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Larry Grisham

February 2, 1949 May 4, 2020
Larry Grisham
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Obituary for Larry Grisham

Larry Richard Grisham passed away peacefully at home May 4, 2020 after battling pancreatic cancer.

Larry was born February 2, 1949 in the small town of Henderson, Texas. He was the only child of Eva Fay (Powell) Grisham and James Marian Grisham.
James was a pharmacist, at first working in a large drugstore where Larry loved to visit the lunch counter and had his first “job” straightening the magazines, and later owned a small pharmacy after the family moved to Lufkin, Texas. Larry often recalled this time fondly as time spent with his grandparents, who lived on a farm and where he was charged with feeding the chickens. Larry would ride their horse, Old Buckshot (who had earned his name), and who also gave Larry a lifelong respect, although not affection, for horses.

Larry was a gifted student and graduated at the top of his high school class. While in high school he was named a Westinghouse Science Fellow and, as part of the program, spent the summer before college working at the Bureau of Standards in Washington, DC. Larry then chose to attend the University of Texas, Austin where he studied physics and worked part-time at the geology building. He often spent his free time hiking, caving, and going on adventures in Texas and Mexico. During his first two weeks of classes at UT, Larry met Jacqueline Criswell—they were on a double blind date (with other people)—but Jacqueline was charmed by Larry’s wit, stories, and intelligence and became his life partner and wife of over forty years.

In 1971, Larry was named a Rhodes Scholar and he and Jacqueline moved to Oxford, England so he could pursue his PhD in physics. They loved their time in Oxford and used Larry’s academic breaks to travel to the English Lake District, Switzerland, Austria, Norway and Greece. Larry and Jacqueline particularly loved the Lake District, and wed there in a small ceremony in 1972.

After graduating from Oxford with high honors, Larry was offered and accepted a position at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory at Princeton University. During his time, he worked on numerous international collaborations, including with India, Japan, France, and the UK. During these busy years, he and Jacqueline became the proud parents of Austin Grisham, Dr. Rachel Grisham, and Hilary Grisham Goodwill. They have also been happy in recent years to welcome Jonathon Goodwill and Michael Gapen as son-in-laws, and have been especially delighted to become grandparents to Grace, Mimi, Molly, and Danny Gapen.

Upon his retirement from Princeton University, Larry was offered, and happily accepted, a position with the company Twinleaf, founded by, as he commonly said, “his two best graduate students.” He greatly enjoyed his time with the company until his health began to fail.

As anyone who ever met Larry would attest to, he had an amazing memory and wealth of knowledge. He could easily speak on any number of subjects—and often for a very long time! Larry was always very generous, both with his time, in providing knowledge and advice, and financially, by supporting multiple charitable organizations. He will be dearly missed by family and friends.

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