Larry Thomas Hite passed from this life to his heavenly home on March 16, 2021 after a 4-year battle with mesothelioma, the “asbestos cancer.” He was 69 years old.
Larry was born September 26, 1951 in Louisville, KY, the third child of Charles E. Hite and Rita A. (Hengesbach) Hite. He attended St. Ann’s School and then De Sales High School for two years until his family moved to Columbus, IN. He graduated from Columbus High School in 1969 and studied one year at Purdue University. Having obtained a low lottery number in the Vietnam era military draft, he enlisted in the US Navy where he served six years, including duties on the aircraft carrier USS Lexington (CVT16) and the nuclear sub USS Jack (SSN 605). It was during this time that he was exposed to asbestos fibers, culminating in his diagnosis of mesothelioma 40 years later.
After his military service, Larry studied musical theater at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond but transferred back to Purdue after one year, earning a B.S. of Computer Science in 1979. He was hired by the DuPont Company in Wilmington, DE as a Programmer/Analyst and rapidly advanced to Sr. Systems Analyst in the Textile Fibers Department. In 1980, he married Deborah Kneisley with whom he had performed in community theater in Lafayette, IN, and the couple became an indomitable team. In Larry’s 13-year career at DuPont, they had eight different addresses, including two assignments abroad in Geneva, Switzerland and Neu Isenburg, Germany.
Upon returning to the US from Germany in 1991, Larry and Debbie activated plans to build a lakeside home in Maine on land they had previously purchased on Androscoggin Lake. In 1992 they moved to Leeds, Maine where the couple were blessed after four miscarriages with two sons, Tom and Mark. The entire family were active parishioners at St. Philip’s Church in Auburn, Maine where Larry and Debbie led Children’s Liturgy of the Word for 18 years. Over the course of 26 years, Larry’s computer skills found several outlets: State of Maine (Depts of Accounts & Controls, DHHS and Education); Bath Iron Works; Price Waterhouse Coopers; and SAPPI Fine Paper in South Portland.
In 2015, the Hites turned their attention to retirement and chose Sun City Hilton Head in Bluffton, SC as their next destination. The diagnosis of mesothelioma in January 2017, however, resulted in more time spent in hospitals than on the golf course.
Larry Hite was a gifted IT professional, a beloved mentor to many young people entering the field; a kind and loyal friend; a faith-filled Catholic; a supportive husband and generous father; a master trip/event planner; a quasi-talented but enthusiastic showman; and a funny guy with a competitive edge when it came to cards, cribbage, and any sport or game.
Larry is survived by his wife of 40 years, Deborah (Kneisley) Hite; sons Thomas Hite of Los Angeles, CA and Mark (Kali Gadomski) Hite with granddaughter Mary of Dover, NH; siblings Charles E. (Jeanette Castle) Hite, Jr of Wilmington, NC; Michael (Linda Dahn) Hite of Corpus Christi, TX; John (Connie Kaisher) Hite of Reunion, FL; Anne (Dave) Riddle of Noblesville, IN; and Jane (Aziz) Syed of Hingham, MA; and eleven nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the non-profit Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation via Larry Hite’s Tribute Page at https://curemeso.salsalabs.org/tributepages/p/larryhite or by mail to 1615 L Street NW, Suite 430, Washington, D.C. 20036.
Funeral Mass at St. Gregory the Great Church in Bluffton, SC on Thursday, March 25, at 10:30 a.m., live-streamed by the Parish, followed by military honors and burial at 1:00 p.m. at Beaufort National Cemetery, live-streamed by Saul's Funeral Home, Bluffton, SC.