SPAN bids Brown fond farewell

Published 4:09 pm Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Having his cake: Celebrating with Brown, center, were Randy Strattis, left, and Ann Baker with SPAN.

Former staff and students of SPAN celebrated the retirement of teacher Larry Brown Wednesday at noon.

Tina Blanchard, a counselor with SPAN, has known Brown for more than 10 years.

“He’s always had an old-school approach,” she said. “He believed in discipline and students being respectful.”

A teacher at SPAN (formerly the CITY program), Brown has worked with adolescents his entire life. Before coming to SPAN he was a teacher and a football coach.

“He has a great sense of humor, and was always working with kids to build their character,” said Blanchard.

“He will be missed,” said Amanda Hicks, another counselor with SPAN. “He was tough, but the students really appreciated him for it. He’s one of those guys who can joke around with you and then tell you to get to work in the same sentence.”

Brown worked a lot with Sherry Hartley, a teacher at SPAN, whom he had trained.

“Describe him in one word?” she asked, laughing. “Eccentric. He has his ways. And you never have to guess what’s on his mind.”

After working eight years at SPAN, Brown had to take time off in April for health issues and then retired in June.

The guest of honor was late to his party because of a doctor’s appointment in Birmingham. His coworkers joked about how ironic that was.

“He was the first one here everyday—Mr. Punctual. He’d always have our coffee ready when we came in,” said Hicks. “And here he is, late to his own party.”

Though he will no longer be teaching at SPAN, his former students will attest to the fact that the influence he had on them will last.

Terry Jones, 17, wanted everyone to know how much Brown would be missed.

“He is a nice, kind, good man. He always pushed us forward,” said Jones. “And he loved everyone.”