ITHACA, NY – Larry Chap, who died from injuries sustained in an early-morning May 30 car accident, is remembered by those close to him as a friendly, vibrant person with a silly streak that could make anyone smile. He was 29.
“It doesn’t matter who you are, he would strike up a conversation with you, laugh and joke around about everything. He always made people feel welcome,” said Chap’s sister, Vannak Path. “He was a great guy and very gentle, like a gentle bear, Lar-bear we used to call him.”
Chap was the son of a first-generation Cambodian immigrant. He grew up alongside his brother and two sisters as part of the small but close-knit Cambodian community in Ithaca. His sister says he was well-loved by the community, due to his warm and outgoing personality.
Chap left the Ithaca area around 2001 for Portland, Maine, but returned a few years later and settled in to the community.
He worked at Mia on The Commons, where he met his girlfriend of nearly two years, Rachel Auble.
Auble recalls how Chap would joke around with her during work: “He would duck down and hide behind the ice machine, so when I would go to break up the ice with the ice scoop, out of nowhere I’d hear, ‘Stab! Stab! Stab! Scoop!”
“In a nutshell, that’s how Larry was. He’d do anything to make anybody laugh. He was extremely considerate, caring and wore his heart on his sleeve. The people that he loved he would do anything for,” Auble says. “He was love, he gave love and he loved hard and he was always there for everybody.”
“He was always the life of the party… He didn’t even really have to do anything, he was just always that person who brought a smile to people’s faces,” said Lovisa Johanson, a family friend. “He was charming and engaging, when you talked to him you felt like the only person in the room. He made everyone feel special.”
Chap is survived by his girlfriend Rachel Auble, his two sisters Vanna Path and Vannak Path and his brother Kosal Path, as well as nine nieces and nephews.
The funeral will be held at Perkins Funeral home at 55 West Main Street in Dryden at 8.30 a.m. on Saturday, June 4. The family advises people to arrive early and try to carpool as parking is scarce.
It will be a traditional Cambodian ceremony led with prayer by a Buddhist Monk who has been brought in from Rochester.
Following the funeral, there will be a celebration of life at Vannak’s home at 711 Hancock Street. Guests are welcome to arrive at noon for quiet meditation while the monk blesses the house. Starting at 1 p.m., there will be an open forum to share stories and memories of Larry.
As part of the Buddhist funeral tradition, the monk will return for additional rites on the 100-day and one-year anniversaries of Chap’s death.