'Jeopardy' Commemorates the 2018 Teachers Tournament Winner, Larry Martin

Who was Larry Martin on 'Jeopardy'? The Nov. 5 episode opened with a special message commemorating last year's Teachers Tournament champion.

Lizzy Rosenberg - Author

Mar. 8 2021, Updated 10:40 a.m. ET

Jeopardy!'s Nov. 5 episode is going to be a real tear-jerker, folks — according to the game show's official Instagram page, the episode will be opening with a tribute to last year's Teachers Champion, Larry Martin, 

But if you aren't familiar with the former Teachers Tournament champion you may be wondering, 'who was Larry Martin on Jeopardy? So if that's the case, here's everything you need to know about the beloved educator.

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Larry Martin was Jeopardy's 2018 Teachers Tournament Champion. 

If you aren't familiar with the title, the Teachers Tournament is Jeopardy's way of showing its appreciation for educators nationwide. It's a two-week-long event, according to a press release, that features 15 educators competing for the $100,000 grand prize, as well as a spot in the next Tournament of Champions.

And in 2018, Larry Martin won the winning title in May 2018. He had been a second grade teacher for 30 years.

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Sadly, Larry passed in early 2019.

At the age of 61 on Jan. 25, 2019, Larry passed away from pancreatic cancer, the same type of cancer Jeopardy host Alex Trebek suffers from, according to the educator's obituary.

He hailed from Kansas City, Missouri, and left behind his wife, Rebecca, his daughter, Cricket, and his Border Collie, Jenny. 

It comes as no surprise that Jeopardy was his forté — Larry graduated from North Kansas City High School before attending University of Missouri-Kansas City, where he achieved two Bachelor's degrees, as well as a Master's. 

While teaching second grade at Belinder Elementary School he created The Marvel News, a bi-weekly paper that was sold by his students. His obituary describes him someone who exuded "gentle kindness, sharp intellect, good humor, creativity, patience and gracious perseverance."

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Jeopardy will honor Larry on Nov. 5.

Jeopardy is supporting the fight against pancreatic cancer all month long in honor of World Pancreatic Cancer Day, which is Nov. 21. And during the Nov. 5 episode, Alex Trebek is opening the show with a special tribute to Larry.

He and the rest of the contestants will be donning purple ribbons for Larry, and also for Alex, who was diagnosed with the disease in March 2019. 

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You can watch the tribute in its entirety prior to the Nov. 5 episode premiere, as it has been posted to Jeopardy's official Instagram page. Make sure to check it out below if you haven't already, and fair warning: you'll definitely want to keep a box of tissues nearby.

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The caption of the post reads: "We opened today's show with a special message about last year's Teachers Tournament champion, Larry Martin. The donation will be going to the Fred Rogers Center. 💜 #TournamentOfChampions"

Supporting the fight for pancreatic cancer is incredibly serious, especially to the cast and crew of Jeopardy. With longtime host, Alex, diagnosed earlier this year, as well as the loss of former contestant Larry Martin, raising awareness about the deadly disease is (understandably) quite important to everyone who is involved with the show.

RIP Larry Martin, you will forever be in our hearts.

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