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Lakewood Mayor DuBois, residents, officials remember ‘beloved’ Councilman Larry Van Nostran

Lakewood remembers longtime City Councilman Larry Van Nostran during Memorial Services held last week. The Reverend Dr. John C. Bonner, Lakewood’s Pastor Emeritus, is seen speaking at at the gathering.

Lakewood’s longest-serving council member, Larry Van Nostran, was warmly remembered at a memorial service on Sunday, November 18, by an audience of family members, residents and officials including Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe and Sherriff Lee Baca.
The gathering of nearly 500 hundred people filled the Weingart Ballroom at The Centre at Sycamore Plaza.
Speakers remembered a career of service that began in the tumultuous 1970s when Van Nostran was a Lakewood traffic and safety commissioner. Mayor Diane DuBois recalled the 70s as a chaotic time of mudslinging and recall elections and credited Van Nostran’s joining the council with creating a steadying presence for the future.
“Larry helped guide Lakewood to where I believe we are today–a stable, well-run city, with a collegial council, and a caring community of residents. Lakewood residents in the future will hopefully continue to enjoy that legacy Larry helped create during his 37 years on the city council,” DuBois remarked.
“This is a sad time in Lakewood and for all of us who knew and loved Larry. But for me, it’s a sadness tempered with a sense of contentment and peace of mind for Larry,” said DuBois.
Here is the complete eulogy remarks by Mayor DuBois:

“Larry had a lot to live for. He had a loving wife and family. He had a job as council member that he loved, working for the city that he loved. He had lots of friends. He had a church community that he loved. And he had his favorite hobby of golf that he definitely loved.
But everyone’s life on this earth comes to an end at some time.
I’ve been reminded of that several times and very personally over the past year.
When I talk about my sadness being tempered, what I mean is when I reflect on Larry, what I see is someone who lived a very full life. I see a man who left a deep imprint with his family and friends and with his community. And I’m happy for Larry for achieving that in his life.
I see a man who will never be forgotten. Lakewood residents and community leaders will have their fond Larry Van Nostran stories and remembrances that they will tell for years and years, for as long as they live. Many of us here today have those great memories of fun and meaningful times spent with Larry.
And future Lakewood residents—those not even born yet—will hear of Larry Van Nostran for generations to come and appreciate what he helped create in this community.
Everyone has a legacy of some kind…some mark on the people around them that will live beyond them. Larry’s was a big and broad legacy, one that impacts everyone who lives or works in Lakewood and will continue impacting them for many years to come.
Larry was elected to the Lakewood city council in the mid-1970s during an era when there was a lot of turmoil in our city. It wasn’t like it is today. There were recall elections, lawsuits, name-calling, mud-slinging, and a lot of chaos. It was not a pretty time.
Larry believed in good government and in having a city that was professionally run and stable. Fortunately, he wasn’t alone in that thinking, and he became a leader of residents seeking to return our city government to a better footing. He helped Lakewood get through some very tough years. In many ways, he held the city together.
He was a steadying presence in Lakewood forever after that.
He helped guide Lakewood to where I believe we are today—a stable, well-run city, with a collegial council, and a caring community of residents.
Lakewood residents in the future will hopefully continue to enjoy that legacy Larry helped create during his 37 years on the city council.
Larry made sure public safety was always a top priority for our city. He knew that one reason so many people like to live in Lakewood is the sense of safety and community spirit here. I will always think of Larry when we discuss public safety. That will be one of his legacies.
He was a strong supporter of the Lakewood Award of Valor event, where public safety personnel, volunteers and residents are honored for their dedication, hard work and courage. Larry was there for 30 straight Award of Valor events, until he missed the one we held two weeks ago. That spoke volumes for how bad a health situation he was in.
One of Larry’s proudest achievements was the founding of the Lakewood Youth Sports Hall of Fame and its sustainment for over 30 years. The Hall of Fame has honored thousands of Lakewood youth during that time and has helped promote a vigorous sports and recreational culture in our city. Larry told me last year how he would get approached from time to time by residents in their 20s, 30s, and even 40s on how much their Hall of Fame award meant to them, and how focused it had kept them on doing well in their youth. Larry and all of us appreciate the value in that. Larry’s significant role in Lakewood’s strong tradition of family recreation and sports will be a legacy that will live on.
Speaking of sports, Larry was competitive. He definitely liked to win and he played hard. I’m reminded of political cartoons on his office wall that showed him battling against Long Beach’s mayor on issues from a couple decades ago. Larry was a strong fighter for Lakewood. But I have to tell you, he was also a good team player…especially if you were on his team.
Larry was fond of saying “you can’t go it alone and be a good city council member.” And….“a city council works best when it works as a team.”
It didn’t mean Larry felt that council members always had to agree about everything. But he always tried to remember that at the end of the day, we’re all working for Lakewood, and we should try to be collegial about it. And we should try our hardest to work together as team.
In his 37 years on the city council, Larry stood as a fierce defender of Lakewood’s values, and he helped guide our community with wisdom and determination. I know that Larry’s greatest aspiration – and one he achieved – was to keep our community safe, ensure its continuing prosperity and preserve its neighborhood quality of life.
Larry is gone from this earth now, but his enduring legacy will live on–for Lakewood and for those who had the privilege to know him.
Thank you, Larry for all that you did…and for all the great memories that I and many many Lakewood residents will forever have of you.”

–Information, photo provided by The City of Lakewood to Hews Media Group, Los Cerritos Community Newspaper.

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