John Larish’s Story

John Larish has a way with words. An author of too many books and articles to remember, Larish has always been comfortable reading to a group. So when he was asked to read The Passion story on Palm Sunday this past year in the chapel at St. John’s, he was ready, willing, and able. What he wasn’t ready for, was the reaction.

“I was in a wheelchair and I read The Passion,” he recalled. “I think I’m a fairly good reader, and I’ve never had it happen before but at the end of the reading the congregation applauded. It was such a shock to me, very honestly and very quietly I put my head down and I cried. It was that much of an emotional experience.”

Larish was receiving rehab therapy from St. John’s after a recent knee surgery, his third overall. Doctors at Highland Hospital drained some fluid from that knee and sent him home while they did some tests. The very next day, Larish received a phone call saying they had found bacteria in the fluid and that they would have to operate as soon as possible. A veteran of the rehab process, Larish chose to try St. John’s for the first time.

“It’s the caring of the individual people,” Larish says. “Not necessarily just the nurses, the nurses were very kind and very concerned for me always, but it was the people who helped get me into clothes and helped me with things that I couldn’t handle yet. That was the amazing part of it.”

Larish stands as one of the pioneering authors about digital photography. His first book was released in 1990 and was called Understanding Electronic Photography (Computer Graphics Technology and Management Series). Written after his 15-year career at Kodak, it was the first of its kind and was seen as the authority on the subject for years.

“It was the first book written about electronic photography, digital photography, and it became the milestone for patent attorneys.”

Two decades later, Larish published Out of Focus: The story of how Kodak lost its direction. This piece details the different CEOs of Kodak and how they all helped “dig the grave” for the company starting 40 and 50 years ago. He recently completed an E-book called The Byzantine and the Roman—telling the story of his relationship with a man he met at officer candidate school during the Korean War and their different paths to surprisingly similar places.

All the while, Larish has written numerous other articles and stories with an impressive range of topics. He has a definitive passion for it, and prefers a simple style rather than a high word count.

“The style I write, strangely enough, I write probably for the 10th or 11th grade level, because I write short paragraphs. If you ever see one of my books, you’ll see that I write very short paragraphs. I don’t like the idea of seeing an author who puts an entire book page as one paragraph.  You see that occasionally, and it’s terribly difficult to read and it’s not fun to read. I’ve had people come back to me and tell me that they picked up on that. It’s easy to read.”

Larish’s stay at St. John’s was relatively brief—about three weeks—but it was enough to leave a good impression on him.  That speaks volumes for a man who wrote a book in 2010 called It’s Hell Getting Old. He admitted that his experience here offered some positive material for a follow-up book.

“When I needed anything, there was always someone there with me,” he says. “People were so kind that way. People were very kind even when they came in to clean the room. They would smile and they would say hello and they seemed to have that feeling that was caring.”