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April 16, 2013 | 05:25 PMDeath is never easy to deal with.
Especially when the deceased cared so much about people and had an insatiable lust for life.
With the Williams Bay golf season beginning this week, I would be remiss if I didn't take some time to reflect on the life and legacy of Larry Crement.
On Feb. 8, Crement lost his battle with cancer at the age of 68. Crement had been sick for at least a year but stayed tight-lipped about it.
Back in April 2012, Crement took a hiatus from coaching the Bay golfers to undergo surgery to treat his cancer. But he returned to finish out the season and coach his son, Lawrence. Larry never mentioned his illness in phone interviews or when I spoke to him in person. He simply kept a constant smile and spoke positively about his love for golf and his team. In Larry's final season, he led the Bulldogs to their first sectional appearance in 15 years.
Crement was well-known in the community. A former president of the Williams Bay Booster Club, Larry also was a Lions Club member and was on the Williams Bay Recreation Department board. He was president of the soccer club for seven years.
Larry coached his daughter, Emma, a Bay sophomore, in soccer, and in 2011, he took over the Bay golf program and had a chance to coach his son Lawrence. When Larry was hired, he was ecstatic.
"This is a dream for me," he said in an April 2011 Regional News article. "I've always wanted to do this."
In Larry's first season, the Bay improved as the year went on and played their best golf by the end of the season. Personally, I felt Larry was refreshing to work with. He would always answer his phone Sunday nights for a quick interview, but family dinner took precedence above all else. If he was busy grilling out, Larry always made sure to call me back later that night and talk up his team.
I had only known him for two months, but Larry treated me like one of his best friends. A couple weeks before my I got married in late May 2011, I was pleased but surprised to see a lengthy email out of nowhere from Larry. Even though he didn't know me that well, he wished me the best of luck with my wedding and assured me that marriage would be a blast. He encouraged me to have fun on my honeymoon and make the most out of life, never taking myself too seriously.
I will always remember it as one of the nicest and most heartfelt things a source has ever said to me. Larry was a great guy who really cared about others, even if he had only met them in person a few times.
By his last season in 2012, Larry had the Bulldogs thriving. They made their first team sectional appearance in 15 years, and Larry loved every minute of it. He got to teach his son and the other Bulldogs about his passion for golf and have fun along the way.
It was never about winning or pushing kids too hard with Larry. He simply wanted his players to learn and have a good time. After the Bay qualified for sectionals, Larry knew only one way to celebrate — a party.
New Bay coach Dan Plens said he had plenty of good times with Larry in the three years he knew him. Plens took over coaching duties for Larry last year when Larry had his surgery. Plens said everybody knew Larry and he was lucky to get to know him.
"When I subbed for Larry, he told me to take care of his kids (the Bay golfers)," Plens said. "I owed it to the kids and to Larry to take over."
Plens will have some pretty big shoes to fill. Larry Crement was a loving father, a passionate golfer and teacher and a genuine, fun-loving man. I am grateful to have met him, and his impact on the Bay and the golf community will live forever.