Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Epilogue | William Curtis Larmon

Curtis Larmon, who owned Tampa's oldest furniture store, dies at 83

TAMPA — Curtis Larmon kept regular hours, at home and at the family business he inhabited for 37 years.

He did stretching exercises after his coffee, the antidote for an old back injury, then sit-ups.

By 8:40 a.m. each day, he arrived at Seventh Avenue and 14th Street in Ybor City, where Larmon Furniture has stood since 1931; it is the oldest Tampa furniture retailer still in business.

Mr. Larmon, whose devotion to routine and steadiness helped keep his family business running for 80 years, died Friday as a result of Parkinson's disease, his family said. He was 83.

Mr. Larmon was quiet for a salesman. He knew customers' names and struck deals with many, offering no-credit-check financing and a willingness to bargain on the price. If he was within striking distance, he closed the sale.

"He was a true gentleman," said Jimmy Kalamaras, his son-in-law, who with his wife, Elizabeth, has owned the store since 1992. "I have never heard him say anything negative or derogatory about anybody."

His father, Rubel Larmon, founded the store 81 years ago with business partner David Friday. The store has expanded three times from its original 4,000 square feet, added appliances and electronics to its inventory and livened things up with a little kitsch.

For 15 years or so, a circular red velvet bed complete with a television beckoned from a corner.

"It was like, 'Hey, let's see if we can catch their attention,'" said Kalamaras, 52. "We don't have that kind of stuff anymore," he added.

Mr. Larmon also reached out to customers who might have been turned away elsewhere. Prove that you live here and have an income, you can get store financing.

Playing the role of banker made him work harder to match purchases with pocketbooks.

"A bank will tell you no," Kalamaras said. "We say, 'Hey, why don't you get the living room and the bedroom and hold off on the big-screen TV you wanted?' He was so good at being able to work with customers and figure out what was best for them."

William Curtis Larmon was born in Tampa and graduated from Hillsborough High in 1947. After graduating from business college, he worked as a manager at Holtsinger Motor Co. He joined his father's business in 1955, two years after he married Beverly, a woman he had known since high school.

He bought the business from Rubel Larmon in 1966. In 1992, he sold it to Elizabeth and Jimmy Kalamaras. (A third partner, daughter Cheryl Smith, sold her interest in 1998.)

"The day he said he was gone, he was gone," his son-in-law said. "He said, 'I've done my time.' "

The Kalamarases opened another location on W Waters Avenue in 2007.

His family coaxed Mr. Larmon back on special sale days. The cameo appearances pleased longtime customers, some of whom always insisted on dealing with him directly.

Andrew Meacham can be reached at or (727) 892-2248.

. biography

William Curtis Larmon

Born: Oct. 29, 1928

Died: Oct. 19, 2012

Survivors: wife, Beverly; daughters, Cheryl Smith, Linda Watts and Elizabeth Kalamaras; brother, Robert Larmon; five grandchildren.

Service: 11 a.m. today; Hyde Park United Methodist Church, 500 W Platt St., Tampa.

Curtis Larmon, who owned Tampa's oldest furniture store, dies at 83 10/22/12 [Last modified: Monday, October 22, 2012 10:11pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Senator: American student arrested in China has been freed


    BILLINGS, Mont. — Chinese authorities have dropped charges against an American college student who was arrested and detained in the a week ago after reportedly injuring a taxi driver who was roughing up his mother in a fare dispute, a U.S. lawmaker said Sunday.

    Guthrie McLean was detained for reportedly injuring a taxi driver after the driver physically attacked McLean’s mother.
  2. Tampa-based makeup artist disqualified from contest over pro-Trump post


    WICHITA, Kan. — A makeup artist who splits her time between Tampa and Kansas says she won a national contest sponsored by Kat Von D Beauty but was later disqualified because of an Instagram post supporting Donald Trump's presidential candidacy.

    Gypsy Freeman won the contest with this image posted to Instagram. [@facesofgypsy on Instagram]
  3. Flesh-eating bacteria nearly kills Florida man who thought he just had blisters from a hike


    Wayne Atkins thought little of the blisters he had gotten while hiking. He was trekking up and down the 4,500-foot-high Mount Garfield in New Hampshire - a 10-mile round trip - and blisters were no surprise.

    Wayne Atkins thought his blisters were from hiking, but the flesh eating bacteria nearly killed him. [YouTube]
  4. Yes, again: Rays blow late two-run lead, get swept by Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — As weekends go, this was a bad one for the Rays. In a word: brutal.

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Brad Boxberger, foreground, reacts after giving up a home run to Texas Rangers' Carlos Gomez during the eighth inning of a baseball game Sunday, July 23, 2017, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson) FLMC116
  5. White House offers muddled message on Russia sanctions legislation


    WASHINGTON - White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Sunday that the Trump administration supports new legislation to punish Russia for its meddling in the 2016 presidential election and its aggression toward Ukraine.

    President Donald Trump at the commissioning ceremony for the USS Gerald R. Ford  at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia, July 22, 2017. [New York Times]