2014 Outstanding Kansas Citian
Larry brought into our homes the news stories that have been a major part of Kansas City’s history. For many of us, Larry’s news broadcasts helped us grasp an understanding of major news items for the past 4 decades: the Plaza flood in 1977, the Coates House fire in 1978, the Hyatt skywalk disaster, the Republican National Convention in Kansas City, the plane crashes that took the lives of Representative Jerry Litton and Governor Mel Carnahan, the massive flood of 1993, the Chiefs' Super Bowl Championship and the Royals' World Series Championship.
And, it was not just the big news. Night after night, Larry guided us through the day-to-day heroic efforts of our police and fire departments. He clarified the intrigue at city halls and county courthouses across the metro area. He provided many of us our only glimpse into state-wide politics at Jefferson City and Topeka.
A native of Missouri and a graduate of the University of Missouri with a master's degree in television news, Larry holds the distinction of having anchored the news for more years than anyone in Kansas City. Larry began working at KMBC as a reporter in 1968, and rose through the ranks to become primary news anchor in 1972. He continued in that position until his retirement as a daily anchor in 2013. Larry remains a part of the KMBC family and continues to do special news reports and documentaries.
Larry's television news reporting and anchoring have been honored by the Missouri Broadcasters Association, the Kansas Broadcasters Association, the Missouri Radio and Television News Association and the Kansas City Press Club. He has been chosen best television news anchor by Kansas City Media Professionals and the readers of Squire Publications, Pitch Weekly, Ingram's Magazine and Kansas City Magazine. Wednesday Magazine named him best (favorite) Southlander. Squire Publications editors and readers honored Larry as Kansas City TV Person of the Century and Kansas City Magazine named him one of Kansas City's Top 10 Celebrities.
Kansas Citians’ respect for Larry’s role as a news anchor grew not only from his professionalism as a news reporter, but also his deep commitment to our metro area. Larry has served on the community boards of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the American Cancer Society, Kansas City Community Gardens, the National Lost-Child Network, the American Royal, the Ozanam Home for Boys, the St. Patrick's Day parade committee, the University of Health Sciences, Avila College and the Kansas City Press Club.
Larry devotes much of his volunteer community work to children. In 1984, Larry was instrumental in organizing the Greater Kansas City Dream Factory. Since then, more than 5,500 youngsters with chronic or serious illnesses have had their dreams granted in the Kansas City area. Larry spends countless hours each year at fund-raising events helping the Dream Factory raise more than $400,000 annually so that no child ever has to be turned away because of lack of funds. The local chapter of the Dream Factory presented Larry the Dream Maker of the Year Award for 2001. Recently, the national convention of the Dream Factory chose Larry to receive the coveted Stephen K. Douglas Award for his help in making dreams come true for chronically and seriously ill children in the Kansas City community.
Larry is a frequent commencement speaker at area high schools and colleges. Webster University has honored him with its Community Leadership Award and the Jesuit order presented Larry with the Ignatian Award for his contributions to the Rockhurst High School community.
Organizations throughout the metro area have benefited from Larry’s fundraising efforts. He has acted as a stage auctioneer for the University of Missouri Alumni, Conception Seminary, the Valentine Gala to prevent child abuse, the Central City School Fund, Rockhurst High School, St. Teresa's Academy and Ozanam. Larry also serves as the master of ceremonies of the American Royal Champion Livestock auction.
For his professional and community achievements, Larry was honored in 2004 with the high-profile Kansas City Spirit Award. In 2007, Larry was inducted into the Silver Circle of the Midwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. In 2010, the National Forensics League Convention honored Larry as the national communicator of the year.
Larry is a cancer survivor, and in his customary unselfish commitment to the community shared that experience to assist others. The American Cancer Society presented Larry with the prestigious Ambassador of Hope Courage Award for the cancer educational campaign that he conducted on television and in the community by sharing his personal struggle with cancer. He underwent extensive chemotherapy and radiation to enable his immunoblastic lymphoma to go into remission. He continues to undergo frequent extensive physical examinations and testing to maintain a clean bill of health. Larry encourages cancer patients to contact him with their questions and concerns. In 2006, the Bloch Cancer Foundation honored Larry with is first Cancer Survivorship Award at its annual survivors rally, which Larry has hosted and emceed for more than 20 years.
He continues to receive a large number of inquiries each month from patients, many of them newly diagnosed, who seek his advice and counsel. His general advice is a three-point prescription that enhances chances for survival of cancer. It includes early detection, second opinions and support from family and friends, and faith.
Larry helped organize the first Treads and Threads Gala at the Kansas Speedway in 2001. The event raises money for the Cancer Center at the University of Kansas Hospital. Larry has served as host, emcee or honorary chair each year since the event began.
An avid vegetable gardener, Larry, is the author of a personal book on gardening titled "The 20 by 30 Backyard Garden Guide." The book, which among other gardening tips reveals Larry's method of growing prize-winning tomatoes, was published in 1978 by Universal Press Syndicate and is currently out of print.
Larry and his wife, Ruth, are recipients of the prestigious Broderick Award, recognizing their accomplishments in community and civic leadership. Larry is also the recipient of the Zink the Zebra annual community involvement award.
Larry and his wife, Ruth, have five children -- three daughters, two sons and five grandchildren. They make their home in Kansas City, Mo.