A writer who helped area residents learn the value and history of artifacts ranging from postcards to pianos has passed away.
Longtime Marietta Times columnist Larry Koon, 66, of Vienna, W.Va., died Sunday at Camden-Clark Medical Center's Memorial campus following a battle with lung cancer.
Koon wrote for The Marietta Times for more than two decades, answering readers' questions about the origin and potential worth of items they'd had in their families or discovered. In addition to directing them to potential sellers, he would often share the history of the company that made the item, especially if it was a local business.
He enjoyed researching the items and helping people make money from them, said Koon's daughter, Janet Hiner, of Parkersburg. As much study as he did, he got to the point where he knew in advance what he would likely find out.
"He could tell by looking at it what it was worth before he even looked it up," she said.
Koon also authored multiple antique price guides, focusing on lines like Roycroft furniture, Rookwood Pottery and Lee Middleton dolls.
Marietta resident Lorraine Kenney, 65, was an avid reader of Koon's columns. She wrote to him several years ago for help in selling an antique wooden blimp propeller. One of the contacts Koon gave her led to another, and she eventually sold the item to a former Navy pilot living in Texas.
"He had a lot of insight when people would ask him questions. He had tremendous knowledge," she said. "He was just a very, very helpful gentleman."
Koon's research abilities impressed Chuck Swaney, owner of FOUND, an antique and collectibles shop in Harmar. The two met when Swaney invited Koon to do a signing of a couple of his books at his shop.
"I think he certainly answered a lot of people's questions out there," Swaney said. "He'd do the legwork and try to find out for them."
Koon's death is "going to leave a real whole in the antique world," he said.
In addition to researching antiques, Koon at one time owned businesses that sold them and also ran a restaurant, Hiner said. He also wrote music and recorded his own songs and covers years ago.
In fact, he still had the gold record he received from radio station WCEF in his hometown of Ripley, W.Va., honoring his rendition of "Oh, How I Could Love You" as the station's most requested song in 1969, Hiner said.
Koon is survived by Hiner and her husband, two grandchildren, a sister in Lancaster and nieces and nephews.