Tuesday 10/14/2014 by bertoletdown


With a great burden weighing on our hearts, we would like to share that our community lost two beautiful people when Larry and Denise Bressler were slain in their Pasadena, CA, home yesterday. While the circumstances are gruesome and not entirely known, we do know that Larry and Denise had taken in a family member who had fallen on hard times and was trying to right his course. This kind of generosity and kindness surprised no one who knew them, but it cost them an unthinkable price.

Larry was a chef and a teacher. As the General Manager of Chefs Center in Pasadena, he helped young chefs and restaurateurs reach their dreams. While many of us struggle to find even one true passion, let alone turn that passion into a life's work, Larry had fully developed two of them in his 50 years: food and music. He mused often about the similarities between the harmonies of flavor and the harmonies of sound. His talent and his boundless enthusiasm earned him the honor of cooking for many professional musicians, and that was his favorite thing to do in the whole wide world. If you've played at High Sierra Music Festival, chances are you've savored Larry's cooking backstage – quite possibly with Larry sitting beside you, asking about you, your bandmates, and where your tour would take you next.

Larry's commitment to personal growth was an inspiration to so many. He was a fixture at the Wharf Rats table, the Phellowship, and more, and coached countless people to sobriety over the years. After losing 180 pounds in his own heroic battle with food addiction, he had a brand new life stretched out before him full of health, possibilities, friends, music – and, of course, his beloved Denise (who had a pure singing voice whose power seemed almost impossible, coming as it did from a woman of her modest stature).

I was lucky enough to be Chef Larry's humble student, if informally, in both cooking and in life. He cooked beside me Saturday afternoon, pulling my ass out of the proverbial fire more than once, and refusing to leave until the job was done even though I'd made him and Denise terribly late for Tom Petty. After the show, they came back and had a plate. He wanted to talk about Phish and the upcoming shows here. We had no idea we were saying goodbye.

Though their Facebook walls are technicolor outpourings of love and despair from coast to coast and beyond, it is impossible to express how deeply this cuts, and for so many. This loss and this inexplicable absence will be profoundly felt and displayed out there this Fall, but there is nothing Larry and Denise would want more than for their friends to dance the pain away. Please do not underestimate the value of an understanding hand on a shoulder, or a held glance, or a smile over these next few weeks. We sure could use it about now.

Farewell, good friends. We love you, always.

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, comment by justnoah
justnoah Thanks for sharing Chris. I crossed paths with Larry at High Sierra and through the wonderful SoCal scene a few times over the past decade. I will dance that much harder at the upcoming shows for Larry and Denise. I know thats what they would have wanted.
, comment by GmG720
GmG720 This is terrible.RIP Larry and Denise.
, comment by concertconfessions
concertconfessions I heard about this on the local news last night. I had no clue that these two were Phish fans. Never had a chance to meet these two, but the loss is very tragic. RIP Denise and Larry.
, comment by phunguy2001
phunguy2001 Huge loss for our world...
, comment by gratephul_67
gratephul_67 ((Vibes))
, comment by phishatmsg
phishatmsg Nice write Chris
Vibes to all
, comment by gtrips
gtrips Friggin horrible. RIP both of you -
, comment by curleyfrei
curleyfrei Didn't know them, but... wow. Unbelievable.

Beautiful write-up, Chris. Thank you.

RIP, Larry & Denise. Your love clearly lives on in this realm.
, comment by phunky_cold_medina
phunky_cold_medina truly sorry for your loss. RIP kind souls
, comment by TheEmperorJoker
TheEmperorJoker Oh my God. Two wonderful people that I had the pleasure to meet a fewyears ago. He gave me a gatorade when my friend was feeling feint at a show. My heart goes out to their family and lets just hope justice is served.
, comment by johnnyd
johnnyd What a horrible tragedy. Deep condolences to all whom knew them, and all whom they've positively affected. What a loss to our community.
, comment by sandy
sandy So sad. Larry was a an amazingly kind human being. He will be missed.
, comment by julesmac
julesmac so sad...rest in peace...

