- Business Advocacy
Larry Stevens celebrated his 95th birthday July 10 at American Legion Post 139 at 24 N. Stoneman. It is the same hall that hosted his wedding reception in 1950. Larry was born in Alhambra in 1924. He was enrolled in the very first kindergarten class at the brand new Marguerita School and graduated from Alhambra High School in 1943 in the midst of a world at war.
Like most of the boys who graduated that year, Larry went off to war. He served as a tail gunner, manning two .50 caliber machine guns on a B-17 bomber. Based in England with the 95th Bomb Group, he flew 35 combat missions over Nazi occupied Europe. Alongside his American decorations, he was awarded an air medal from Russia and the prestigious medal of the French Legion of Honor (Légion d'honneur).
Larry worked in his father’s lathe and plaster business after the war doing construction on several local buildings, including San Gabriel High School. In 1955, he joined the Alhambra Fire Department where he served as a firefighter for 31 years.
After his retirement, he wrote a book about his wartime experiences titled It Only Takes One. Larry still gets out and enjoys morning coffee with friends and reunions of fellow B-17 crewmen and their families.
His birthday party brought together family and friends, including former Alhambra Mayor Gary Yamauchi, Fire Chief Tom Phelps, and several Alhambra firefighters past and present.