Lawrence “Larry” K. Schuster Sr. was born in Baltimore on May 24, 1922. During World War II he served as a Marine Corps Tech Sgt. in the Pacific Theatre, where he fought on Okinawa, Saipan and Iwo Jima. In 1946 he married Mary Suzanne “Sue” Knox.
The Larry Schuster family lived in Pikesville, Md., until his retirement from Champion Paper Company in the 1980s. Before settling in Dumfries, Va., he spent several years exploring the country with his wife in an RV he called “The Hog” and then enjoying a home on a canal in South Bethany Beach, Del.
Schuster, who passed away on March 1, 2012, at Mary Washington Hospital in Fredericksburg, loved the ocean and spent many years of his life at Ocean City, Md., and Bethany Beach, Del.
He is survived by his four children: Sharon Bulova, Marmie Schuster-Walker, Georgeanne Koss, and Larry Schuster Jr., who all reside in Northern Virginia, six grandchildren and six great grandchildren.
A service will be held at 8:30 a,m. on Monday, March 5 at Mountcastle Funeral Home in Dale City. This will be followed by a 10 a.m. gravesite service at Quantico National Cemetery.
Schuster's favorite charity was the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program. Donations can be made on their website at www.toysfortots.org.
Sharon Bulova's Eulogy for Her Father:
Our dad, Lawrence K. Schuster Sr., was known by a number of names. When we were children we called him “Daddy,” and later “Dad” or “Pops.” To some of his grandchildren he was known as “PePa.”
But the name I think is sweetest is the name he was called by my brother Larry’s children, Joyce and “Little Larry.” They called him Grandfather Ocean.
So many of our favorite family memories revolve around Dad and our experiences at the Atlantic Ocean: Manasquan, Long Branch and Asbury Park in New Jersey; Ocean City, Md.; Bethany Beach and Fenwick Island in Delaware. Vintage family photos feature us splayed out across beach blankets trying to get a tan on our freckled skin, eating mom’s baked chicken from a picnic basket, or romping in the surf.
Marmie and I remember racing excitedly across the sand to show Dad the jellyfish we had caught, thinking it was something that could be cooked up and eaten later.
We all have fond memories of Dad, of PePa, of Grandfather Ocean, taking us out into the “deep water” clinging to his arms and shoulders while he showed us how to ride the waves. He was tall and strong and powerfully built and he could maneuver us through the water like a tugboat.
Dad was a great swimmer and some of his best stories were about his teen age years when he tended bar (sub-legally) at his uncle’s boardwalk saloon in Ocean City at night and worked as a lifeguard during the days. He once described being out with his friends and trying to ride the waves during a hurricane. He paddled out into the surf to catch a “big one,” only to look down from atop the crest to see nothing below him but sand. Somehow Dad survived intact, although with sand wedged in every imaginable crevice.
Dad’s other best stories were about the years he served in the Marine Corps. During World War II, Dad served in the Pacific Theatre. It’s a miracle that any of us even exist because as a young Marine, Dad survived the deadly engagements of Okinawa, Saipan and Iwo Jima. Unlike some veterans, Dad liked to recount stories about his years as a Marine.
My favorite was about his coming ashore in Okinawa. When night fell after a day of heavy fire, Dad and his buddies had not had time to dig a fox hole, so they found a mound to curl up on. They sat up for most of the night talking quietly, smoking and flicking their cigarette butts out onto the sand. When they woke up the next morning, they discovered to their horror that mound was a pile of napalm.
It wasn’t until I was an adult that I learned I was named after a town on the Island of Saipan called “Charon” or “Charon Konoa.” Dad thought the name was beautiful and vowed that if he “ever got out of this alive and had a daughter”, he would name her (me) Charon – or, as it turned out “Sharon”.
Dad first met mom just after the war ended. My grandmother operated the first pre-school and private kindergarten in Baltimore and mom was a pre-school teacher there. Dad was dating mom’s friend, Janet. Mom described standing at an upstairs window with her mother, “Gammy.” They both looked down in time to see Dad – all dressed up in his Marine Corps uniform – arrive on the playground to greet Janet. Gammy was smitten, and gasped “Oh my god, Sue! Look at that!”
They were married on Thanksgiving Day 1946 and began their family the next year.
Our father was a great Dad. Just a few favorite memories:
Every Christmas Eve and into the morning he would stay up all night long putting up the tree and trimming it – every ball and piece of tinsel JUST RIGHT – so that we could be treated to a magical scene as we raced down to the club cellar to open our presents.
Georgie remembers going skiing with her friends in Pennsylvania when their car broke down. It was late at night and no one dared to call their parents except for Georgie. Dad drove all the way from Baltimore into the hills of Pennsylvania to bring everyone home safely and then went back to have the car fixed.
Marmie remembers putting a book in her underpants to cushion the spanking Dad was about to give her after the two of us almost set fire to the basement of our house on Milford Mill Road in Pikesville. He laughed so hard he was unable to complete the punishment.
Larry remembers, although it wasn’t funny at the time, accidently jumping through our bay window on Streamwood Drive in Pikesville and running as fast as he could with Dad chasing after him hollering “You have to come home some time!!!”
And of course he did. Larry came home to enjoy the family cookouts in our back yard with hot dogs and hamburgers and later steaks cooked on Dad’s barbecue set that doubled for a red and black train engine.
Many of our memories involve food and drink. It was Dad who stuffed, cooked and carved the turkey on Thanksgiving and Christmas. It was Dad who made the perfect Whiskey Sour and Bloody Mary. It was Dad and our Uncle Allen who invented one of our family’s signature dishes, Madicelli.
We will miss you, Dad. You made us happy. You made us feel safe. Around you we built family traditions and a joyful appreciation for each other and those who have joined and touched our family. Thank you.