Friends of Ray Larson reflect on life of former commonwealth's attorney

Posted at 5:14 PM, Aug 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-03 08:42:51-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Longtime friends of former Fayette County Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Larson are reflecting on his life and cherished memories.

Prominent radio host Jack Pattie recalled more than 30 years ago when Larson asked to join him for a show on the radio about crime.

"He said, 'You know, I could get you some really great prosecuting attorneys from all over the country because I know them all,' and I said 'Great. So why don't you line those up for me?' And he said, 'No, no, no, they won't talk to you. They'll talk to me.' So he said, 'I want to be a part of the show,'" explained Pattie.

They hit a snag in their first show and Pattie told Larson he didn't think it would work out.

"I looked at him in the coffee room. And I said, 'Ray, the studio is not big enough for both of us,'" said Pattie.

But they stuck it out, made it work and continued the show for 15 years. Larson continued to appear occasionally as a guest on Pattie's show even in 2021, and they developed a long friendship.

"I think everybody in this community thought that Ray Larson was a hard nose district attorney, which he was. He didn't take any gaff. But the Ray Larson I knew was just hilarious. And there was a there's a part of him that I wish everybody could have known," said Pattie. "He has grandchildren that I would go see every year and the first time I went I said would you like to sit on Santa's lap and I got to picture of Ray sitting on my lap, grinning from ear to ear."

Pattie isn't the only friend Larson found in an unexpecting place. As the commonwealth's attorney, Larson prosecuted crimes against many victims. One victim's dad became one of his best friends.

Don Turpin's son Michael was murdered in 1986. It was a high-profile case, orchestrated by Michael's then-wife Elizabeth, and carried out by two of her coworkers.

"He came to all of our parole hearings, all of our appeals. I'd go to his office regularly and just sit down and talk," said Turpin.

That evolved into regular conversations and even trips out of town to advocate for victims.

"He was just as close as any friend that I ever had," said Turpin.

Current Fayette County Commonwealth's Attorney Lou Anna Red Corn says that's exactly how many people will remember Larson- a victim advocate.

"I think that for a lot of people, the loss is very personal. Because it wasn't just, oh, you know this Commonwealth's attorney this prosecutor has died and he's had a tremendous impact on the community at large but just tremendous impact on a lot of people that at a time that they were really struggling, Ray was there for," said Red Corn.

He was a mentor and friend to her for years.

"I think it's fair to say that I don't I wouldn't be where I am today but for Ray," said Red Corn. "I mean I certainly put the hard work in, but you know Ray, provided the opportunity, first of all by hiring me by giving me responsibility in this office and by pushing me to take on greater responsibility, and, and then by, you know, retiring."

Larson held the position for nearly 32 years before retiring in 2016.

"I think that he had enough faith in me that I would continue with the good work that he had done. Maybe not in the same way he did, but fundamental things that he did to make this office great," said Red Corn.