Founding Board Member Passes Away

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - 8:03am

It is with great sadness that we share the news of Larry Speicher passing away this past week.   Larry had been one of our founding members and his energy and passion inspired many to make a difference locally.  This past February Larry had been featured in our newsletter.  Please read his interview and remember Larry when you visit the Muddy Branch this spring.

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Meet Muddy Branch Alliance volunteer extraordinaire, Larry Speicher

We want to bring to your attention to one of the first Muddy Branch Alliance (MBA) founder's, Larry Speicher.  Larry is known for leading cleanups at the tributary next to Prince of Lutheran's church with the Muddy Branch. That stretch of waterway is now informally referred to as "Speicher's Run", in his honor. Larry has also been instrumental in starting up and building a community garden at his church.

We asked Larry a few questions to get to know what has motivated him to take time to do cleanups and active in the Muddy Branch Alliance. (Currently, Larry has been away from his usual cleanups due to chemotherapy treatments for pancreatic cancer.  We wish Larry all the best during his chemo and wish to see him soon back out in nature.)

When did you become interested in the environment and in the Muddy Branch Alliance?

"Interest in the environment was a birthright for me, being raised in a rural community atop the Allegheny Mountains near Johnstown, Pennsylvania.   Hunting, fishing, hiking, romping, mushroom and berry picking were daily activities. Living in Montgomery County, MD, all my adult life, I consider most of its communities "semi-rural" due to the parks and the preserved stream valleys.   Many of the activities of rural Pennsylvania are just as accessible here;  one of which was hiking a "trib" from Darnestown Road down steam to Muddy Branch Creek itself and discovering its grandeur right under our noses."  So as the group was launching the Muddy Branch Alliance it was an immediate draw.

How are you doing with regards to having pancreatic cancer? 

"I'm already a five-year survivor of pancreatic cancer plus another 1.5 years.   Although tumors did recur this summer, I'm shooting to be a ten-year survivor.  Pretty greedy, I know.  My current chemo-therapy sessions will continue indefinitely since they are reducing the tumor sizes.  Pray God screening tests for pancreatic will be developed.  The disease is symptomless."

What are your concerns with regards to the environment?

"My environmental concern for Muddy Branch is the spread of impervious surfaces which degrade the stream's banks and bottom and the water quality itself.  MBA's aim to reduce run-off is timely.  My hat's off to all the able-bodied MBA volunteers who have accomplished so much so soon to establish the organization's reputation, and who don't let abandoned refrigerators and cars scare them off. "