In Memoriam: Peter Larr, 80
40 Years at Chase, International Executive
Peter Larr, who had a 40-year career in international banking and was a consummate civic leader in Rye, NY, died on December 16, 2019 at Greenwich Hospital, from ALS. He was 80.
Born on January 17, 1939 in Indianapolis, IN, he was the son of Colonel David Larr, DSC, DSM, and Marjorie Kathleen Hearne Larr. His first home was in Lafayette, IN. With a stop in Arlington, VA before the outbreak of World War II, he spent the war years in Watertown, NY, followed by two years in Tokyo.
After the death of his father in 1947, he attended school in Toronto before returning to Watertown. Starting in September 1953, he attended The Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, CT, on a full scholarship. Graduating as a junior from Hotchkiss in 1956, he entered Princeton University, also on a scholarship, where he majored in Political Science with a minor in Middle Eastern Affairs.
On July 7, 1962, in Rye, he married Rosamond Holmes Woodfield, a marriage that lasted 57 years. She survives him, as do their three children and eight grandchildren.
In September of 1960, Larr began a 40-year career at Chase Manhattan Bank, with posts overseas in London, Beirut and Hong Kong. After his first year at the bank, he went on active duty in New Jersey National Guard during 1961 and 1962. Upon his return to Chase, he served in many capacities over the years as the executive responsible for specialized business units such as Land Transportation Division, the market-leading Commodity Financing Division and the Domestic Institutional Banking Group. As a Senior Vice President, his management skills were tested by diverse functions managing upward of 950 staff members as well as being the executive responsible for the industry famous Chase Manhattan Bank training program with branches in London, Hong Kong, Puerto Rico, and Rio de Janeiro.
The last 10 years of his career were focused upon credit and market risk management, being responsible for the creation and administration of policy, the integrity of the risk rating systems and management of the reserve setting process, and a short stint managing the bank’s workout division. Late in his career, he was the Chief Credit Officer for the bank’s risk exposures in Asia.
Over the years Larr was active in various banking industry trade groups, serving as Chairman of the Corporate Banking Division of the American Bankers Association, President of Robert Morris Associates, New York, and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Robert Morris Associates National Organization. He was a member of the Association of Reserve City Bankers and Chairman of its Payments System Committee. Over the years, he wrote for various trade journals and was the three-time winner of the annual award for Best Article in the RMA Journal of Commercial Lending.
He frequently spoke at meetings and universities around the world for sponsors such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Asia Society, and the Polish Bankers Association. His talks took him to St. Petersburg, Warsaw, Jakarta, Bangkok and beyond. He covered various topics, including the future of Asia’s cities, capital sources for Asia/Pacific growth and technology's developing role in wholesale banking.
He was also a board member of the British Schools and Universities Foundation.
A dedicated volunteer in the Rye community, he established the first Rye-Playland Committee. He served for 19 years on the Rye Planning Commission, eight years on the Rye Human Rights Commission, and was a Trustee of the Rye Historical Society and Sub-Committee Chairman of the Rye City Board of Education Excellence Committee.
Larr was very active in local politics and served as Vice President of the League of Women Voters of Rye, Rye Brook and Port Chester for over 12 years. He was also a board member of 5 Steps to Five, a nonprofit dedicated to helping young Hispanic parents help their children learn the benefits of reading and reading comprehension from birth until kindergarten.
A memorial service will be held in the new year. Donations in Larr’s memory may be made to the ALS Foundation.
(This is based on an obituary that appeared in The Rye Record.)
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I first met Peter in Mexico City. I was in my first lending assignment and accompanied Peter on calls with subsidiaries of his land transportation corporate customers. After a few years in Mexico, at Peter’s urging I returned to New York as a unit manager and instructor in the training program where he was the executive.
Peter was larger than life and a terrific mentor. Here was a man who had an opinion on just about everything and set out his conclusions on any issue clearly and convincingly
He provided me and many others with guidance in professional life. Peter was also a shining example of a devoted family man. Chase was fortunate to have him. I was privileged to know him. May he Rest In Peace.
From Rudi Eisenhart: I met Peter the first time some 50 years ago in typical Peter Larr fashion: I gave a credit presentation as a credit analyst to an officer sitting right behind Peter. His colleague gave me a real hard time, strong voice, heavy language, and I was visibly taken aback. (This is the mild version of what actually happened.) When I was dismissed, Peter followed me, put his arm around my shoulder and said I should not worry, I was doing alright, his colleague just was that way, don’t worry. I have never forgotten that. We have met many times since and have always felt an intensive friendship. A solid one, based on sharing attitudes and most opinions, liking and disliking the same people and from time to time withstanding disagreement. One of the most intense disagreements was practised in the early seventies shortly before midnight on the boot of his car at the Rye train station, letting one train pass and waiting for the next one to take me back to New York – all that after a wonderful dinner at the Larrs. Very very sad about Peter leaving us; as a good friend he lives on.