Beacon Falls community mourns loss of longtime volunteer

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By Elio Gugliotti, Editor

Lawrence ‘Larry’ Hutvagner, center, is shown in 2018 with Darlene Ragozzine, left, and then state representative candidate Kevin McDuffie at the Connecticut Democratic Convention in Hartford. Hutvagner, a longtime volunteer in Beacon Falls, died Dec. 7 due to complications from COVID-19. -REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN ARCHIVES

BEACON FALLS — Whether supporting his children from the sidelines when they played sports growing up, volunteering with the Beacon Falls Lions Club, serving on a town board, or giving his time to benefit Beacon Hose Co. No. 1, Lawrence “Larry” Hutvagner was known for his caring and giving nature.

“He was always there for his kids and the community,” said Matt Hutvagner about his father.

Larry Hutvagner died Dec. 7 due to COVID-19 complications. He was 66 years old.

Matt Hutvagner said his father was taken to Saint Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury on Dec. 1 after being diagnosed with COVID-19. He was later transferred to the intensive care unit at Saint Mary’s Hospital before his death.

“His tragic death is part of the larger pandemic we are all living through and it’s very sad,” Matt Hutvagner said.

Larry Hutvagner and his wife, Donna, moved to Beacon Falls in the mid-1980s and raised their three children — Matt, 37, Timothy, 34, and Emily, 28, — in town.

Matt Hutvagner said his father cared deeply for his family and was always willing to give advice and lend a helping hand.

“He was a really great dad,” Matt Hutvagner said.

Matt Hutvagner said his father thought it was important and his responsibility to serve the community. He believed, Matt Hutvagner added, that people need to do their part to make the community they live in a better place.

Larry Hutvagner lived by those beliefs. He served for several terms on the Region 16 Board of Education, which oversees public schools in Beacon Falls and Prospect, in the late 1990s and early 2000s. He was also a member of the Beacon Falls Board of Finance and the Beacon Falls Democratic Town Committee.

Larry Hutvagner was a longtime, active member of the Beacon Falls Lions Club and heavily involved in the club’s annual food drive and car show.

Liz Falzone, president of the Lions Club, said he called her from the emergency room to make sure the money raised from this year’s car show went out to charities supported by the club, including St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

“That’s who Larry is,” Falzone said. “He did his best for everybody.”

Town Clerk Len Greene Sr., who is a former state representative for the 105th House District, recalled working with Hutvagner when he was on the school board to secure state funding for lights for the football field at Woodland Regional High School when the school was being built in the early 2000s.

The two also worked together with the Lions Club. Greene is a past president of the club but is no longer a member.

“He certainly would do whatever needed to be done for the community and it’s sad that he is gone,” Greene said.

Hutvagner was also a staunch supporter of Beacon Hose, whether through donations, helping at events, or working on the finance board to secure funding for the volunteer department.

“The only thing he ever asked of us was to bring Truck 6 or our 1929 Seagrave to the Lions Club Car Show … it was a small price for us to pay for his many years of support,” Beacon Hose wrote in a post on the department’s Facebook page.

Matt Hutvagner said his family is appreciative and touched by the outpouring of support and kind words they have received from the community.

In his professional life, Larry Hutvagner worked in finance. Most recently, he worked as the chief financial officer for the town of Middlebury; a position he held for 11 years before retiring in August 2019.

He brought his financial background to the Board of Finance. Most recently, he was appointed to fill a vacancy on the board in 2018 and then elected to the seat in 2019.

First Selectman Gerard Smith and Selectman Michael Krenesky said Hutvagner brought a wealth of knowledge to the finance board.

Smith said the Board of Selectmen will appoint someone to finish the remainder of Hutvagner’s term, which ends November 2025, sometime early next year.

“He was thorough and he was enthusiastic about his position,” Smith said. “He was very knowledgeable.”