The greatest tournament bridge player ever to grace our state died this year. We said goodbye to Larry Oakey (TGLO) most fittingly on April 1st, as he had a wickedly quick and dry sense of humor in addition to his talents at the bridge table.
Yet, bridge ability alone was not why he was so revered. Larry was an incredible teacher, director of games and a volunteer of the highest order. In addition to the countless hours devoted to our game, Larry coached girls’ softball, worked at the MPLS Art Institute across from his apartment, and gave enormous time to the theatres where he enjoyed his second love: movies.
Indeed, following his death, the Uptown Theatre’s marquee read: “We will miss you Larry.”
Larry never married and had no children. Yet, at the many memorials held following his sudden demise at 80, hundreds showed up. All wished to pay their respects to the man with such a wide variety of interests and enormous giving to them.
Few had his giant intellect, his huge facility with numbers (he literally was able to beat early computers with calculations), all tempered with great gentleness and kindness. The heart of Minnesota’s bridge world, TGLO, shall be treasured and remembered always.