Thanks, Larry

By Rebecca Carr | Apr 21, 2010

Before the accident that left him quadriplegic and dependent upon a ventilator, Larry Busch was an energetic, fun-loving, outgoing prankster, always there for his friends with a smile, a laugh, encouraging words.

After his accident, Busch was an energetic, fun-loving, outgoing prankster, always there for his friends with a smile, a laugh, encouraging words.

Busch passed away unexpectedly Friday morning, four years after the accident that severely damaged his spinal cord. He leaves behind more friends than can possibly be counted, each an example of the many lives he touched in his 26 years.

At the time of his death he was finishing his accounting degree at University of Washington, participating in the citizen’s group Friends of the Waterfront as an advocate and consultant for the disabled, hosting weekly poker parties at his remodeled Mukilteo home and enjoying his family and friends.

Busch knew of the effect he had on his many friends in the months after the accident. His Zeta Psi fraternity brothers raised more than $125,000; the Mukilteo community rallied together to generate another $40,000-plus in a series of fundraisers, to help pay the medical costs insurance didn’t cover, purchase a van that could accommodate his wheelchair and cover the costs of rehabilitation.

Countless others helped remodel the Busch family home and deck to be wheelchair-accessible.

According to his fraternity brother, Chad Ashby, donations poured in from as far away as Portugal, Egypt and even Nepal.

Busch and his friends were playing in the warm waters of Flamingo Beach in Costa Rica when he landed wrong in an unexpectedly shallow area, damaging his spinal cord at the C-5 level.

Lying on the beach awaiting the ambulance, Busch was having difficulty breathing and couldn’t feel or move anything below chest level.

Even then, his main concern was reassuring his friends with jokes. In the hospital, still in critical condition, he spoke to each of them individually, emphasizing the accident was nobody’s fault. 

Back at home, it was Busch who filled the awkward silences when visitors had trouble taking in the drastic changes to his life.  It was Busch who kept the conversation rolling even when well-meaning friends found themselves at a loss for words. 

That’s the Larry Busch his childhood teachers and coaches remember, as well.

Kamiak counselor Alison Mead remembers Busch helping organize the annual boys vs. girls basketball game at the Boys and Girls Club, and being the one to add friendly wagers to boost the competitive spirit.

Busch was co-captain of the tennis team while at Kamiak, and known as a leader on his childhood sports teams as well, according to his coaches.

Busch’s sister is correct – Larry leaves us a legacy of learning to live life to the fullest, to appreciate each day regardless of the circumstances, and always to value friends and family.

Rest in peace, Larry – you’ll be missed by many.

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