Lawrence Harvey (Larry) Fuchs
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Lawrence Harvey (Larry) Fuchs, 71, passed away on November 22, 2013.A devoted father, grandfather, and cherished husband of Betsy, his best friend and advisor, Larry dedicated his life to making a difference. His lifetime commitment to public service earned him an impeccable reputation as an ethical and visionary leader. It was a personal drive that reaped Larry much recognition as well as the challenges that often confront a "change agent."
Larry achieved the pinnacle of a distinguished, 31-year career in public service as Executive Director of the Florida Department of Revenue (DOR), from where he retired in 2000.During his tenure, the DOR was widely praised as one of the best-run agencies in Florida state government, earning Larry recognition as Public Official of the Year from Governing Magazine in 1994.
Outside of work, Larry also had many accomplishments and interests. He was an award-winning photographer, skilled mariner and avid golfer.Larry served twice as Commodore of the Apalachee Bay Yacht Club and played golf with many friends at Killearn Country Club and other groups throughout the area. He and wife Betsy enjoyed many years of long-distance cruising by both boat and motor home. Larry's photography hobby turned into a part-time profession with gallery displays and the winning of local, regional and national awards.His appreciation for the arts, along with his natural leadership abilities, led Larry to serve as President of the LeMoyne Center for the Visual Arts for 2012 and 2013.
Born in New York, Larry graduated from the Peddie School before heading south to attend Florida Southern College. There he earned a B.A. and later a Master's Degree from Rollins College. Florida Southern also awarded him with an honorary PhD when he gave a spring commencement speech.
Larry strove his entire life to "make a difference." While in school he helped form a volunteer rescue team in Central Florida. In the summer he was one of the most active members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary on Long Island Sound.His first full-time employment was as a captain for the North Hempstead New York Harbor Patrol. He continued his life on the water after college graduation as an officer in the U. S. Coast Guard. He served as the navigator of a 165' search and rescue cutter in the Caribbean and then volunteered for duty on a patrol boat in Vietnam.Service there earned him a Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V". He eventually left the military as a Lieutenant Commander.
While based in Puerto Rico, Larry met his first wife, Maud Stewart of Hartlepool, England. She was welcomed as a member of his family while he was in Vietnam. They were married and settled in Florida soon after his return.
Starting an advertising, public relations and commercial photography agency in Lakeland, Larry also became the first person to head the newly formed Polk County Sheriff's Department Auxiliary.He later sold the agency and joined the Sheriff's Office as community and public relations officer.
Published in Tallahassee Democrat from Nov. 26 to Nov. 28, 2013