Super Senior: Larry Hathaway

Published: Apr. 20, 2023 at 6:38 PM EDT
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COLCHESTER, Vt. (WCAX) - Eighty-seven-year-old Larry Hathaway loves his craft.

“I’m out here every day, every day,” he said, scrolling away at his Colchester workshop. Hathaway has made thousands of decorative wood pieces, most with funny sayings. “Been doing this a long time.”

Reporter Joe Carroll: Why do you do this?

Larry Hathaway: I just like work with my hands really.

Larry grew up at the base of the Winooski River, on the other side of the tracks, and now the Burlington Bike Path. He was a poor kid, but there were other struggles. When he was seven, his life changed in an instant. He fell into a bonfire and suffered severe burns on much of his body.

“I don’t want to see anybody ever go through burns, that’s tough,” Hathaway said. “I was so scared, I ran across the road and back of my house.” He was in the hospital for over six months recovering and he had to go back numerous times for skin grafts. “I very seldom go outdoors without a shirt on.”

The physical scars will never go away, but there are also emotional scars. “My dad drank really heavily,” Hathaway said. “He never really hit my mom, but he threatened a few times to do that when we were kids, and of course, that kind of thing sticks with you.”

When Hathaway was a teen, he left home to live with relatives in Tennessee. Eventually, he came home to Vermont. “I’ve never been drunk in my life and I don’t ever want to be because I saw so much of it growing up,” he said.

He found that he was a natural at working with his hands. Fixing typewriters became a job and eventually, Hathaway opened an office supply business in Burlington which he ran for over two decades. He’s been married to Gerry for 67 years.

“I always wanted to do something, I just couldn’t never spend time doing nothing,” Hathaway said. Back in his woodworking shop, he starts with a blank panel of wood, creating something from nothing. It could be an analogy of his life. “That’s true, that’s true.”

Through hard work and passion, Hathaway patiently cuts away. “I love doing it, I just love doing it,” he said.