, comment by Xpanding_Man
Xpanding_Man Sometimes life does not make any sense and now is one of those times.
, comment by ucpete
ucpete Such a sad, horrific story. A good friend of mine (also a chef) worked with Larry at High Sierra this past summer, and Larry's cousin (the alleged murderer) was there working too. Larry had given him a job, a place to stay, and a support system to help him through a tough time in his life. I had only heard great things about Larry and his wife, and how special they were to so many people. My heartfelt condolences to all who knew him and Denise.
, comment by treecording
treecording Can't believe it, Larry & Denise are so nice hard to imagine someone would have so much anger against them. The local LA scene wont be the same nor will HSMF. May they rest in peace!
, comment by stimbuck
stimbuck Terrible loss
, comment by relax_
relax_ Wow, how awful. My condolences to family and friends...
, comment by CarriePhisher
CarriePhisher @bertoletdown, what a beautifully written tribute.

My heartfelt condolences and love to those feeling pain from their loss.
, comment by phishingabout
phishingabout I'm so sorry. These two were a fixture in the SoCal scene. I never knew Larry but it always seemed like he owned the venue. Peace to his loved ones.
, comment by peoplewhofly
peoplewhofly RIP. These were good people. Many of my friends throughout country the were good friends with them, and apparently the gave off very good vibes to one and all. This is sad indeed.
, comment by Guelahpapyrus84
Guelahpapyrus84 Truly sorry to hear about this.It's very unfortunate that two honest and loving souls lives were cut short when I know that there was so much more to see and give.You'll be in my thoughts and prayers.Rest in peace Phriends.
, comment by cuddlyandmuscular
cuddlyandmuscular Wonderful people and terrible loss

Fond memories of crawfish boil at hsmf

, comment by Just_Ivy
Just_Ivy Thank you for sharing this moving tribute, @bertoletdown. I wish all who knew them blessings and peace. May they rest in peace and forever have the best seats in the house.
, comment by Choda
Choda Just awful news.
FACTSAREUSELESS Thanks for writing and posting. Horrible circumstance but at least now we know and can keep their family in prayer.
, comment by katmama
katmama wow. unspeakably horrible. sending warm comforting vibes to friends and family of these truly wonderful people. may they rest in peace.
, comment by LilypatchTiger
LilypatchTiger Lighting a candle for them. May their souls be at peace. And may the person who did this find their way back to the light.
, comment by nicu2
nicu2 Horrible.....just horrible!
, comment by philanthropist
philanthropist Horrible. Just saw him at Dick's..tragedy..but the guy truly loved the life he was living.
, comment by bertoletdown
bertoletdown @philanthropist said:
Horrible. Just saw him at Dick's..tragedy..but the guy truly loved the life he was living.
You only had to see him once to know that. You are so right.
, comment by forbin1
forbin1 My sincerest condolences to all their friends and family....
, comment by NiccuIus
NiccuIus Saddened by this news. The circumstances are awful. Peace and love to everyone.
, comment by Dressed_In_Gray
Dressed_In_Gray Good Lord, what terrible news.

Condolences to family and friends.
, comment by ATruePrince
ATruePrince Just heard through local station, KTLA Channel 5 that his cousin who they helped, have been charged of special circumstance murder and has been arrested and is in jail.
, comment by kingralph
kingralph So sad to hear. Thoughts and prayers go out to those affected and with the families. Just goes to show no one is safe nowadays ;) Tragic news. Why do bad things have to happen to good people is a question I ask myself far too often.
, comment by melt_the_tek9
melt_the_tek9 ;)
, comment by pikepredator
pikepredator remember, special people like Larry and Denise don't want you to sadly mourn them . . . they want you to carry their spirit with you on fall tour. so share your food and water and most importantly your love with all the people you meet, and these two beautiful souls will be honored.
, comment by bertoletdown
bertoletdown Great advice. Also, I expect a fair amount of SoCal fans will be wearing purple out there as an outward collective expression of remembrance and grief.
, comment by Th3Gh05t
Th3Gh05t Condolences to everyone who knew them. They say you should be the change you want to see in others. Perhaps we should all strive to be more like these two.

Love and peace,

- J
, comment by grupp92
grupp92 Great Phriends and Festival 8 companions. Still reeling. And yet - next time you feel a little cranky or aggressive, carry their spirit of giving - pay it forward - be kind - be flexible - be generous. Miss you Chef and Denise!
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