Larry Anton

Class of 1961

     

After I graduated from HHS, I attended Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute for a year.  It was located in a depressing old building in downtown Brooklyn and I hated the railroad and subway commute.  I transferred to St. Johns University where I graduated in 1965 with a chemistry degree.  I worked Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday cooking or dishing up ice cream at Howard Johnsons.  Summers I worked as a stonemason’s laborer and then as a truckers helper carrying sheetrock into buildings under construction.

I got a job at Grumman Aerospace working with analytical instrumentation in the Spectroscopy Lab.  I worked on the Lunar Module crew compartment for six years.  This involved setting up a program that tested all non-metallic materials used in the crew compartment to ensure that they would not give off any harmful substances under temperature and pressure conditions to be encountered in space. 

In June 1966, I married Marcella Lepanto who lived in Westbury.  We met in an economics class at St. Johns. She was an accounting major and the only reason that we met was that my advisor never told me that I could take political science instead of economics.  We bought a house in East Northport just before we were married and lived there until1991.  She worked for both local and big eight CPA firms and then started her own practice working out of our home.  We both went back to St. Johns where I obtained an MBA in Finance (paid for by Grumman) and she obtained an MS in Taxation. 

In 1971, we drove up to the White Mountains of New Hampshire over the Columbus Day Weekend to see the fall foliage. While driving to the coast of Maine on our way home, we stopped at a realtor in Bridgton and ended up buying a piece of property on Trickey Pond in Naples.  Trickey Pond was a pristine spring fed lake about 2˝ miles long and ˝ mile wide that drained into Sebago Lake via a small stream.  Marcella had come to Maine several times as a child and had fond memories of the Sebago Lake Region. 

When the space program wound down after the moon landings, I found myself out of a job.  My aerospace experience was not in demand on Long Island. We did not want to relocate since Marcella had started her accounting practice. She worked for the next two summers while I went to Maine and built our vacation home. With the help of some “book learning”, I did everything myself except the excavation and foundation.  Meanwhile, I worked in a liquor store and went back to school taking the accounting and business law courses needed to sit for the CPA Exam.  I passed the CPA exam and formed a partnership with my wife.  I also started teaching accounting, first at Nassau Community College and then at Brooklyn College where I taught accounting and tax.  I moved on to CW Post School of Professional Accountancy where I taught for several more years.

We needed to find additional office space, and after a long search, we bought a rundown Victorian House on Main Street in Northport Village, gutted it and restored it preserving all the interior woodwork and charm.  We practiced together in Northport until 1990.

In 1990, Marcella had a heart attack caused by years of childhood diabetes complications.  She had extensive heart surgery and could no longer work.  Her prognosis was for about a two year life expectancy.  She was 45 and I was 47.  We decided to enjoy our remaining time together so we sold our house and our accounting practice the following year and moved to our house on the lake in Maine.  She lived for 14 more years and we had a wonderful retirement together.  We traveled extensively in our motor home with our Saint Bernard, Stanley, visiting forty nine states and all the Canadian Provinces and Territories. We also visited her relatives in Sweden and took my mother to visit her relatives in France and Germany. Last, but not least, we enjoyed the peace of country living watching the sunrise over our beautiful lake.

Friends always asked me how I could retire at 48 and not be bored out of my mind.  Far from being bored, I found there were not enough hours in the day to do what I wanted to do.  I have kept busy with volunteer work helping to start and run a food pantry in a neighboring town.  I served on the Board of Trustees of PROP, the Community Action Agency of Cumberland County, for nine years including two years as Board President.  Although I was termed out, I continue to serve on their Finance Committee.  I have served on many Naples Town Committees and was chair of the last Comprehensive Plan Committee. Currently, I am Chair of the Naples Planning Board, serve as president of our homeowners association, and serve as treasurer and newsletter editor for a local non- profit environmental organization.

In August of 2007, I married Mary Ann Dacus, whom I met on e-harmony.com.  She was originally from Oklahoma and came to Maine from Texas to be closer to her daughter in New Hampshire.  So I now have a stepdaughter and a step granddaughter who is currently enrolled at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey where she plays field hockey and lacrosse. Mary Ann and I love to travel and have visited Costa Rica, the Caribbean, China, Tibet, Morocco, Italy and Spain.  We were in Athens to watch the Olympic Torch starting out on the journey from the Acropolis to Beijing.  I spend a lot of time on the Internet looking for travel deals.

My favorite memory from my high school years was the Senior Trip overnight ride on the Old Bay Line. We were so lucky that we were able to take that ride on the historic steamboat, The City of Norfolk.  The Old Bay Line, which had been operating steam packets since 1840, stopped sailing in October of 1961 for the winter and went out of business in 1962 without starting the season. 

 

            A sad memory from my high school years is walking into town one lunchtime with Bill Chomyk and him pointing out his relative’s names on the bronze plaque attached to the firehouse wall commemorating Hicksville servicemen killed in action.  Bill gave his life for his country on April 22, 1968 while flying an F4D fighter out of Da Nang Air Force Base.