Students and staff remember longtime icon at Hickory High School

A longtime staff member in the Hickory School system was remembered this afternoon with a dedication in his memory at the school he loved so much.
Larry Conger, who served at the maintenance supervisor at Hickory High School, recently died after a battle with COVID-19.
Published: Aug. 25, 2022 at 7:39 PM EDT
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HICKORY, N.C. (WBTV) - Larry Conger, who served at the maintenance supervisor at Hickory High School, recently died after a battle with COVID-19. Thursday afternoon, the hallway where countless students will pass was renamed for his years of service.

Conger had a long, storied career here, making friends and influencing countless students. He may be gone, but thanks to what happened Thursday, he’ll never be forgotten.

“As long as I was with Hickory Public Schools, Larry was with me,” Hickory High School principal Rebecca Tuttle said.

The loss was evident, and at sometimes overwhelming. Not many dry eyes in the house. Dozens of people, friends, family, co-workers and students came to honor a man who didn’t just fix things, sometimes he fixed them.

Conger was the maintenance supervisor at Hickory High for close to two decades. His love of students and his passion for his craft earned him deep respect for all who knew him. Conger passed away last year.

“He was a role model, he was a driving force in young people’s lives,” the superintendent said.

And a staunch advocate of education. Conger himself dropped out of high school to join the Navy, but returned to get his GED. His ‘never quit on your dreams’ attitude made him the stuff of legends.

Before the ribbon cutting on the newly dedicated hallway, the principal of Hickory High presented the family with Larry’s hammer, forever memorialized.

“Please remember what he did with this hammer for our school, our students and our employees.”

During the ribbon cutting, Barbara Conger, Larry’s wife spoke to the crowd from the heart.

“I just want to thank each and every one of you for loving my husband the way that you have and have supported our family,” she said.

Conger’s picture was unveiled to those exploring the newly dedicated entrance to the school, rekindling many memories and shared stories.

“I think it’s left a hole here just as it left a hole in my heart,” his wife told WBTV’s Ron Lee.

Though gone, Larry won’t soon be forgotten.

“His memory will continue here at Hickory High from now on,” Hickory Mayor Hank Guess said.

Though many of the students who show up here next week will remember Larry, those who come after won’t. That’s why this dedication will make sure his memory doesn’t fade.

Related: Hickory ranked as one of the best cities to live in the state, country