Remembering Albert Larrabee, one of our own

By Daniel Dunkle | Dec 07, 2017
Photo by: David Grima Albert Larrabee of Rockland heads out to deliver The Courier-Gazette in October 1996. He died Nov. 26, 2017, at the age of 65.

Rockland — Years ago, driving home from work in a blinding snowstorm, ad salesman David Libby spotted Albert Larrabee out on the street, on foot, delivering copies of The Courier-Gazette.

No matter how bad the weather got, and despite the fact that he didn't have a vehicle, Larrabee was determined to get people their papers. He was always very proud to work for The Courier-Gazette, where he served as janitor, carrier and press room helper.

He was always upbeat and smiling at the Courier office and treated all of the reporters, editors and ad salespeople like they were doing the most important work in town. In recent years, he had been retired and living at Stella Maris in Rockland, and that same smile of his greeted any Courier employees he ran into around town.

Albert T. Larrabee was 65 when he died in Rockland Nov. 26. His COPD caught up with him, according to his daughter Latasha Larrabee of Rockland.

He had two daughters, Latasha and Sheri Good of Florida. He also is survived by his 7-year-old granddaughter, Abigail Good, who was his pride and joy.

He is remembered by many friends among the current and former employees of The Courier-Gazette.

Former Courier salesman Glenn Billington recalls the days when the name of the next Sea Goddess at the Maine Lobster Festival was given to the Courier news department early so the story could be printed in the paper the night of the coronation. Great secrecy surrounded this process.

"...All papers were held until the Goddess was announced around 8:30 p.m." he said. "Upon the crowning of the Goddess, a few feet from the back door to the pressroom, Albert would emerge with his Courier bag over his shoulder, proudly hawking papers to festival-goers and locals alike."

"We would say Albert bled Courier green," Billington continued.

He was also remembered by former Advertising Director Ron Belyea.

"I have a lot of fond memories of my conversations with him. I once asked him about his nickname 'Bimbo.' I always thought it was derogatory; as humans we always look for the worst in everything. Albert teared up and told me his mother used to sing him a song by Jim Reeves. He loved his nickname. Here is a verse:

'Bimbo is a little boy

Who's got a million friends

And every time he passes by

They all invite him in...'

"This pretty much sums up Albert 'Bimbo' Larabee. He loved his family and friends. He spoke glowingly about his children to me. Albert was also a teller of tales that made me laugh.

"We worked together during the summers at Holmes Sardine Packing Plant. Albert's mother, Dot, gave me my first promotion in life; I went from a packer to a picker-upper of sardines. I always told Albert his mother gave me my start in business."

Larrabee was also a fan of the Boston Red Sox. In 1990, he made a pact with Sports Editor Ken Waltz that they would both shave their heads if ever the Red Sox won the World Series. Waltz would lament later that he never expected the famously cursed team to win or that Larrabee would remember, but remember he did. In October 2004, he gave Waltz a call reminding him of the promise. The two visited Jones Barbershop in Camden, where they had all the hair taken off their heads.

The late Jim Smith, who ran the printing operations for The Courier-Gazette, actually took Larrabee to a Red Sox game at one point. Larrabee was delighted and spoke often about that trip.

He also appreciated the time the Courier team threw a baby shower for him when one of his daughters was on the way, former coworker Kerry Sturks recalled.

She added that he would take care of fellow employees, making sure their cars were shoveled out and cleaned off in snowstorms so they could get home safely.

Former Sports Editor Joe Cyr remembers that Larrabee used to also love high school basketball. He would stop by the newsroom in the mornings with coffee and talk sports and even offer news tips.

"His smile was certainly contagious, and he always brightened the newsroom," Cyr said.

In addition to working at the Courier, he used to shovel sidewalks on Main Street in the winter and he worked in the fish factories. The former Goodnow's Pharmacy was a favorite stop of his for coffee and conversation.

"Albert would tell me about luring seagulls by the plant and jumping out of hiding, grabbing them with his bare hands before they could fly away," Belyea said. "I always told him he was telling me stories; if it was the truth the seagulls would have flown off with him. Albert was a slight man with a huge heart. He is now flying with the seagulls once again."

Daniel Dunkle can be reached at ddunkle@villagesoup.com or 594-4401 ext. 122. Follow him on Twitter @DanDunkle.

Comments (8)
Posted by: Brian Harden | Dec 08, 2017 08:03

Albert always weighed in on local politics and he often made good points. When I served on City Council, he enjoyed questioning what we were doing - he even ran for Council once. Looking back on it, I would have preferred serving with Albert than some of the others. Kind to all and wiser than many thought. Farewell Bimbo!



Posted by: Doug Curtis Jr. | Dec 07, 2017 22:48

I knew Albert from the time we were small boys serving as Acolytes at St. Peter's Church where he was a member.  For those of us who knew him you could not help but like him as he always had a story.  Ron Gamage had it right with the sirens we use to hear from his tricycle on South Main Street where cars would start to pull over as Bimbo would deliver a sound that could have been any ambulance.  He worked his ass off.  A great sense of humor and he knew everyone and would always speak to you.  I had not seen him in many years, but he clearly was one of Rockland's finest young men.  RIP Bimbo



Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Dec 07, 2017 11:36

Nice job recognizing Albert's life. I am sorry to learn of his passing.



Posted by: jen chapman | Dec 07, 2017 11:07

I also worked with Albert at the Courier and was sad to hear of his passing. His genuine, caring personality is unmatched. Great article, Dan.



Posted by: kay cochran | Dec 07, 2017 10:23

Great article, wish I had known him, not too many like him around.

 



Posted by: Donald Mills | Dec 07, 2017 10:00

I applaud you for this article. The faithful numbers in our lives, like Albert, go unheralded; but without them the world would be much smaller and less friendly.

My "paperboy" is actually a man in his late 50's who also holds down two other jobs. However, every day between 5:00 and 5:30 AM I hear the morning paper drop to the floor from the mail slot in the door. There have been winter days when news updates proclaim that schools are cancelled, and bus runs not running. Guess who still delivers at that ungodly hour?

I say, God bless them all. They are to be treasured.

Merry Christmas to all.

Don Mills



Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Dec 07, 2017 09:51

Congratulations on a fine article on a true gentleman.  Am sure Bimbo and Jim Smith are reading it with a smile.

 



Posted by: PETER LAMMERT | Dec 07, 2017 08:38

Thanks for your background on Albert. Wish people with his work ethic were still around.

Regards, Pete Lammert, Thomaston



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