Mornings are the hardest for the Larcom family.
That’s when Ed Larcom might wake up the neighborhood after opening the door and accidently setting off the security alarm. That’s when he would take his son’s dogs for a walk. And that’s when he was busy at work in the family’s auto shop.
Larcom, who opened Larcom’s Garage in Port Tampa in 1963, died last month from injuries he sustained in a motorcycle accident. His family held a memorial service on March 24, which would have been his 86th birthday.
“It’s quiet without him,” said Kyle Larcom, Ed Larcom’s grandson.
Business is running as usual at the 50-year-old garage, which Larcom passed on to his sons years ago. But he no longer is behind the counter, sharing stories and greeting customers by the nicknames he gave them.
“He was extremely outgoing,” said Ricky Larcom, one of the three sons. “Somebody told me one time he could make a cup of coffee nervous.”
Larcom’s Garage is nestled on Trask Street, a tree-lined residential neighborhood just south of Interbay Boulevard. Ed started the business in his backyard in 1955, when the neighborhood was still part of Port Tampa City. After Tampa annexed the community, Larcom obtained licensing to make the repair business a full-time shop.
Until the day he died, Larcom came to work every day, his sons said. He would wake up at 6:30 a.m., work until 1 p.m., go back to his house across the street for a nap and come back for more later in the afternoon.
“He went non-stop,” Ricky Larcom said.
He estimated his father "retired" about three times. Al Larcom, another of Ed Larcom’s sons, guessed it was more like six times.
But he always came back the following Monday. Al Larcom joked that his dad just liked the retirement gifts.
Ed Larcom dropped out of school in the eighth grade to work in the local shipyards, Al Larcom said. He joined the Navy and fought in World War II, then came home and got his high school diploma.
He had five children, 11 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren. He had a computer and an iPad, but no television, Al Larcom said. If he got bored, he would read.
Kyle Larcom remembers how his “granddaddy,” as he called him, once won a free trip for two to a couples resort in Jamaica and took him along.
“He was different,” the grandson said.
And Ed Larcom loved riding his Harley, his sons said. When he crashed the motorcycle before his death, the doctors asked family members why they let him ride at his age.
“You didn’t see him,” Ricky Larcom told them. “He was 100 percent.”
More than 600 people signed the guest book at Larcom’s memorial service. Al Larcom said he has a stack of sympathy cards about six inches thick.
The garage’s customers, many of whom have been bringing their cars to Larcom’s for years, greet the brothers by name and immediately express their condolences.
One such customer, Herman Valdes, a longtime resident of the neighborhood, remembers Larcom as a friendly and adventurous man. Valdes always brings his cars to the Larcoms. They are honest businessmen, he said. Just like their father.
“He’ll be missed for sure,” Valdes said.