ONTARIO — Long-time Argus Observer reporter Larry Meyer, of Nyssa, died on Wednesday night. Meyer started at the Argus Observer on May 31, 1977, when it was still the Daily Argus Observer, having started his 44-year tenure under the leadership of Publisher Fran McLean and working under current Publisher Brad Bailey until he was hospitalized for several days before passing.
Meyer was not the retiring type, having rarely taken a vacation for a job in which he saw many publishers, editors, reporters and other staff at a long-standing community newspaper come and go. Meyer was so beloved by his community, that he was twice voted man of the year, once in 2008 for the Ontario Area Chamber of Commerce and once for the Nyssa Chamber of Commerce & Agriculture. The year for the latter award was not available by press time. His loss is so profound that a moment of silence was held for him on Friday during the grand opening of the Treasure Valley Reload Center, a multi-million dollar rail facility that he wrote nearly every story on since the money was allocated in 2017.
During his more than 4-decade tenure, Meyer covered everything from agriculture to politics to business affairs and community events. And no matter how many times he covered an annual event, he always would find a new and interesting angle from which to write about it.
“At the chamber we feel like it’s a big loss. Larry was one of those rock-solid people that we would see in the early morning meetings and again at late night meetings on the same day, and he always gave his most fair and accurate reporting,” said Ontario Area Chamber of Commerce CEO/President John Breidenbach, in a phone interview on Thursday.
Since his passing, comments have poured in from the community and can be read in today’s paper.
When his former colleague Pat Caldwell wrote about Meyer when he was celebrating his 30-year mark at the newspaper, he said he had bestowed him with the nickname, “The Oracle.” This is because Meyer has been known to have an uncanny ability to never forget a detail he learned along the way in his career.
“That’s huge in a newsroom like ours, where we are often a training ground for reporters who stay a year, maybe two, and then move on,” Caldwell wrote.
The same holds true today, and the present-day newsroom will absolutely struggle to fill this void.
Meyer began his career using a typewriter and finished up on an Apple computer, having gone through multiple industry changes in print production over the years.
He was born in 1953 in Klamath Falls and lived there and in Tule Lake, California, before his parents, Harlan and Edna Meyer, moved the family to the Ontario area, according to information from the 2009 chamber program. Meyer had three sisters, Janine Weeks, Christine Meyer and Cora Lee Taylor. He attended Cairo Elementary, and then Nyssa from the fourth grade on, graduating in 1971 from Nyssa High School.
He attended college at the Multnomah School of the Bible in Portland for a year, then transferred to Treasure Valley Community College.
He had one job before the Argus, working for Ron Severance before going to the Argus before it had a Sunday edition.
In the chamber program, Meyer stated that he was always interested in journalism, stating that his heroes while growing up were Walter Cronkite and Eric Sevareid.
Prior to working at the Argus, Meyer also once got to shake hands with Robert Kennedy when he visited Ontario, just weeks before his assassination. He said that meeting people and conducting interviews were the most enjoyable part of his career.
In trying to soften the blow on Thursday, Bailey reminded the Argus staff that Meyer was an institution at the Argus Observer, and a respected and beloved figure in the many communities we serve.