Book of illustrated stories supports cancer research

Photo by Rosalyn Graham
Illustrator Steven Kellogg, left, and author Larry Sudbay, at a book signing at Shelburne Wine & Coffee recently with their book, “The Best Is Yet to Be.”

By ROSALYN GRAHAM

Just a few chapters into “The Best Is Yet to Be,” I knew this book would make a great gift for those who like to stockpile great stories, quotes and pithy sayings to liven up their conversations, their speeches and even their sermons.

Author Larry Sudbay, who lives with his family in Charlotte, has selected stories — some his own creations and some by other authors — as well as poems and quotations from the vast trove he accumulated during many years producing a corporate newsletter.

Sudbay collaborated with illustrator Steven Kellogg, who lives just across Lake Champlain in Essex, N.Y. Kellogg has published more than 100 picture books for children, some retelling classic tall tales such as Paul Bunyan and Johnny Appleseed.

Together, they envisioned the paintings that highlight certain transformative moments in Sudbay’s narrative, charming illustrations of evocative life experiences.

Some of the pieces speak of the world of business, many are deeply personal, and all lead toward one conclusion that Sudbay chose for his title: the best is yet to be.

Sudbay co-founded the technical services company SymQuest Group in Burlington in 1996, serving as president and CEO until the company was sold in 2015. He continues to consult with technology companies throughout North America as a partner in Riordan & Associates.

His book begins by paying tribute to his father as a master storyteller, and then proceeds to fill 145 pages that demonstrate that Sudbay inherited the storytelling talent. He is personal when talking about family, adventures, tragedies, and moments of joy and accomplishment, and he is honest and frank delving into such topics as aging and loss.

But he is also humorous and inspiring as he relates life experiences including his third prize win in the mini-race car Pinewood Derby, or climbing mountains to spread the ashes of lost loved ones.

Also wonderful is Sudbay’s retelling of the evolution from the clunky computer terminals he used as a University of Vermont student to do homework assignments in 1976, step-by-“revolutionary, world-changing”-step to today’s internet and cloud connecting everyone.

As he says, “What goes around comes around and what’s old is new again.”

Sudbay’s values come through in the stories he shares. It is particularly interesting to see his focus on honesty, reliability, friendships and resilience. In the time we live in today, such attributes aren’t always given their rightful value.

The volume is not without some very practical advice. He tells his personal story about his several diagnoses of melanoma and his successful treatments. He describes his decision after many years of being private about the illness, to be an advocate for annual skin examinations. “The life you save could be your own,” he writes.

To that end, Sudbay has just announced that he and his wife, Jan, have decided to donate all proceeds from book sales to the UVM Center for Melanoma Cancer Research with a minimum pledge of $20,000 in the next two years.

“I have had five surgeries over the last 10 years to remove melanoma from my face and back,” Sudbay said. ”There are some amazing developments in the field of melanoma research and I am a candidate for a genetic testing program whereby I could reduce my chances of getting a recurrence by 99 percent.”

An inspiring epilogue to his inspiring book.

Of course copies can be purchased online, but one also can thumb through it at Flying Pig Book Store in Shelburne.

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