About Larry

Larry Hayes (05/2012)
Larry Hayes (05/2012)

For more than a quarter century, Larry Hayes served as the editorial page editor of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette. Here, he draws on his years of writing about mental illness and his own personal experience. What he presents is a call to action for entire communities.

The book is replete with scores of practical answers to bringing those who suffer out of the shadows and into the mainstream. With real solutions and not just theories, he demonstrates why he has won more than 50 state and national awards for editorials and columns. In 1986, he was finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in recognition of his editorials challenging his city to fully desegregate its schools.

Through editorials and personal urging, Hayes was instrumental in Indiana’s victorious fight to win parity of health insurance for persons with a mental illness. He introduced the Crisis Intervention Team to the city to help police better respond to a mental health crisis. He won support for the creation of the Suicide Prevention Council, and a countywide Mental Health Coordinating Council. He played a key role in building public support for the Carriage House, a highly acclaimed rehabilitation center. He successfully lobbied Indiana University Purdue University, Fort Wayne to create the Institute for Behavior Studies, one of the first such programs in the country. His persistent advocacy persuaded the state to transfer an emotionally disturbed 14-year-old girl from the Indiana Women’s Prison to a juvenile treatment center.

Hayes holds degrees in theology and education. He has served churches as a student minister. Just out of graduate school, he taught high school English and directed senior class plays. He taught courses at the Indiana University Purdue University in writing, journalism and peace studies. He’s written for numerous professional publications. His work also has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Christian Science Monitor and The Nation. He retired in 2000 to write books, starting with Monday I’ll
Save the World, memoir of the heartland journalist, published in 2004.

He serves on numerous boards and committees, living in Fort Wayne with his wife, Dr. Toni Kring, a retired educator. He has two children, Robyn, a Spanish teacher and mother to two teenage girls, and John, an advocate for the mentally ill who suffers from bipolar disorder.


3 thoughts on “About Larry”

  1. Larry, we have met but I just figured out today the connection between you and Toni. I sent her an email but am contacting you through here too. Would you be interested in writing a blog post for the History Center’s blog on school desegregation in Fort Wayne? I’m working on blog posts for Black History Month.
    Thanks so much. My work email is nancy.mccammon-hansen@fwhistorycenter.com.

  2. Mr. Hayes,
    I read a short piece by you about Mike Maggard. The guy he killed was my great uncle, Harry Danford. I stumbled onto your piece while digging into genealogy. I wonder if that particular reflection, or any other pieces you may have written about your student, appears in any of your books, or if it only appeared in the online piece I saw called “killer in my classroom”

  3. Dear Larry,

    It’s a Friday and I just ate a meal in the dining room of Reed House, another Clubhouse I’m involved. I was reading a letter from Mary King, a former member of the Carriage House. She sent me a birthday card. We have kept in touch with each other over the years. It’s funny because, the last couple of years, I’ve had a few members from Carriage House and from Stepping Stone in Brisbane reach out to me to say hi.

    I am touched by their memory, and the time we spent together. Its nice to know I’ve had an impact on their lives.

    So this card from Mary threw me back to my days at The Fort. Inevitably I started thinking about John and then you. Both of you made a big impression on me. John for his struggle and also his commitment to the Carriage House for a time. I probably had longer, more meaningful conversations with John than 20 other members combined.

    I still think of and talk about a conversation with you. When I had found out my son was dyslexic. You and I were in my office and I was obviously bothered by the news. You said to me: Warren, what does it matter what it’s called? He has a need, and they will become evident with time. It’s you and your wife’s job to support him and advocate for him, so he gets what he needs and he will be fine.

    So, Jonah, now 20, left to live in Australia, two years ago. We advocated for Jonah. We have such a good relationship and we talk often and share many interests like motorcycles and politics. Although his secondary education was not ideal, he came through it a determined and confident young man. Very much the intellectual who gets frustrated with teachers that do not have a dialogue with him or what they teach. He started at University of Queensland a couple of weeks ago. He’s a little lefty, and is now studying anthropology, sociology, political science. He’s an artist. I’m so proud of him and I think he is a like this today because of me and my wife Kate, to a degree, I attribute some of that to your words of wisdom. He’s his own man now, and is very comfortable in this world. and he is his own biggest advocate now.

    I’ve been inspired by the members of the various Clubhouse’s I’ve worked with who have reached out to me. So, I’m glad I thought of you. I always liked talking with you. You were a port in the storm that comes with working in a Clubhouse. I appreciated your temperament and intellect. I enjoyed the time our paths crossed.

    I hope you, Toni and your families are well. I googled you name and found your blog, which I can now start to read.

    Say hi to John for me.

    Cheers Larry.

    Warren Sparrow

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