The show known as Sheep Dip ended in January 2019 after 55 years of entertaining, chastising, and sometimes shocking Reno and environs. For 26 of those years, Larry Jones was a part of this silly, satirical endeavor; and it was part of who he was. It was fitting that he passed the same year as the show.
Larry began as a program artist in 1994, creating funny caricatures of program advertisements for those businesses that supported the show. Two years later, he created the cover for Sheep Dip 32, a spoof of “Batman”. He went on to create four more program covers, all classics.
Larry was one of the mainstays of the show. In addition to his ad art, he took on management roles as the Creative Director for program ads, Special Events Coordinator, and Set designer. He also created the first of two animated videos for the show, one a three-part spoof of drone deliveries. Despite his preference for behind-the-scenes work, he appeared on stage on occasion.
There are two highly coveted honors bestowed on deserving Dippers, and Larry received both. He became a Master of Sheep Dip in 2010 and was awarded the title Doctor of Sheep Dip in 2014 in recognition of his many contributions to the show. The ABCD (Above and Beyond the Call of Duty) award was also given to Larry twice.
Although Sheep Dip was an important part of his life, Larry had other facets. He was a Vietnam veteran, served in the Army. He was father to daughter Shelley, a son Randy and longtime partner to fellow Sheep Dipper Estephanie Tittle.
Larry survived a debilitating illness and misdiagnosis, but was returned to health and activity in 2012. Even through his illness, he was a dedicated Dipper, supporting the show and making stage appearances when he could. He was the essence of all that Sheep Dip and its members stand for, and he will be sorely missed.
After this year’s final curtain, Sheep Dip lost a member of our “Backbone” Team. Marita Vanlaningham was with Sheep Dip from the very beginning. She was the first woman to direct a Sheep Dip show, taking the helm of Sheep Dip 22. She then went on to direct a total of 8 shows, with Sheep Dip 43 her last as director. She was also the first woman to be bestowed the title of “Doctor of Sheep Dip,” receiving this honor in 1979. Although poor health prevented her participation in Sheep Dip’s final years, Marita was a true ground breaker for women in Sheep Dip.
In addition to directing, Marita was also heavily involved in the creative aspects of the show. She was a valued member of the creative team that wrote many of the shows, even into the new millennium. She was also a key part of the rewrite team, the small group that put the final touches on the show. It was a task that she thoroughly enjoyed. Although not a musician herself, Marita loved choosing each show’s music and parody words.
Marita also enjoyed the theater & musicals when she and her husband Jerry weren’t on a treasure hunt looking for the prized goods for their antique business. She leaves behind her daughter, Debbie (Sam) who was very active in Sheep Dip until its end, a son Greg and three grandsons. Marita’s husband Jerry, also a Doctor of Sheep Dip, passed in 2014.