Lawrence Harvey (Larry) Fuchs
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Larry realized that he had an affinity for criminal investigation and began a specialization in economic crime. After six years with Polk County, he joined the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. His assignments included being sent to assist former Dade State Attorney Janet Reno for 18 months; supervising the West Palm Beach, Sebring and Ft. Myers offices of FDLE; spending a year "on loan" to the anti-trust section of the Attorney General's office in Tallahassee; and helping conduct a special investigation into corruption allegations at the Florida Highway Patrol.
In 1983 Larry became the Director of Financial Investigations for the Florida Comptroller.Two years later he was promoted to Deputy Comptroller, responsible for the regulation of Florida chartered financial institutions, stock brokers, and investment offerings, as well as financial investigations. While with the Comptroller, he was asked by the Governor and Cabinet to temporarily manage the Department of Revenue.Larry formed a team of specialists who delivered a comprehensive management review to the permanent Director when he took over three months later.
In 1992 another vote of the Cabinet made Larry the Executive Director of Revenue. He was particularly proud of the achievements of the entire agency during his tenure.Emulating the best private corporations by "operating like a business," DOR was the first to win the state equivalent of the Malcolm Baldridge award for organizational excellence, and national recognition from both USA TODAY and the LBJ School at The University of Texas.
Larry was different things to different people.Although he appeared to some who worked with him as an aloof and tough executive, those who knew Larry best regarded him as fair, caring, friendly, and possessed of an often-exhibited dry sense of humor. Most politicians who worked with Larry described him as having "unwavering integrity" and "absolute credibility."
During a lifetime of exemplary achievement, Larry often quipped that he became a kinder, more approachable individual only after he met and married his wife of thirty years, Betsy, whom he credited with "turning me into a human being." He often laughed heartily when their friends quickly agreed.The love Larry and Betsy shared endured some hardships but many, many good times. Sailing the Gulf and the Virgin Islands, traveling in their motor home from one end of the country to the other, and enjoying the company of friends and relatives, they were always a couple.
When working and on many other occasions, Larry told his closest friends and business associates that he thought his reputation for integrity, credibility and commitment was reflected in his favorite quotations.From George Bernard Shaw a paraphrased: "Some men see things as they are and say, why? I see things that never were and say, why not?" From the often half-quoted Carl Schurz: "Our country, right or wrong. When right, to be kept right, when wrong to be put right." Crediting, with reservations, Eldridge Cleaver: "If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem." Finally from John Kennedy: "Every man can make a difference, and every man should try."
In addition to his wife, Betsy, Larry is survived by his son Jon Fuchs, stepson Mark Stevens, daughter-in-law Joann, granddaughter Kelsey, all of Tallahassee, brother and sister-in-law, Dennis and Judy Fuchs of Salt Lake City Utah, and former spouse Maud Craft of Whitefish, Montana.In lieu of a memorial service, donations to the LeMoyne Center for the Visual Arts and or Big Bend Hospice will be appreciated.
Published in Tallahassee Democrat from Nov. 26 to Nov. 28, 2013