The Late Dr. Larry Solomon: Someone to Remember

Dr. Lawrence M. 'Larry' Solomhis North Shore home with his books about week before he died.


This may sound like an oxymoron, but I like reading obituaries.  Sounds ghoulish, doesn't it?

But don't take it that way.

It's just that some people live interesting lives.   When the curtain closes on them,  we, who might otherwise never know the  imprint they made on their time and on  the lives of others, find out in an obituary.

Don't misunderstand me.  I'm not one of those whose hobby it is to run  through the obituaries sedulously each day.  I usually come across them serendipitously.  Like  today.

I picked up both of our dailies to read about the Bears game.  The Monday quarterbacking.  More like the drawing and the quartering  on this Monday after such a sorry performance.  Unacceptable!  But that's a different kind of obituary.

That's when I came upon the obituary of Dr. Lawrence "Larry" Solomon. Who passed at the age of  83.    His life narrative is beautifully encapsulated for the Sun-Times reader  by Maureen O'Donnell.

What a wonderful life. You can read about it yourself on page 55. I'll just tell you why  by citing a few reasons culled from that page.

First,  Mr. Solomon---a perfect surname as it turns out---lived the  fullest of  lives.  A renowned clinical dermatologist and an bibliophile extraordinaire .  He loved especially  Sherlock Holmes, and often replicated the latter's methods of observation and deduction in solving medical conundrums.

He was an engaging, gregarious, brilliant man.  Whom people took to immediately because of his warmth and charm.

His mind must have been formidable, but his manner  was easy, amiable,  accessible.

Miss O'Donnell writes: "Books were a lifetime love of his. He started collecting them when he was 12. His home was lined with shelves of rare and first editions, especially mysteries and ghost stories, kept in bookcases guarded by dragon figurines ranging from Lalique crystal behemoths to papier-mache monsters from Mexico.....he was thrilled while studying in Geneva to learn that Adrian Conan Doyle---son of  "Sherlock Holmes" creator Arthur Conan Doyle---was also living in Switzerland. 'Somehow, Larry got the   word of it and called him, and they spent the afternoon together,' said his wife."

He spent his last days listening to the music of Bach and Mozart, his beloved books surrounding him,  all the support and solace  he desired.

He was  someone who in a real sense had skin in the game's afoot.   He may have used that line himself in all probability.

Wherever he is, may he rest in peace, that is, after rereading one of his favorite cases of the World's Greatest Consulting Detective.



Filed under: Life and Death, medicine


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  • Beautifully put. I hope his family is gaining solace from his copy of "The Adventure of The Empty House." (That's my favorite story, by the way.)

  • In reply to Margaret H. Laing:

    Thanks, Margaret. BTW, why is it your favorite story?

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    In this context, I thought of it because I love it for the ideas of friendship restored and a solution to something that doesn't seem solvable at the beginning of the story.
    As for the other reasons, I've got such a list that it will be today's post over at "my place" (Margaret Serious). Thank you -- yet again -- for a fine idea.

  • Beautiful post, AW. Yes, I too, have found some wonderful life stories in the Obituaries. You can meet such interesting people there.

  • In reply to Weather Girl:

    Thanks, WG. Today I read the Trib's for one of the Toni twins, famous for the ads that asked "Which twin has the Toni?"
    Again, I came upon it quite by accident. I had gone further into the Business section to read more about McDonald's slipping sales, and there it was.

  • Nice. Some people leave a great anthology of their lives, and often the obits are the place we finally read about them.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    "Anthology of their lives" -- beautifully put, Richard!

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    Thanks, Richard. 'Anthology'...a perfect metaphor for the lives of such remarkable people.

    It reminds me of Stephen Spender's lines from "I Think Continually of Those":
    "Never to allow gradually the traffic to smother
    With noise and fog the flowering of the spirit."

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