Hundreds of people showed up to pay their respects to the late Larry “The Legend” Fiscus at a memorial service held in Hart High School’s gymnasium on Saturday. Fiscus died in June.
Fiscus was, and still clearly is, beloved by everyone at Hart. His memorial was filled with touching eulogies given by friends, family and colleagues. Fiscus worked for Hart since his graduation in 1974 and was 66 years old.
Fiscus overcame adversity as an adult with special needs by becoming a respected and admired member of Hart’s staff, serving as its sports department’s equipment manager and winning over the hearts of everyone he encountered.
“He cared for everybody. He didn’t know a mean person,” said Lynne Weygandt, Fiscus’ sister. “If he did meet a mean person, he would just say, ‘I don’t like that person anymore,’ and he wouldn’t have anything to do with them. But everyone was a friend to him and he tried to be a friend to everybody.”
Although Fiscus never suited up for a game, he was always considered a part of the team and had his name enshrined forever as the No. 1 jersey was retired prior to Friday night’s game against Mira Costa at College of the Canyons’ Cougar Stadium.
“He was always there, talking to everyone, making jokes. If you ever needed anything like your helmet pumped up or a door open, he’s always there to help,” said Charlie Thurman, tight end for Hart’s varsity football team. “He was a great guy. You know, you can always talk to him and if you’re feeling down and talk to him, he gives you a good laugh. The best is always laughing with Larry or if you ever need anything. That’s mainly what he meant to us was just like, a good helping hand whenever you need anything.”
Eulogies for Fiscus were mainly filled with stories, some hard to get through by their speakers as emotions got the better of them. But most stories were filled with laughs, not at him, but with him.
Fiscus was known to have a knack for rigorously preparing the rosters and lineups in preparation for games. In the days before printers, Fiscus was said to have hand-written the rosters on the backs of discarded cigarette cartons from his other job at a liquor store.
During one game, according to Hart’s head baseball coach Jim Ozella, Fiscus walked out to home plate with Ozella for the pre-game exchange of lineups during a much-anticipated quarter-finals matchup against Corona High School. Apparently if one team did not immediately have a lineup ready, it wasn’t a huge deal. But Fiscus believed otherwise.
“So I walked over and to give the coach my lineup, and he says, ‘I don’t have it yet.’ And Larry is right here on my right side while I’m doing the exchange and he says, ‘Where’s your lineup?’” said Ozella. “And of course he doesn’t know what to say and he kind of looks to me and I go, ‘Where’s your lineup? This is my general manager right here.’”
After Ozella vindicated Fiscus’ concern, he walked back to the dugout — but Fiscus stayed at home plate and refused to leave until the opposing coach handed him their lineup, which of course he did.
Fiscus’ memorial was filled with stories like these, showcasing his dedication to his job and to Hart. One of these stories was told by Hart Principal Jason d’Autremont.
One day, out of character, Fiscus showed up to work sheepishly and seemed down, then did not show up to work the following day. This was during the pandemic and d’Autremont thought something about it was weighing on Fiscus. Fiscus had previously slipped d’Autremont a Post-It note with an unrecognizable name and number on it.
“Just call the number, Jason,” Fiscus said. When d’Autremont did eventually call the number he was greeted by a concerned worker from the city of Santa Clarita’s transit center.
“The transit operator said Larry, who has about 100 keys on a key ring — at that moment, I shot a look back across to Larry, who was sitting across my desk and I instantly knew why Larry had not uttered a word to me nor why he didn’t show up the day prior — had left his keys on the city bus counter,” said d’Autremont. “If you know Larry he’s got the most keys out of anyone at Hart, let alone in the Hartdistrict.”
That same huge key ring, rumored to have the ability to open any door at Hart, sat in a glass box on the stage of Saturday’s ceremony.
Following Fiscus’ memorial, no seemed in a rush to leave and could be heard exchanging stories, filled with both laughs and tears.
Said Ozella: “The stories are never-ending, they’re all about love, they’re all about friendship. They’re all about good.”