Memories of Hope

Larry Mohney

Memories of Larry Mohney
Larry was a very special person. His parents, Irma and Ed, did a magnificent job raising this special gift from God during a time when very little was known about autism. They were concerned that he was not talking at the normal age- then astonished when he started reading television commercials. They knew he could understand the written word and it was at that time they were able to develop better communication with Larry. Larry’s giftedness and wonderful personality became quickly evident.

Larry’s first grade CCD teacher tells the story of his first day. He simply walked in, chose his seat, and took out a dictionary to read. From that day forward Larry excelled in language. He was a voracious reader and quick to correct others’ mistaken pronunciation. He was also extremely creative (like his father) and maintained a special interest in Star Trek. The whole family enjoyed annual visits to Baltimore for Trek reunions!

Most memorable about Larry is the breadth and depth of his knowledge- from television trivia to current events. Although he rarely volunteered it in less familiar company, Larry could engage in conversation about seemingly anything. He was also quite introspective. When Larry first attended a local social support group meeting he was reading a text which described various forms of autism. One of the groups’ facilitators questioned what he was reading and, after explaining the text, Larry elaborated that he was ‘trying to figure out which form of autism [he had].’

Shortly before his death Larry had attended his regular social support group meeting which happened to be discussing job opportunities with a local organization, the IM4Q. Larry leaned over to his mother and whispered something. She audibly stated, ‘Well, tell them.” The Director of the IM4Q looked at Larry, giving him an opportunity to speak, and Larry simply said, “I want that job.”

He got that job. A job that finally allowed him to work in an organization which appreciated him entirely- and that gave him an opportunity to use some of his many talents. Larry had a degree in communications from Duquesne University, but spent much of his life bagging groceries. He was an instant success with the IM4Q and adored by his colleagues and supervisors.

Each night Larry ended his prayers with “Thank you God for this great job.”

His mother believes that he did such a good job that God found another for him in heaven.