California

Shared on 27th May 2016

 Larry opened Larry Larson Music Store,three years after arriving in California in 1953. It started as a music studio, where people would come take lessons from him. Over the years it grew into the amazing, eclectic treasure trove it is today. Larry ran the store for 60 years, and it was a passion throughout his life. He was honored twice by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM)- in January 2006 to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of his store, and in January 2016 he was presented the Believe In Music award for dedicating his entire life to the music industry.

Through all the years that he kept the store going, Larry also maintained a musical career as a performer. With the electric accordion as his instrument of choice, he performed at every kind of function and venue imaginable. He played every major hotel from San Francisco to San Diego. When the Princess Cruises first set sail, Larry was booked as part of the entertainment on cruises to Acapulco, Alaska, Hawaii, and all sorts of wonderful places. Larry was also a presence in the Hollywood studios where he played on films and television shows for Lucille Ball, Robert Montgomery, Goldie Hawn, Angie Dickenson, Ted Danson, and numerous others. He even had a feature roll on Marcus Welby, M.D., playing Larry, the singing intern.

 

Larry married his highschool sweetheart Ann, and had two beautiful children with her, Ron and Anita. Unfortunately this marriage ended when the children were young. During this time he was running his music store, and working as an entertainer, playing accordion. He remarried three times, and had a daughter, Julie with Pam, his third wife. However, this marriage was also short lived, and he spent many years after unmarried, focusing on his store, performing and friends.

 

Larry met his fourth wife, Leigh in 1999. There was an undeniable connection between them despite the age difference and both of them considered the other the love of their life. They were able to spend sixteen wonderful years together before he passed. They officially got married in a beautiful ceremony in their backyard garden, which they had developed and created together. They raised her two children, Amanda and Chris, during the time they were together, and were married until he passed. Leigh and Larry both loved music, and creating on projects around the store and home. Their backyard is a gorgeous fountain garden paradise, and their home is full of the many treasures they found on their many swap meet adventures. Larry had a long and blessed life. He has many, many friends whose lives he has enriched. His sense of humor, generous heart and amazing talents will be remembered forever!

Early 1950's

Shared on 29th April 2016

In the fall of 1950, Larry headed to Colorado State College in Greeley on an athletic scholarship. He was on the baseball team, pitching and hitting homeruns! He continued to entertain with his accordion, playing at the Fitzimmons Veterans Hospital in Denver and also made numerous appearances with choral groups in that area.

Larry was recruted by the Boston Braves baseball club in 1951, back in the days before the "big money". Larry was asked to play outfield, instead of pitching. Larry recalled (with humor) that as an outfielder with many years of pitching experience, his curve ball was so strong that he ended up throwing to third from the outfield....when he was aiming for home!

Larry enlisted in the United States Naval Reserve in October 1951. He did his training with the Navy in Great Lakes, Illinois. In a letter to his parents on May 19, 1952,  he wrote, "We don't even have time to write up here. I've got ten minutes before I go on watch. Tonight I have to stand watch from 8 to 12 midnight. We get up at 5:00 in the morning. The meals here are real good. They give you about three times more than you can eat. I have to go in a hurry."

School Days

Shared on 25th March 2016

Larry attended St. Patrick's School, being taught by nuns from first grade through eighth grade. The nuns loved him! Larry He was a hard worker and excellent in music. It was a this school where Larry first learned that his real name was Lawrence. He was sitting in class listening to roll call. The nun called out "Lawrence?" and he just sat there. She said it again and again until finally she added, "Lawrence Larson?" Larry raised his hand and said, "My name is Larry Larson, I don't know who Lawrence is." When he was twelve he wrote a letter to the Barnum and Bailey Circus requesting tickets for his entire class. He performed in several school shows, sharing his acting and musical talents. By 1945, Larry had also started learning the accordion and loved to perform! He attended Vicent Alongi's Accordion School to learn and improve his talent. In 1946, Larry graduated from St. Patrick's School and decided to go to a public school so he could get more active in sports. Larry was a gifted athlete. He attended Roosevelt Jr. High School, bringing his musical and athletic talents to a whole new part of Rockford. Larry competed and won the 100-yard dash, the 880 yard relay and the broad jump., getting his name in the local Rockford newspapers. In early 1947, Larry was featured in the Beaux Arts ball for the benefit of the Rockford Art Association. By the summer of 1947, Larry was performing at the Shady Lane Theater during the intermissions and interval preceding the plays. By 1947, the local newspapers in Rockford were regularly promoting Larry's musical and athletic skills and accomplishments with photos and articles. Larry attended Rockford West High School from 1947 to 1950. He was very active in sports. music and theater. While in high school, Larry began playing baseball for the Moose Club. A local paper wrote, "With 15-year old Larry Larson pitching no-hit, no-run ball, the Moose Club scored a 22-0 triumph over Lou's team last night in the junior division of the Jaycee's-Boys club league. Larry continued his musical and athletic success all through high school, earning himself many newspaper articles and fame that still holds strong in the Rockford Community.

The Legend is Born

Shared on 23rd March 2016

Lawrence Leroy Larson (7lbs 8 oz) was born on Thursday, February 9, 1933 at 2:00 pm in Rockford, Illinois to parents Roy F. Larson and Beatrice Mona Pingel. It was one of the coldest days ever recorded in Rockford (-26 below zero). He was the second of two children. Jean, his sister was three years old at the time. Larry was baptized on Easter Sunday, April 16, 1933 at the age of two months. His godparents, Irene and Fritz Holtzworth acted as sponsors. Larry began to creep at 6 months, stand alone at 8 months, and take his first steps walking on his father's birthday (Nov. 9) when he was exactly 9 months.