Lawrence J. “Larry” Malley passed away on Thursday, September 13, 2018. He was seventy-eight years old.
Malley was born March 22, 1940 in Cortland, New York, and raised in Groton, where he attended public schools. His parents, Lawrence and Ruth, worked for Smith Corona, the town’s main industry. A talented student and athlete, Larry enrolled at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg after his high school graduation. He was a “walk-on” basketball player his freshman year, but soon academic work took more of his attention. He graduated in 1962 with a bachelor’s degree in History, but not before he met the love of his life, another Southern Mississippi student, Martha “Maggie” Baggett. They married in 1963, and soon two children followed, Seana and Jason. Malley also completed his master’s degree in European History at Southern Mississippi in 1967.
The family moved to Durham, North Carolina, where Larry began his fifty-year career in publishing, starting as a college sales representative, traveling to schools in the region. Soon he became the company’s history editor, and finally manager of their college division. The family moved to Evanston, Illinois to be near Rand McNally’s headquarters in the Chicago area.
After fifteen years, Malley returned to upstate New York when Cornell University Press offered him the job of editor-in-chief. Cornell was one of the premier University presses in the country, and there he began a new book series on “Sport and Society,” which encouraged a generation of scholars to do serious work in sport studies.
In coming years, Malley held several more jobs as editor-in-chief, director, or publisher—at the University of Illinois Press, Duke University Press, University of Arkansas Press—and with each move he brought new ideas. Illinois developed great strength in labor studies, and in the history of race; Arkansas, acquired titles in the Civil Rights Movement, Middle Eastern studies, and Food and Foodways. Malley retired as “Director Emeritus” from Arkansas at the end of 2013.
Malley was an unusually generous colleague and friend. Over the years, the number of loyal, award-winning authors continued to grow. He was an extraordinary editor, and countless authors counted Larry as indispensible at seeing their books into print. One author wrote in his acknowledgements, “Larry Malley has encouraged and nursed and nurtured…this project…. He is the perfect editor; more, he is the perfect friend.” Another wrote, “Larry’s enthusiasm and his instinct for a good book project were impossible to resist.” Yet another said of Malley, “He encouraged us to think about questions we would have never considered and steered us in a direction that not only broadened the scope of the book, but also made it more meaningful.”
And Malley was very, very funny. During academic conferences, at book exhibits, one could always find Larry by walking toward the infectious laughter. There he’d be with a crowd around him, as he regaled everyone with his own blend of wisdom and humor.
Larry is also remembered as a loving husband, father, and grandfather, with a quick wit, a ready laugh, and a wealth of unwavering support. He is survived by his wife Martha (Maggie) Malley (nee Baggett), his sister Susan Malley, his daughter Seana Wallace (nee Malley) and husband Rick Wallace, his son Jason Malley and wife Suzanne Blum Malley, and his grandchildren Erin Wallace, Moira Malley, Anna Wallace, Hunter Malley, and Julia Wallace.
The family will recieve friends 1:00-3:00 p.m. prior to the funeral service that is scheduled for Saturday, September 22, 2018, 3pm, at Zirbel Funeral Home, 115 Williams St, Groton, NY 13073. A dinner reception will follow at 4:30 pm at Benn Conger Inn, 206 W Cortland St, Groton, NY 13073. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Larry’s life.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Lewy Body Dementia Association at https://www.lbda.org/donate