Longtime Newhall resident Larry Bird, a man credited for his community dedication and supporting the city’s efforts to make Newhall what it is today, died Sunday of cardiac arrest. He was 75.
The former president of the local chapter of the Lions Club, founding member of the city’s Old Town Newhall Association who was also involved in the Newhall redevelopment committee, his time in Santa Clarita was marked by a love of and service to the community he lived in, according to Sue Ann Bird, his wife of 50 years.
“Larry was very community-oriented and very passionate about the Santa Clarita Valley,” she said Friday in a phone interview. “He just thought this community had a great history and great potential and people, and he just wanted to see the very best of everybody.”
Larry Bird was born in Elk Point, a small town in South Dakota, and married Sue in 1973 prior to their arrival in the Santa Clarita Valley in 1988.
The family purchased the Golden Oaks apartment building in Newhall and they became involved right away, according to City Councilwoman Laurene Weste, a longtime friend. As part of his effort to serve, Larry Bird also made two unsuccessful runs for City Council in 1992 and 1996.
“They came here in the 1980s and Larry got involved in the community right away,” Weste said. “We were just becoming a city, and when we became a city, we started working on Newhall. It’s been a very long, long process to bring Newhall up to what everybody loves today.”
She credited Bird with galvanizing support from the business community in the area with fundraising efforts and involvement like the “Parkmobile,” which brought fun activities, including books and games, to children in underserved areas of Newhall.
When the city split from Los Angeles County, there were about a half-dozen parks in the city, Weste added, and help from groups like the Lions was important for the young city in its efforts to provide community activities to residents.
“The goal, and I think they did accomplish it, was to unite the businesses together,” Weste added.
Larry is survived by his two sons, Victor and Eddy, as well as three grandchildren, Victoria, Johanna and Luke.
A celebration of life for Larry Bird is scheduled for 11 a.m. July 19 at The Oaks. Those planning to attend are asked to RSVP with [email protected].