). For Larry, the military subjected him to many "life changing experiences" but the one deemed "most notable" took place on April 20, 1968. That was day his "pride and joy", Larry "Dewayne" Tall came into this world! In 1975, his last tour of duty assignment was at Fort Bliss Texas, in the city of El Paso. All military personnel reporting for duty were required to make the first stop at "Building 500B." It was there where a soldier's documents were reviewed and processed for payroll and basic benefits. In modern times this building is
referred to as "human resources". Unbeknown to Larry, Building 500B would be the start a new venture in more ways than one! So the story was told that there was this "pretty young thang" who caught the eye of many Soldiers who passed through processing but like many who tried before him, Larry was told, "don't waste your time trying to get her number cause she ain't budging!" LOL
Apparently those words of warning were not enough to deter Larry from pursuing a date with this beautiful woman. Rumor has it that he actually managed to get her to exchange telephone numbers but sadly, she stood him up on the first date! Known for his reputation for not let anything get in the way of something he wants, his relentless pursuit eventually led him to take her on a date and as fate would have it, Larry went on to marry the love of his life. Her name was "Miss Barbara Autry" who he lovingly nicknamed "Bahbee."
The Great Outdoors
To use the word "avid" in front of the word Sportsman when speaking about Larry's skills is truly an understatement! More appropriately the word "masterful" comes to mind when referring to his hunting, fishing and farming skills. When asked how he knew so much about these things, he was quick to give all the honor and praise to his "UNCLE BILL as being the one who "taught him
everything he knows, including farming." He also credits his Uncle Bill for teaching him to recognize the different sounds of every specie of birds that inhabited the area. It was absolutely amazing that Larry could mimic them as well! Larry's hunting trips included Bears, Javelins (wild pigs), Deer (Mule, White Tail, Prone Horn Antelope) and Turkeys. His fishing excursions never disappointing either. Rest assured it was a matter of time before he came in with so many fish you couldn't count them! It was a given that when Larry was fishing, there was going to be a gathering around the table to taste the delectable "catch of day" no matter what kind of fish it was! Interesting side note about Larry and fish: He caught them, cleaned them but never ate them!!
Where do we start when we speak about his contribution to world of sports given how he touch so many lives, in so many ways, whether he was a Participant, a Coach, a Trainer or a combination thereof. The irony of it all is when you consider the very thing that he loved (sports) that kept him going in life to include: track and field, racewalking, volley ball, flag football and softball, was also the very thing that gave way to exacerbating many of his medical conditions (including 2 heart attacks!) No matter what, he never wavered when it came to his commitment to the sport or the person he was training (and many cases was a participant). One story that will be etched in the memory of all who witnessed, took place at a race at Florida State University in Tallahassee Florida in February 2011. Larry accompanied Barbara to this event with the primary goal of her qualifying for the Boston Marathon. Larry had just completed a "half marathon" when he collapsed after suffering from a heart attack at the finish line. Larry's survival was so miraculous, a participant (and columnists) by the name of David Yon, was moved to write an article in a local Tallahassee newspaper. He entitled the article: "A Tall Tale and a Miracle" to which I note the following excerpts:
"A Tall Tale and a Miracle"
By: David Yon
Published on February 2 0, 2011 2:00 AM
I know the rules of mathematics are absolute, but sometimes the numbers don't tell the whole story. Next to Barbara Autry-Tall's name in the Tallahassee Marathon results are the numbers 2:13:30 for the half sprint and a blank for her finish time. For Larry Tall the number is 0. That was the pulse rate for almost 20-25 minutes as life appeared to have left his body as he lay on the track, just shy of the finish line.
Twenty-two is the mile mark where, thanks to some fast thinking by GWTC's Peg Griffin, Barbara was told "you need to come with us right away." It was not the first time she had been at a race and told her husband Larry Tall was having a heart attack. But she knew immediately that something had gone badly wrong with her husband.
Earlier, Stephanie Adams had driven to Tallahassee from Jennings to watch her friend run the Tallahassee Marathon. Adams, a nurse who often used CPR, but seldom saw it work in the difficult recovery rooms where she worked, was at the track when Larry went down.
A seasoned race walker, his plan was to walk the half, while his wife ran the full marathon. As he made his way around the last corner of the track he suddenly crumpled and went down. Hard.
Alison Thumm, a half-marathon finisher, arrived second and began to help. "It is all kind of a blur to me, except for his face, which I will never forget," Thumm said, "When I walked away that day, I didn't think there was any chance he could survive and be neurologically intact."
Dan Bulecza, head of the FSU First Responders explained why Tall had a chance. "Good CPR forces the blood through the body and keeps critical cells alive."
It bought important time for the Bulecza's team to go to work. The team - which includes student volunteers, Joe LaFave, Eric Toussaint and Wyatt Eddy - arrived 90 seconds after they were called, connected the AED machine and went to work fighting for Larry Tall's life. "A Tall Tale and a Miracle" (continued)
Mary Jen Yon Knows what it is like to finish a race in an emergency room and she could not get the sight out of her head. So when she got word that Mr. Tall was still alive in ICU at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, she had to go.
When she went into the ICU Larry was a ghost with tubes and machines sticking out from all over his body. Barbara was around the corner on one of her few breaks. MJ found her in the waiting room and a strong bond was immediately formed.
"He is getting better, one small step at a time," Barbara said, with more hope than belief.
But sure enough, day by day, Tall got better. When the ventilator came out and the drugs began to wear off, he was more effusive than she could ever remember him.
"Who stole my Tall?" she asked. No one, but an amazing group of people who helped pull him through.
"Miracle" is the story the numbers never quite told. The whole story was summed up well, when Mary Jean gave her medal to Tall in the hospital on his 65th birthday. He smiled broadly as he proclaimed, "I have received a lot of medals in my racing career, but none that mean so much as this one."
It would be almost 12 years after overcoming that serious medical challenge that Larry departed this earth knowing he was truly loved and blessed by all who knew him during his amazing lifetime.
He leaves to cherish his memory
His beloved wife, Barbara
Son: Dewayne Tall (Leslie)
Loving Honorary Mother: Margie "Ebbie" Tall
Ethylene Baily, Mary Grimes (Leon), Milton Tall (Myra),
David Delane Tall (Felicia Ann), Felicia Jackson (Gary),
Vanessa Bryant (Earl) and Roshonda Tall
Tanezia, Zaire and Laron
A numerous host of
Nieces, Nephews and Special Family Members and Friends
He was preceded in death by his mother:
Dorothy Nella Tall
Aug 2, 1926 - August 14, 1957
and his father:
Aug 28, 1921 - Dec 22, 2012
"TALL" "COACH TALL" "T"
will be in our hearts forever
We would like to take this time to thank everyone for
your unwavering support and prayers during his illness.
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