Monday, January 18, 2010
Lawrence "Larry" S. De La O Has Passed Away
Lawrence "Larry" S. De La O, 96, passed away December 23, 2009 in Los Angeles, CA. He is survived by his wife, best friend and companion of forty two years, Frances "Panchita" De La O.
Born in New Mexico and raised in a two-room Dona Ana adobe, Larry worked cotton and vegetable fields in the Southwest, and ran a successful shoe-shine boy operation before riding the rails to Southern California during the Great Depression. There, life as a pachuco helped develop his business skills as owner of pool halls, night clubs and pawnshops, and his talents as jeweler, ace pool shooter and expert card player (including work as a Nevada casino pit boss). An extraordinary musician, dancer, singer and entertainer, he played any number of instruments by ear, joining mariachi groups and forming personal friendships with Mexico's Golden Age entertainment stars, including José Alfredo Jíménez, TinTan, Pedro Infante and Jorge Negrete. (José Alfredo dedicated his masterpiece "El Rey" to Larry.) An Army veteran, a man with a genius memory and an unbounded sense of humor, a prolific creative joke-teller, a loving husband and caring dad and grandfather, a generous humanitarian at heart, and life-long friend of members of the Raymond Apodaca Family of Las Cruces and the Fountain Family of Old Mesilla. Larry is and will be greatly missed. He was "one of a kind".
A memorial service will be held Saturday, January 23, 2010 at 1:30 p.m. at Calvary Mortuary 4201 Whittier Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90023, 323-261-3106. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to the American Legion.
Published in Las Cruces Sun-News on January 17, 2010
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