Lawrence “Larry” Rogovoy, 1931-2013

Lawrence “Larry” Neil Rogovoy, 82, of Seattle, Wash., died of respiratory failure on September 7, 2013.

He leaves two children, Seth Rogovoy, of Hudson, N.Y., and Ruth Berkman, of Seattle; a sister, Eleanor Watson, of Portland, Oregon [since deceased], and four grandchildren: Anna Rogovoy, of Brooklyn, N.Y., Willie Watkins, of Great Barrington, Mass., and Emma and Ben Kahle of Seattle. He was predeceased by his wife of 52 years, Stella Peretz Rogovoy, who died on April 9, 2009.

Larry Rogovoy was born in Jackson Heights, N.Y., on January 1, 1931, to Joseph and Esther Rogovoy, both of whom were born in the early 20th century in Russia. Family lore has it that he was the third baby born in New York City on that day; had he been the first, one of the daily tabloids would have published his photo and bought his parents a layette.

Joseph Rogovoy owned a dry cleaning business that survived the Great Depression; Esther was a homemaker who suffered from various ailments, including asthma, throughout her lifetime. They lived in the same two-family townhouse in Jackson Heights well into Larry Rogovoy’s adulthood.

Soul music songwriter-producer Jordan “Jerry” Ragovoy (“Time Is On My Side,” “A Piece of My Heart”) was Larry’s first cousin – Jerry’s father, Nandor, was Joseph Rogovoy’s brother.

As a youth, Larry was active in the local chapter of the Boy Scouts, which was run through the Conservative synagogue of which his family were members. Family legend says that the comedian Don Rickles was one of the young scoutmasters in his chapter. Larry was a fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers of the Duke Snider era, and enjoyed palling around with friends including Sanford “Sandy” Klein and the late Richard “Dick” Watson, who married Larry’s younger sister, Eleanor (“Ellie”), now of Portland, Oregon. Larry and Ellie had a younger brother, David, who predeceased them.

At 6’4”, Larry was uncommonly tall – a full foot taller than his wife – in relation to members of his immediate and extended family. He also suffered from hearing loss at an early age, brought about by a childhood case of whooping cough. He was a skilled lip reader, however.

After graduating from Newtown High School, Larry entered Queens College. He originally wanted to major in physics, but at some point plans changed and he wound up on a different path, one that culminated with an MBA degree from New York University, and the beginning of his career as a Certified Public Accountant.

Larry began his own family’s life with his wife, the late Stella Peretz Rogovoy (b. 1938, d. 2009), whom he met through friends in 1955 and married in 1957. They lived in the upstairs apartment of the Jackson Heights townhouse; their first child, Seth Rogovoy, was born there in 1960.

Out of school, Larry had a job as a traffic manager at Grey Advertising. He then worked as a CPA for many years in the small family firm of Waller & Antman, based in New York City. A job out on Long Island, among other socio-cultural developments, prompted a family move out to Bay Shore, in Suffolk County, where the Rogovoys first lived in a garden apartment across the street from the Bay Shore train station. This allowed Larry and Stella’s non-driving relatives to visit the Rogovoy family, which grew by one with the birth of their first and only daughter, Ruth (b. 1963).

With an expanded family now bursting the seams of the small Bay Shore garden apartment, the Rogovoys moved to a split-level house on a small suburban street in Islip, N.Y. They would remain there through and beyond their children’s high school graduation and college years. For a brief period of time, they also had a vacation home on Fire Island in the community of Kismet, and later on a home in the mountains of Southwestern Vermont.

Larry Rogovoy was active in Sinai Reform Temple, of Bay Shore, N.Y., as a board member, committee member, and member of the temple brotherhood, where his family worshipped and his children received their religious education.

Larry continued working for Waller & Antman for over a decade, after which he worked for or with several other accountants, often commuting on the Long Island Railroad from Islip to Manhattan, before establishing his own home-based practice, which moved with him first to Williamstown, Mass., for a brief time, before his move to Seattle in 1991.

In Seattle, Larry and Stella were devoted grandparents to their daughter Ruth’s children, Ben and Emma Kahle, living for most of the time in a house across the street from them, in something of an intergenerational family compound. Larry and Stella were active members of Temple Beth Am in Seattle.

After Stella became ill with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and Larry contracted Parkinson’s Disease, the two moved into an assisted living facility; after Stella died in 2009, Larry moved to the Caroline Kline Galland Home, where he lived until his passing.

Larry was a devoted husband, parent, and grandparent. He also enjoyed reading and eating cookies.

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