A sculptor of animals, a taxidermist, an assistant director of the Cleveland Natural History Museum, a father and a husband, Laurence G. Isard died on March 15th, 2009 at the age of 76. "Larry" was born on June 29th, 1932 in Pittsburgh, PA to Reeves and Lois Isard. He was raised in Cleveland Heights, OH along with his brother, John.
As a boy, Larry was always "fascinated by the beauty of nature". The Isard family was one of strong traditions of hunting and fishing, as Laurence grew to be an avid fly fisherman. This fascination with nature began with taxidermy, and eventually led to a career as a museum preparatory. His dedication to the natural sciences had been a lifelong commitment, not only to the study of the animal form but also to wildlife conservation, education and research.
After High School, Larry joined the United States Navy and served during the Korean Conflict. Upon his honorable discharge, he enrolled in Kent State University in 1959, where he received a degree in Biology. Upon graduation from undergraduate school, Larry was a Naturalist and Exhibits Preparator for the Cleveland Metroparks System. Following this, he sought his Master's Degree in Natural Resources in 1966, from the University of Michigan.
In 1966, Larry joined the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, and for the next eight years he was an Exhibits Preparator. Recognizing his talent and enthusiasm for his work, the museum promoted Larry to Assistant Director in 1974, where he remained in this position until his partial retirement in 1997. He then returned to the Exhibition department and resumed his duties as a Taxidermist. He continued this work until his death.
Larry began taking Sculpting Courses at Kent State University, then studied at the Cleveland Institute of Art. During his sculpting career, Larry held Exhibitions of his work in over 20 different cities across the country. He was affiliated with the Russell A. Fink gallery in Lorton, Virginia, and the Sportsmans Edge gallery in New York, New York. The subjects of his sculptures ranged from frogs to giraffes, otters to hornbills.