Lynden Spotlight: Larrin Weidenaar at LMS

Lynden Spotlight: Larrin Weidenaar at LMS
Posted on 12/13/2016
Sometimes, when the heat isn’t working at the aging Lynden Middle School building, Larrin Weidenaar has to call Darigold and ask them to turn on the steam valve. That will all change for the longest-tenured custodian in the district when the new middle school opens in 2018.

“It will be exciting to go to a new building and have the challenges of learning new operations,” he says. “I’m looking forward to a pneumatic heat system instead of turning the wheel and calling Darigold.”

Weidenaar, who spent 18 years at Isom before his most recent stint at LMS, is the first to arrive at the school every day at 6 a.m., opening the five gates, unlocking the school building, getting the lights turned on and hoping that dilapidated heat system kicks on for him.

From there his day moves to the gym and lockerrooms, getting those prepped for use by the time students arrive. And then, when the school turns into a bustle of activity, that’s when his day takes twists and turns, everything from accepting milk deliveries to teacher requests.

“He oversees so many things throughout the day,” says principal Molly Mitchell-Mumma. “He is like MacGyver when it comes to trying to fix something that at first seems unfixable.”

And while Weidenaar’s life, which also puts a heavy focus on the Seattle Seahawks, consists of fixing the always breaking at LMS, he’s also a part of creating the next stage of LMS that includes newness. He’s been involved in planning meetings for the new building, advising on floors and surfaces that he thinks will work best.

“It has been nice to be included and have a voice,” he says. “The surfaces are going to be nice and easier to maintain. That will be a huge plus.”

Mitchell-Mumma says going to him for perspective on everything from flooring to furniture has proven invaluable in her constant planning. “Plus, he is just very funny and always up for a good joke or laugh,” she says.

And he spreads that contagious spirit well beyond the school community and into the local theater community. A Lynden native who graduated from Lynden Christian—his wife of 31 years, Dawn, graduated from Lynden and the couple has three children and one granddaughter—Weidenaar started in the theater scene in high school by joining two tours to California through Grace Baptist Church. More heavily involved in the last 15 years, he’s logged about 35 productions, focused on the Claire vg Thomas Theatre.

Recently playing Santa in the production of The Happy Elf downtown—his grown-out beard was painted for each production—Weidenaar has enjoyed his mix of both musicals and dramas over the years.

“In musicals, the music drives it and for the dramas, it is all on the actors to drive it with their pace,” he says. “They are two different things, which is what makes it fun. You get to experience both sides of it. I have fond memories of both styles, so I keep doing both.”

Amidst his work, which keeps him up early and runs him until the students leave for the day, his family, football and community theater, there’s one thing he won’t miss much in the coming years: cranking that steam wheel at LMS.