Lawrence Teacher, 72; cofounder of publishing house

Lawrence Teacher cofounded Running Press with his brother in Philadelphia in 1972.
Lawrence Teacher cofounded Running Press with his brother in Philadelphia in 1972.
Posted: March 28, 2014

Lawrence "Larry" Teacher, 72, of Philadelphia, cofounder of Running Press Book Publishers and husband of photojournalist Sharon J. Wohlmuth, died Tuesday, March 25, of a heart ailment at home.

Mr. Teacher teamed with his brother, Stuart "Buz" Teacher, in 1972 to establish Running Press, an independent publishing house in Philadelphia.

The brothers were the first in their family to delve into book publishing, although the family had a long history as booksellers.

Mr. Teacher focused on editorial and contractual duties while his brother headed the production and design departments.

"He was a very passionate man, and he and his brother were passionate about Running Press," his wife said. "Publishing was in his blood, and when he read, his books were studded with Post-it notes. He was always coming up with the most amazing ideas, and as a couple, we sat for hours talking about our ideas."

Among the titles the company published was Sisters, the blockbuster 1994 collaboration of essayist Carol Saline with Wohlmuth, a former Inquirer photographer. The coffee-table book spent 63 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.

Wohlmuth and Saline collaborated on two other books, Mothers & Daughters and Best Friends, published by Doubleday.

Mr. Teacher was very supportive of her book projects, Wohlmuth said, even when they required her to be away from home for long periods.

"Go for it," he would tell her.

After three decades of operation, Running Press was acquired by the New York independent publishing company Perseus Books Group in 2002. Mr. Teacher shifted gears and became an artist, though his brother stayed with the company.

"He would sit in the kitchen and listen to French cafe music and paint," his wife said. His paintings were exhibited at the Jersey Shore, and some sold, she said.

Mr. Teacher loved Maine coon cats, sailing, fly-fishing, delivering jokes with perfect timing, mentoring his nieces and nephews, and brainstorming for ideas that often led to books or creative projects.

"He was very caring, he loved to help people, and he was interested in other people's lives and their stories," his wife said. "He was a very good listener."

Mr. Teacher graduated from Abington Senior High School and American University. He had friends worldwide.

Surviving, in addition to his wife and brother, are a daughter, Rachael Teacher; a stepson, Michael Parker; sisters Melissa Cookman and Amy Hudak; a grandson; and many nieces and nephews.

He was previously married to the former Marilyn Parker. They divorced. She died in 2011.

The funeral will be at 2 p.m. Thursday, March 27, at Congregation Keneseth Israel, Old York and Township Line Roads, Elkins Park. Interment will be in Montefiore Cemetery in Jenkintown. The family will sit shiva at Mr. Teacher's home.

Contributions may be made to Vilna Congregation, 509 Pine St., Philadelphia 19106.


bcook@phillynews.com

610-313-8102

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