Connecticut politics

Former Press Secretary, TV Reporter Larrye deBear Dead at 92

I was saddened to hear about the passing of Larrye deBear, a former television news reporter and well known politico. A member of his family told me Larrye died on Saturday, April 1st at the age of 92.

deBear was a reporter for WTIC-TV, Channel 3, which later became WFSB. He left the station to serve as press secretary to Governor Ella Grasso and Governor William O’Neill. deBear went on to serve as a town councilor in Rocky Hill and became a realtor after that. He and his wife Carol, who died in 2020, were very involved in town politics and mentored many up and coming elected officials including the man who married their daughter.

“The State of Connecticut and my family have lost a very special person today. Larrye DeBear was not only an important figure in our State’s history, but he was also very special to my family as the father of 4, stepfather of 3 and grandfather to many. He served as a trusted advisor to me personally in my many years of public service. From being a pioneer as the first host of “Face the State” in 1965, to serving as Gov. Ella Grasso’s Press Secretary during the ’78 Blizzard and her passing, Larrye served our state government and the public with distinction, dignity and professionalism. In all his efforts, especially during the trying times of Governor Grasso’s passing and Gov. O’Neill’s taking over state government, Larrye held the highest principals of communicating to the public during trying times. We will all miss him greatly” said DMV Commissioner Tony Guerrera about his step father-in-law.

I had the pleasure of meeting Larrye a few times over the years even interviewing him and we would talk about Connecticut history. He told me tales of accompanying Governor Grasso on visits with Jimmy Carter, and helped her navigate the historic Blizzard of ’78, which endeared her to Connecticut citizens.

I spoke to Larrye after the death of Queen Elizabeth and he filled in some missing details about her visit to New Haven with Governor Grasso, including how the Secret Service apologized to the governor about a lapse in protocol which they thought offended her. I asked him if he wanted to be interviewed about it and he said “Dennis, I’m too old for TV.”

Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz, who wrote a book about Grasso, interviewed Larrye deBear for it and they became friends. “Larrye was a brilliant political sttategist and a dedicated public servant. He knew the legislature, the press and was in some ways responsible for her success and her re-election in 1978,” Bysiewicz told me.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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