Jack Larkin, proud father, loving husband, terrific grandfather, raging intellect, scholar, and historian, mentor to budding historians and scholars, tenor and choral singer, and overall wonderful person, died Friday, March 29th after a nine month battle with pancreatic cancer.
He is survived by his wife and best friend of 42 years, Barbara Bauman Larkin; his beloved sons and daughters-in-law Timothy Dwight Abrahamson-Larkin and Adelpha Abrahamson-Larkin of CA, Daniel Edward John Larkin and Molly Thomas Larkin of PA; his wonderful grandchildren Noah Daniel Abrahamson-Larkin, Eli Jack Abrahamson-Larkin, Owen Isaac Abrahamson-Larkin, Graham Kenneth Jack Larkin, and Annabel Eileen Larkin; two brothers, Michael Larkin of Middletown, CT, and William Larkin of Chicago, IL; his sister in-law and brother-in-law Patricia and John Sparks; his mother-in-law Rita Bauman Smith; eight nieces and nephews and nine great nieces and nephews, his dog Abbie and cats Lily and Dickens.
Jack was born in Chicago Illinois on June 26, 1943 to his parents, Irene and Jack Larkin. He graduated as valedictorian of Mount Carmel High School in 1961, received his AB from Harvard College in 1965 and his MA in American Studies from Brandeis University. He was a VISTA worker in the Missouri Ozarks, where he enrolled many people during the initial implementation of Medicare; He was also a Head Start Teacher in Brockton, Ma. In 1971 he began working at Old Sturbridge Village, Sturbridge, Massachusetts, first as Assistant Director of Museum Education, and continued for 38 years in many roles -- Acting Director of Museum Education, Researcher, Director of Research, Director of Research, Collections and Library, Chief Historian, and Museum Scholar. He retired in 2009 as Chief Historian and Museum Scholar Emeritus. He was also Affiliate Professor of History at Clark University from 2004 to the present. He was a Fellow at the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Ma. from 2011-2012. From 1971 to his death, he was active in the education of middle and high school history teachers. From 2009-2013 he was principal faculty member for "Teaching American History" projects for the Polk county Schools in Lakeland, Florida and the Worcester Public Schools in collaboration with the American Antiquarian Society. He received numerous awards, including the Kidger Award for Outstanding Scholarship from the New England History Teachers Association in 1999, the President's Award from Old Sturbridge Village in 1996. His book, The Reshaping of Everyday Life, 1790-1840, was a distinguished finalist for the P.E.N/Martha Albrand Award for nonfiction in 1988. His publications are extensive and include the following books: The Reshaping of Everyday Life 1790-1840; Where We Lived, Discovering the Places we Once Called Home; Where we Worked: a Celebration of America's Workers and the Nation they Built; and with Caroline Sloat, A Place in My Chronicle: A New edition of the Diary of Christopher Columbus Baldwin, 1829-1835.
Jack was a member of the Second Congregation Church in Palmer, Ma where he was a member of the choir. He was a past member of the United Church of Ware, where he was a choir member, chair of the Board of Trustees, a Deacon, and member of the Finance and Stewardship Committees. He was also a past member of the former Federated Church of Warren, where we was a Sunday School Teacher, Choir member, and served on many committees and projects. He was an active part of the Warren Community Theater, and held the role of Max in the "Sound of Music." He was a member of the Warren Library Board and the Warren Thief Detecting Society. He was a Pee-wee League baseball coach for several years, coaching the famous "Yellow Team" to do their best and to play together harmoniously.
Calling Hours will be Friday April 5, 2013 at Beers and Story Palmer Funeral Home, 1475 North Main Street, Rte. 20, Palmer MA from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, April 6 at the Second Congregational Church, 1070 Pleasant St., Palmer, MA at 2:00 p.m.
Memorial Contributions in his name can be made to the following : The UMass Memorial Foundation/UMass Pancreas Program 333 South Street Shrewsbury Ma. 01545; CUREOM/Melanoma Research Foundation PO Box 759329 Baltimore, Md. 21275; The Music Collection of the Second Congregational Church, 1080 Pleasant Street, Palmer, Ma. 01069.
Read Jack Larkin's Obituary and Guestbook on beersandstory.com.