Larry Nolan spent most of his childhood in the foster care system, without an example of what it really meant to be a dad. But as an adult, his kids were the centre of his life.

After he separated from their mom, Larry spent time with his kids, Kim and Chris, on weekends, holidays and over summer breaks. He refused to let bad weather get in the way of their days at Wasaga Beach, piling Kim and Chris in the car so the trio could play in the water under grey skies.

Larry coached baseball and loved the Blue Jays. He taught his son to field and hit like legendary Jays shortstop Tony Fernández. Chris spent hours following his father around ballparks as a boy.

Died on April 5, 2020
Mount Forest, ON

Age 74

After a game one day, Larry took the kids over to a friend’s place to swim in her pool. The friend warned the kids about peeing in the pool, saying she would know if they did because of a colour-changing chemical. Chris remembers Larry calling out from the water, “It’s not working!”

“He was a big kid at heart,” Kim says.

Larry also adopted seven dogs throughout his life: all older, and all ugly, Chris says. He had a soft spot for the ones no one else wanted.

His wife, Pat, remembers Larry calling her from the pound asking about a mid-sized dog that “looked as if he’d given up.” After agreeing to adopt the sorry-looking fella, Pat came home to find a 140-lb. bloodhound and Great Dane mix in her living room.

“If this was mid-size, I’d hate to see if he told me large,” says Pat with a laugh.

This story was first published in MacLean’s as part of a collaborative project with Canadian journalism schools to document the lives of people who have died from COVID-19. To learn more about the project and to read the other obituaries, click here.