Cover photo for Larry Kenneth Harrington's Obituary
Larry Kenneth Harrington Profile Photo

Larry Kenneth Harrington

January 24, 1940 — March 24, 2023


Larry Kenneth Harrington


Larry Kenneth Harrington died peacefully on March 24th, 2023 at age 83. Larry is preceded in death by his parents, Gertrude Burnett and James Lewis Harrington; and by brothers James Lewis Harrington, Jr. and William Ray Harrington. Larry is survived by his wife of 58 years, Mary Hadley Roberts Harrington, and by his three children: Elizabeth Keeley Harrington of Houston, TX, John Kirtley Harrington (Chandler), and Robert Burnett Harrington, both of Nashville, TN. He was the loving “Poppy” to his five grandchildren: Katherine Bradford Harrington, John K. Harrington, Jr., Sara Hadley Harrington, Robert Reid Harrington, and Helen Gray Harrington. He is also survived by four siblings: Mary Marguerite Jackson Biggs, Joan Burnett Sullivan, Robert Wayne Harrington, and Jeanie Underhill.  

Larry was born in Owensboro, Kentucky on January 24th, 1940. As a boy working on his family’s farm in Birk City, he balanced a precocious work ethic and a prevailing sense of ambition with a warm, quick smile, a friendly wit, and an undeniable zest for building friendships. He valued candor, honesty, humor, and humility, which became the striking hallmarks of his personality. Importantly, as a young man, he identified education as a noble pursuit and a concrete means for improving life for one’s self and others. Above all, he was a proponent of action and accomplishment over idleness.

He was proud of his upbringing and especially his childhood achievements that reflected his grit and sense of purpose. He would remind his children that despite missing 39 days of his 7th grade schoolyear in order to strip tobacco on his family’s farm, he still managed to bring home a straight-A report card. At age thirteen, he won an essay contest held by the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer to become the batboy for the 1953 Owensboro Oilers, a minor league baseball team affiliated with the New York Yankees. He delighted in winning this thrilling job and in fulfilling his important duties -- and enthusiastically bicycled twelve miles from and back to Birk City for each game.

Upon graduating from Daviess County High School in 1958, Larry spent the following year working as an oil field drilling hand to earn and save money for college tuition – a grueling job that reinforced his plan to invest in his education. He subsequently graduated from Kentucky Wesleyan College in 1962, partly financing his education by working at the WVJS radio station.

On his 21st birthday during his junior year in college, Larry had his first date with Hadley Roberts,  who would become his wife and the obvious love of his life. They were wed in 1964 and have enjoyed a marriage rich with a vibrant family and a broad network of friends who cherished their hospitality, joy for life, and genuine care and compassion. Of his many admirable accomplishments, Larry was most proud of marrying Hadley, and he would readily proclaim that her nurturing compassion broadened and strengthened their many friendships.

In a move that Larry credited with changing the trajectory of his life, in the fall of 1962 he enrolled at Vanderbilt University Law School where permanent, favorable impressions were made upon him by demanding professors and bright classmates. Upon earning his Juris Doctor from Vanderbilt in 1965, he started his law career in Washington, D.C., while also attending George Washington University where he earned a Master of Laws (LLM) in 1967.

Larry returned to Owensboro in 1967 and entered into private law practice, ultimately founding and working at the firm of Harrington & Fowler. He was a trusted and capable advocate to individuals, families, businesses, physician groups, and hospitals throughout his career. He also served as the City Attorney for Owensboro in the late 1970’s and in 2015 was recognized by the Kentucky Bar Association for fifty years of membership.

A love of music permeated Larry’s life, and he was especially attracted to the melodies and vocal harmonies of gospel and bluegrass music. He enjoyed playing and singing with groups of friends, and his love of bluegrass culminated in his involvement in the founding of The International Bluegrass Music Association, for which he served as legal counsel. Larry creatively weaved together his love of music with his passion for gatherings with friends, leading to frequent group treks to bluegrass festivals, and even hosting his own annual “bluegrass festival” at home on his meticulously manicured lawn for nearly a decade. 

Larry and Hadley enjoyed traveling, especially to exotic and unfamiliar locales. The extensive miles they logged over many trips with their cherished friend group, including adventures to Alaska, the Virgin Islands, Mexico, Costa Rica, and the Rocky Mountains, were among his favorite memories. Larry’s zeal for exploration increased considerably after his retirement, and during that time he and Hadley stamped their passports in China, Peru, Russia, Vietnam, Thailand, Italy, and Turkey.

Larry’s family is profoundly grateful for his skilled care team at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Dr. Ramez Salamah of Owensboro, and for the loving hospice care provided by The Heartford House. The family especially appreciates the outpouring of love and support from Larry’s rich network of friends during his courageous battle with cancer.

Family will receive friends for visitation at Glenn Funeral Home from 4:00pm to 6:00pm on Monday, March 27th, 2023. The funeral service will be private. A celebration of Larry’s life will be held in Owensboro at a date to be determined later.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to: The Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum (311 W. Second St., Owensboro, KY 42301); or to The Heartford House (c/of Hospice of Western Kentucky, 3419 Wathen’s Crossing, Owensboro, KY 42301.)

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Past Services


Monday, March 27, 2023

4:00 - 6:00 pm (Central time)

Glenn Funeral Home and Crematory

900 Old Hartford Road, Owensboro, KY 42303

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