Lawrence (Larry) Ronald Hepburn, of Athens, Georgia, died peacefully on November 23, 2022, at St. Mary’s Hospice House, following a brief but challenging illness. Born on September 26, 1940, in The Bronx, NY, he was the son of Marjorie Jackson and Lawrence Loftus Hepburn.
To all who knew him, Larry was a true Renaissance man. He was curious about anything and interested in everything. He was comfortable in any setting – plowing his vineyard, reading a music score, writing a textbook, or cooking a classic Italian meal. He knew the history of civilization and the baseball statistics of every New York team. In early life, his father dubbed him “The Brain” and it was still razor sharp until the very end.
The family moved from New York to New Jersey, and then settled in St. Petersburg, Florida. It was in St. Pete that Larry found his two true passions – classical music and cooking. In high school and junior college, he served as the assistant tympanist with the St. Petersburg Symphony while also working as a cook at the then-Liggett Drug restaurant. Beethoven and pasta remained his life-long companions.
He earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees from Florida State University, teaching high school social studies for three years in between degrees. In 1969, he and his wife, Mary, moved to Athens, to begin their professional careers. He joined the teacher education faculty at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia. In 1978, he joined the public service faculty at the University of Georgia, Carl Vinson Institute of Government (CVIOG). He and his colleagues wrote the definitive texts for Georgia history classes, along with many other research and historical publications on Georgia government, politics, and culture. On one memorable project, he explored nearly all of Georgia’s 159 counties. For a number of years, he directed the Biennial Institute for Georgia Legislators.
In 2000, he retired from UGA. In retirement, he enjoyed music, reading, and traveling. He was an enthusiastic supporter of the UGA music education and performance programs, along with initiatives to promote social justice and further democracy.
Larry was predeceased by his parents and, by his best friend, professional colleague, and wife of 53 years, Mary Hepburn, who passed away just a few months before him. He is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Valerie Hepburn and David Hayes, along with his grand dog, Sydney, and a host of dear friends and colleagues from his years at Agnes Scott, UGA, and his residences in Bogart and Athens. The family expresses profound gratitude to Larry’s friends and the professional team at St. Mary’s Highland Hills Village as well as the staff at Piedmont Athens and St. May’s Hospice House. A private memorial service will be held at a later date. Memorial gifts may be made to the UGA Hugh Hodgson School of Music or another charity of your choice.
Lord and Stephens Funeral Home, WEST, Watkinsville, GA is in charge of arrangements. www.lordandstephens.com