Crest High remembers longtime public address announcer and athletic supporter
By Richard Walker
Larry McEntire’s devotion to Crest High athletics was so great that he spent the last days of his life helping maintain the school’s facilities.
He died at 80 on Monday just three days after he was cutting the grass at the Chargers’ Sid Bryson Stadium. The cause of death wasn’t released but it isn’t thought to be related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“He was working up until his last days,” Crest athletic director Jeff Melton said of Larry McEntire. “High school athletics need people like him. People that don’t think about themselves and don’t want attention but want to do the best they can for the schools they love. And he loved Crest.”
Born in Cleveland County on Sept. 30, 1940, Larry Franklin McEntire was the son of the late Clyde Hoey and Jessie Bryte Williams McEntire.
A member of Boiling Springs Baptist Church, Larry McEntire was a 1957 graduate of Columbia, S.C., High School where he was a two-time all-state end and a member of the 1957 Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas team; McEntire’s South Carolina Sandlappers beat North Carolina’s Tarheels 12-6 at Charlotte’s Memorial Stadium.
In 1961 and 1962, he was an end for back-to-back Western Carolinas Junior College Conference football championship teams for coach Norman Harris at Gardner-Webb.
A 1963 Gardner-Webb graduate, Larry McEntire also was an Army Ranger and a member of the 101st Airborne Division as a Ranger Advisor to the Company C 502 Airborne Battle Group.
He worked and retired at Porter Brothers, Textron Inc. and Dedmon Concrete working in sales for each company.
At Crest, he’s best remembered for being the voice of Crest Chargers’ football for 35 years, first doing the job in the 1970s. He later added girls softball to his announcing chores and spent 41 years cutting grass and tending to turf issues at Crest fields.
“For me personally, he allowed people like myself time to do other duties including being away from the job to spend time with our families,” said Melton, a 1995 Crest graduate who returned to the school as a coach in 2006 and has been athletic director since 2015. “I can never thank him enough for that. He was just a huge help to everything we ever needed at our facilities.”
Twice, Larry McEntire was honored by the Cleveland County Sports Hall of Fame – as Cleveland County’s Top Sports Fan in 1993 and the Paris Yelton Memorial Award in 2006. He also was given the Governor Jim Hunt Volunteer Award in 1980.
He also was a member of the Friendship Masonic Lodge #388 AF&AM – he received a 50 years pin and was awarded Master Mason – was a 33 degree Scottish Rite Mason and an Oasis Shriner.
In addition to his parents, Larry McEntire is preceded in death by a brother, Tommy McEntire and a sister, Judy Greene. He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Doris Winchester McEntire; a son, Tim McEntire of Elizabeth City; a daughter Lori Cudd and husband Russell of Forest City; two grandchildren, Kendall Cudd and Max Cudd; two sisters, Glenda Canipe and husband Bill, and Pam Harrill and husband Edwin all of Lawndale; a host of loving nieces and nephews; and his canine companion, “Pearl.”
Crest High lighted its football and softball fields on Monday night and placed a lawn mower on each field in Larry McEntire’s honor.
A memorial service will be held on Friday, Nov. 27 at 2 p.m. in the picnic area of Boiling Springs Baptist Church with Rev. Candy Wilson and Rev. Keith Dixon officiating, The family will receive friends following the service. Please bring your own chair to the service. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to: Crest High School Athletics, 800 Old Boiling Springs Road, Shelby NC 28152. Due to COVID-19, face masks and social distancing are required during the service and visitation.