Mr. Larry Easley
If you know Larry Easley, you know he is into family and teaching – though many would say you would need to add computers too. In the more than forty years he taught in the history department at Southeast Missouri State University, he was always considered an advocate for excellent teaching. In 1999 he was awarded the Southeast Alumni Merit award and given the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching by Governor Mel Carnahan. Easley always believed that history is a visual discipline and worked hard trying to develop multi-media materials for his classes even when that meant using slide projectors and tape recorders. Colleagues often kidded him about his passion but allowed him to set aside a classroom for his multi-media “toys.” When the new Carnahan building was dedicated and every classroom had a full range of technology, Easley was, in his words, “in hog heaven.” He spread the message of technology in teaching year after year in regional and national conferences and in publications.
Larry Easley used his love of family in his teaching. For many years in his American History II classes students were required to research their own family history and tell the story on a web page they created. It was, in the memory of many of those students, the most significant academic experience in their college career. Larry remembered with great fondness growing up in Grand Junction, Colorado surrounded by grandparents, aunts and uncles, and a myriad of cousins. He heard and remembered the stories told him by his dad, Bill, his grandmother, and great-grandfather. They made the past personal. He often related to classes how he baited his grandfather, a true-blue Democrat, about Herbert Hoover and the depression. Grandpa Weaver always rose to the bait.
In retirement, Easley continued teaching part time both in the classroom and online through the 2009-2010 academic year. One of his post-retirement goals was to digitize family photos creating an archive for the rest of the family and begin writing life histories of the family. By putting his efforts online he hopes to involve the family in their story. Easley noted, "After years of helping students tell their family stories, it is about time I tell my own." He also plans to take a personal role in the life stories of his own grand-children and great-grand children. "I want them to remember me as fondly as I remember my grand parents and great grand father.