The Way We Were: Dr. Louis and Patricia Larmoyeux

The Way We Were: Dr. Louis and Patricia Larmoyeux
Melissa, Patricia, Michael, Louis holding Matthew, Lou

The Christmas card says it all: “After 50 years of marriage, the gift of love and family continues to fill us with pride and joy! Christmas blessings from our family to yours! Louis and Pat Larmoyeux 2016.” Their secret for a long, loving marriage? Well, read on for the details.

Both Louis and Patricia (Pat) Larmoyeux were born in Jacksonville at St. Vincent’s Hospital. From there, their paths diverged on both sides of the St. Johns River, eventually reuniting in the San Marco area. The couple has created a fun and interesting life for themselves, their family and their community.

While pronunciation of the name “Larmoyeux” gives pause to many – if not most – people, Pat has a simple phonetic remedy especially for Generation X, her children’s demographic. Think of “La Toya” as in entertainer La Toya Jackson, sister of the late Michael Jackson, she said. “Larmoyeux” actually rhythms with “La Toya.”

Larmoyeux siblings Camille, Michael, Christopher, mother Helen, Ann, and Louis, Jr. April 1960

Although the last name might not be common, it has deep roots in Jacksonville. Louis J. Larmoyeux, Sr. was a physician, as is Louis J. Larmoyeux, Jr. The decades-old practice in the historic heart of the city at 124 E. Ashley Street has survived numerous changes in the healthcare industry over the years and will soon be celebrating its centennial in 2020.
Louis credits his great-aunt Julia Larmoyeux Cline, one of only a few female physicians in the early 1920s, with founding the family clinic and with starting the medical-career tradition in the Larmoyeux family. Julia encouraged her nephew, Louis Sr., to pursue medicine, and Louis Jr. followed suit (after first considering the legal profession).

Though he ultimately chose to become a doctor, several of Louis’s childhood pals became lawyers and judges. His residence in the 1950s was in the Lakewood area and was reputed to be way out in the country. The family lived on the river just off San Jose Boulevard (San Jose West).

Louis and Patricia Larmoyeux, August 27, 1966

Louis told how he lived a Huckleberry Finn type of existence. “My friends, siblings and I were always outside in the river,” he said. “We had a long driveway and plenty of land, so it was easy to organize ‘wars’ and ‘battles’ of every kind while still being safe from the traffic. I think every mother’s mantra back then was play or stay outside until the street lights came on, or you were called to dinner. The river was another constant source of entertainment. The whole neighborhood gang would spend hours building rafts and barrels out of scrap wood. Some floated and others sank, but it seemed we were all decent swimmers.” Louis adds, “We never wore a lifejacket or sunscreen.”

Louis Larmoyeux with girlfriend Patricia Stripling

After attending Assumption Catholic School from kindergarten through eighth grade, Louis graduated to Central Catholic High School, the forerunner of Bishop Kenny High School. It was there during his junior year that Louis met his future wife, then a 14-year-old freshman. Even though there are varying degrees of recall about how the introduction took place, the couple confirmed that the setting was a city bus, which was the mode of transportation. “I was still 15 at the time, so we didn’t ‘car date’ until after Christmas when I turned 16,” said Louis. Their first formal date was at a cotillion dance.

Pat lived with her widowed mother, Ann Stripling, over the river in Riverside. Since there were tolls back then, drivers were required to throw quarters into baskets at the booths. As one could imagine – a fact verified by the Larmoyeuxs – dates could become quite expensive for the young Louis since boys were the ones to foot the bill in those days. Indeed the Larmoyeuxs joke that Louis helped fund the Fuller Warren Bridge. As a result of those numerous trips to the other side of town, Louis was demonstrating responsibility both financially and in his care of Pat. Mrs. Stripling took notice and readily approved the courtship.

Even Louis’s graduation from Bishop Kenny could not sever the strengthening bonds between Louis and Pat. While he was attending college at Notre Dame, Pat would visit and on occasion see something she was not used to – snow! However, Pat soon was accustomed to icy precipitation because the Midwest became her home for several years.

By Ellin Iselin
Resident Community News

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