On Friday, October 28, 2022, Larry D. Augustine of Meadowbrook Drive, Selinsgrove, passed away at Lewisburg Evangelical Hospital at the age of 82, capping off a wonderful life as an educational and community leader, a devoted proponent of the arts, and a tremendous friend and colleague to many people across the Greater Susquehanna Valley.
Larry was born in Meyersdale to Anna V. (Knepp) Meyers and reared by his grandparents Alverta and Arthur Knepp.
Larry was passionate about education and the arts. Early in his career, he studied communications and theatre arts at West Virginia University for his bachelor's and graduate degrees. He was hired at Susquehanna University in 1966 and provided 50 years of distinguished service, establishing signature academic programs, including communications and theatre. He chaired the Department of Communications and Theatre Arts until the two majors formed separate departments, then continued to chair the Department of Communications until his retirement in 2016. During his five-decade career as chair of the Department of Communications, he carved an impact evident in the expansion of the academic major from one to five degrees, including advertising & public relations, broadcasting, communication studies, journalism and digital content, and sports media. Indeed, he always had his eyes on the future, attending conferences to see movements in education and talking with professionals to understand their needs in graduates. His goal was to give students meaningful experiences to apply in the workplace. He established Susquehanna's campus radio station, WQSU, which began broadcasting in 1967. The on-air studio was dedicated as the Larry Augustine Studio at WQSU last January. The radio station is recognized as one of the top college radio stations in the country.
Larry's love of performance arts began with his college studies. He spent summers managing and directing plays in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and in West Virginia and later produced and directed the annual fall musical at Susquehanna for 35 years. He started a debate team his first year at Susquehanna and coached winning teams going against large university forensics programs. He exerted leadership as president and vice-president of state and national forensic associations and as executive director of the Pennsylvania High School Speech league for 23 years.
Larry's commitment to the education of students of all ages is seen in his 35 years of service on the Selinsgrove Area School District Board, where he acted as president, vice president, secretary, and board member. He believed all students deserve access to quality education while recognizing the challenges of limited resources for communities. He also was board member, vice president, and president of the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit for 10 years and executive board member of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association for two years.
His interest in local community issues is further evidenced in working on the Selinsgrove Borough Code Enforcement Authority and the Selinsgrove Borough Cable-Television Franchise Committee. He was a member and treasurer of Local Union 636 The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts, and worked as the movie projectionist at the Campus Theatre in Lewisburg.
Despite Larry's long and impactful career, he did not look upon himself as an educational and community leader as much as he considered himself a public servant who was grateful to be able to help others.
Larry is also especially well known for the beautiful, mesmerizing Christmas display he would have on his lawn at Christmas time on Meadowbrook Drive. Many children remember looking at the old and contemporary Christmas figures and seeing Christmas magic.
Larry appreciated the outdoors. He loved community fairs, especially the Bloomsburg Fair and would often attend multiple days in any given year. His vacations were spent in the Smoky Mountains, traveling through the states, and going to beaches, and especially Virginia Beach. Perhaps more than anything, Larry loved spending time with his family and in his expansive garden on the Isle of Que.
Larry was preceded in death by his mother Anna (Knepp) Meyers, his sisters Carol Ann Meyers and Shelva Jean Gardner, and his brother Carl James Meyers. He is survived by his close friend Bob Stahl, sisters Ruth Shumaker and Darla Delancy, and nine nieces and nephews including Annie Bittner and Joey Delancy, who were particularly special to Larry.
A viewing will be held on Thursday, November 3, from 6 to 8 p.m. at V. L. Seebold Funeral Home, 601 North High St., Selinsgrove. Another viewing will be held on Friday, November 4, from 12 noon to 2 p.m., followed by the service at Price Funeral Home at 325 Main St., Meyersdale. Burial will be at Mt. Carmel Cemetery.
The family is accepting flowers, but contributions in Larry's memory may also be made to Mt Carmel Church in care of Glenn Foster, 218 Olinger St., Meyersdale, PA 15552 or to WQSU in care of General Manager Dawn Benfer, 514 University Avenue, Selinsgrove, PA 17870.