NEW MADISON — Those who knew Larry Royer respected him and admired the way he was so concerned about his community and Darke County.
Royer, who died last Friday afternoon at his residence, was retired from Darke County Ditch as a maintenance supervisor and was a farmer. Among other things he was chairman of Tri-Village Rescue, a Butler Township trustee for 33 years and was a member of the Issue 2 Committee.
“We were probably like twins,” said Ed Huff, president of the Darke County Township Association (DCTA). “He cared about the people. If he didn’t like something, he would let you know it. He was on Issue 2 (Ohio Public Works Commission) when it started 30-some years ago for trustees, villages and cities. He had a heart attack years ago and just got out of the hospital and called me the day he left there. I usually talked to him everyday. He was on my committees with the county township and was very involved with the rescue squad and fire departments at New Madison.”
Royer, Huff said, attended the county township trustees’ Christmas banquet this past year, but did not lead in the traditional Pledge of Allegiance.
“He usually did that, but said he wasn’t feeling good, so I did it,” Huff said. “Larry was going to go to the winter conference at the end of January. He was on the executive committee for the DCTA, but called me that morning and said he wouldn’t be going. Larry was the one in charge of voting for directors for the Ohio Township Association. He was on the go all of the time.”
Royer called him “Rev. Huff,” Huff said.
“He was money-conscious and always tried to make things work. He was just a good trustee,” Huff went on. “I learned from Larry how to be a good trustee. He always took care of his community. He’s going to be missed.”
Tom Hans and Mark Loxley, also Butler Township trustees, enjoyed serving with Royer.
“He was almost like a brother to me,” Hans said. “He was a very close friend. Even though our politics were different, those ideas never really came into play. We were usually on the same page. Looking out for the people was his main concern. He was very passionate about that. He was always able to work things out. When we would have people come argue a point or disagree with us, we always backed each other up. It’s hard in today’s age to be on the same page, but he was always there to take care of the people.”
Hans is in his 25th year as a township trustee.
“Larry helped me get on the zoning board of appeals,” Hans recalled. “We had major zoning issues back then and Larry always helped us. Lloyd Rogers, who died a few years ago, was on just before Larry got on and all three of us fit well together. We had a major issue with a hog barn and a body shop and Larry diligently worked things out. He helped everybody reach an agreement. He was behind the scenes a lot of the time helping people come to mutual agreements. He was good at doing that.”
“Larry was a very good man,”remarked Loxley. “He was very civic-minded. I served with him for over 10 years. My wife and I and Tom Hans are thinking about writing something about him for the minutes at the next meeting. Larry loved car shows and flea markets. He had a couple of older cars and sometimes I would go to shows with him. He went all over to flea markets and enjoyed that.”
Loxley too said Royer was an opinionated person.
“You always knew where you stood with him,” Loxley said. “He raised a nice family…really good kids and wife Martha is a friend of my wife. She is a very good woman. This is a tragedy to the community. His nephew gave the eulogy at the funeral and it was very good.”
“It is so hard to put into words what Larry Royer meant to the Tri-Village Rescue Services as a trustee,” said Eric Burns, EMT-P chief of Tri-Village Rescue Services. “Larry was one of the original trustees who went door to door and petitioned the community to help start the Tri-Village Joint Ambulance District that would help fund the organization. Larry did not stop there. He was instrumental in the purchase of multiple ambulances and the new complex that we currently reside in. Larry sat on many committees involving emergency services in the county such as the 911 communications committee, Darke County EMA Board, and currently was serving on the Darke County Emergency Communications committee as a trustee representative to the county.”
Burns also recalled that Royer would come to the station on a daily basis.
“He got to know the staff on a personal level and he would know their spouse’s names and their children’s names and would often attend personal events of the employees with his wonderful wife, Martha,” Burns said. “Larry would often joke that he only came into the station to get free coffee and to make sure that the place was still here, but as the employees here at Tri-Village Rescue know it was more than that. He truly believed in our mission here at Tri-Village Rescue and the people who worked for Tri-Village Rescue.”
Burns concluded, “I personally feel I have lost a great friend as well as a wonderful boss who I could go to to for any reason, work or personal, and get an honest and straight forward answer even if it was not the answer I wanted to hear. He called it the way he saw it and was very straight forward. He will be greatly missed here at Tri-Village Rescue Services, not only as a trustee but as a great friend.”
“We were cousins when I was married to Lois,” said Delbert Braund. “Larry and I have been together about 30 years on rescue squad. Larry was chairman of the Ambulance District for about 26 years and I have been chairman of the rescue service since July 1996. We worked close together on that with the fire department. We go back a long way. Larry’s knowledge from the boards he served on in the county have been a real help to the squad. There couldn’t have been more of a devoted trustee than Larry. He was always for the good of the rescue and did more wheeling and dealing on working on purchasing of ambulances.”
Even when Braund was in the hospital, Royer was there for him.
“When I wanted to resign Larry said they didn’t want to lose my knowledge,” Braund recalled. “After I came home, from the hospital, I couldn’t drive and Larry would pick me up for the board meetings and brought me home. I think the people of Butler Township have lost a dedicated trustee after all these years. Other trustees have come and gone but Larry’s been there and fought for the people. Larry was a tremendous asset to the community.”
“Larry was an asset to the county and Butler Township,” echoed New Madison Fire Chief Scoob Cook. “He wanted the best on everything. He’ll be deeply missed in Butler County which we [the fire district] cover and the county committees he was on.”