4/7/1938 – 7/12/2021
Larry passed away on July 12 at Serenity House in Santa Barbara. He will be sorely missed by his family and many friends in the United States and in Mabuhay, The Philippines. Larry loved to laugh and was a great friend to everyone. He was a loving brother, son, husband, father, uncle, grandfather and great-grandfather.
Born on April 7, 1938, in DeKalb, Illinois, he moved with his family to Southern California during World War II, where his father built the family home in Lawndale. Larry enjoyed ocean fishing with his dad and three sisters while growing up. He loved music and was an amazing dancer who could whisk any girl off her feet with the swing style of the time.
Larry attended Leuzinger High School and later took additional college courses which served him well later in his career moving into management at both Inglewood Farms Dairy in Torrance and Carnation Dairy in Los Angeles. Larry married Jean Hiatala in 1959 and they had two children, Cindy and Larry Dennis. In 1967, Larry married Sharon Harris and they had two children, Shari and Darlene.
In 1979, Larry and his then wife, Aileen, became independent long-distance truckers with Bekins Van Lines and visited every state except Alaska and Hawaii. Larry always remembered to bring his kids a little something back when he returned from being on the road with Bekins. Specifically, a huge bag of coins for them to split or a big bag of candy and treats.
What he will be remembered for the most will be his love of dancing and watching a good ole’ comedy that he could laugh out loud to with that infectious laugh of his. He always remembered to say I love you and he was always a loving and thoughtful grandpa, affectionately nicknamed, Meatball Papa.
Following his divorce, Larry settled in Bullhead City, Arizona, then Laughlin, Nevada, where he worked his way into management at Harrah’s Casino and Hotel. While there, he became a part-time caregiver to his mother Frances, who had Alzheimer’s disease. Eventually he retired early to become her full-time caregiver. No one gave more love and tender attention to a mother than did our father Larry.
In 2009, Larry moved to The Philippines where he married Rocelyn ‘Rose’ Dorias and began a new chapter of his life in Mabuhay on Negros Oriental Island. Life in the barangay of Mabuhay, population just over 2,000 people, was a special time is Larry’s life. Together they built a house and a new business venture with her daughter Karylle Dorias, the “Rose and Karylle” store. Larry had learned carpentry finish work in the states and built shelves and finished the rooftop seating area which became “Rose’s Loft.”
He became the “Kano” (a male American) whom all knew because of his love of children, generosity and fun-loving nature. To celebrate Rose’s birthday on December 24, Christmas Eve, they gave food boxes (homemade fried chicken, spaghetti, pancit) to each child and mother along with toys for the children. This is how birthdays are celebrated there – giving not receiving gifts. At midnight each New Year’s Eve children gathered together since the Kano would toss coins into the street. He walked early every day with their dog Sleepy and everyone knew them both.
In 2019 Larry and Rose moved to Carpinteria, California, for Larry to receive further medical treatment. They lived with his sister Sheila and dog Tulu, who quickly became Larry’s adoring dog who followed him everywhere.
Larry is survived by his wife Rose (Dorias) of Carpinteria and Mabuhay, The Philippines; daughters Cindy (Dale) Piatt, Shari (Doug) Evans, Darlene Cook and fiancé Jim Reis; step-daughter Karylle Dorias; grandchildren Eric (Alesia) Juhl, Vincent (Michelle) Juhl, Sean (Brandi) Evans, Randy Evans, Kaitlyn (Josua) Gutierrez, Corey and Austin Bittner, Larry Dennis II; nine great-grandchildren Violette, Ryder, Primrose, Dean, Maverick, Liv, Mia, Maxwell, Alex; sisters Barbara Gebhart, Betty Birdsall and Sheila Tenold; former wife Sharon (Harris) of Hesperia, California; former wife Aileen (Barton) of Newport Beach; and Larry’s good friend since seventh grade, Gary Tippins.
In addition to his parents Conrad Earl Cook and Frances Patricia Cook, he was preceded in death by his former wife Jean (Hiatala), his son Larry Dennis, beloved uncle and aunt Romey and Jane Cook, and several aunts, uncles and cousins.