HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Larrye deBear, a former television news reporter and press secretary for former governor Ella Grasso, died Saturday at the age of 92, his family told News 8.
deBear was a reporter for WTIC-TV, which later became WFSB. He left the station to serve as press secretary to Grasso and later served as a town councilor in Rocky Hill and became a realtor after that. He and his wife Carol, who died in 2020, were very involved in town politics and mentored many up and coming elected officials including the man who married their daughter.
“The State of Connecticut and my family have lost a very special person today,” said Tony Guerrera, deBear’s step son-in-law and the commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles. “Larrye DeBear was not only an important figure in our state’s history, but he was also very special to my family as the father of four, stepfather of three and grandfather to many. He served as a trusted advisor to me personally in my many years of public service. From being a pioneer as the first host of ‘Face the State’ in 1965, to serving as Gov. Ella Grasso’s Press Secretary during the ’78 Blizzard and her passing, Larrye served our state government and the public with distinction, dignity and professionalism. In all his efforts, especially during the trying times of governor Grasso’s passing and governor O’Neill’s taking over state government, Larrye held the highest principals of communicating to the public during trying times. We will all miss him greatly.”
Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz, who wrote a book about Grasso, said she became friends with deBear while interviewing him about the former governor.
“Larrye was a brilliant political strategist and a dedicated public servant,” Bysiewicz said. “He knew the legislature, the press and was in some ways responsible for her success and her re-election in 1978.”