Larry was born in 1956 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. According to his parents, as a toddler he lived essentially feral in the backyard, hauling insects back to the screened-in porch for observation, and subsequently fighting the family cat for custody. After the family moved to Connecticut in 1965, he spent summers from 1966 through 1972 collecting (free from the cat) at sleepaway camp in the Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts.
In 1973, he discovered the Peabody Museum in New Haven and as a high school senior worked as a specimen pinner in the Peabody's Entomology Division. Larry attended Stanford University as an undergraduate, receiving his bachelor's degree in Biology in 1978. While at Stanford, he worked in the labs of Ward Watt and Paul Ehrlich, and spent the summers of 1977 and 1978 researching Colias population structure with Watt's crew at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in Gothic, Colorado. He returned to Connecticut in 1978 for doctoral research with Charles Remington, and received his Ph.D. in Zoology in 1984.
Around 1977, Larry became smitten by computers, and supported himself while a graduate student by working as a programmer and support specialist at the Yale University Computer Center. From 1984 to 1991, he served as Director of Yale's Social Science Computing Facility, with a cross appointment as Lecturer in the Statistics Department. The "Statlab," as it was known, provided statistical and computing support to the social science faculty and students, and was closely involved in developing the first personal computer networks on campus.
In 1991, he joined the staff at the Yale Peabody Museum to lead their newly formed Computer Systems Office, and has served there since as the museum's chief technology officer with focus on its electronic collections management systems and bioinformatics programs. In 2008 he added a joint appointment as Informatics Manager in the Entomology Division, and is presently tackling a full-scale recuration and digitization of the entomological collections at Peabody.
Larry has served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Wedge Foundation (2004-2010), editor of the Journal of The Lepidopterists' Society (1996-1998), section editor of Zootaxa (2007-2010), executive editor for the Peabody's Scholarly Publications Program (1998-2010), vice president for The Connecticut Butterfly Association (2006-2010) and The Lepidopterists' Society (1999-2000), and president of The Lepidopterists Society (2002-2003) and Connecticut Entomological Society (1981-1982).
Larry's research interests include the systematics and ecology of noctuids, notably Catocala (Lepidoptera: Erebidae), the biology of northeastern Nearctic Lepidoptera, bioinformatics, mark-release-recapture methodologies, and natural history interpretation. He lives in Westport, Connecticut with his wife Nancy Barrer, who is an executive recruiter and pianist. Their one daughter, Jennifer Barrer-Gall, is currrently dancing in New York City and attending Columbia University.