Larry Franklin

Larry FranklinThe world lost an amazing man on January 9, 2018, when Larry “Rocky Balboa” Franklin, as his wife lovingly called him, fought his last fight after 14 months of challenging the after-effects of a stroke.

In spite of all the difficulties he faced, Larry always began each new day with a positive attitude, determination and an infectious smile on his face. He was an inspiration to everyone around him, even to his doctors and nurses.

Larry Wayne Franklin was born in Mojave, Calif., on Sept. 3, 1944, to Sarah Ellen Moffat and Jolly Mcager Franklin. He spent most of his early life in Mojave and went to school at Mojave High School and Lancaster High School. His parents owned a restaurant in Mojave, and in order to earn his allowance, Larry had to perform clean-up chores there every day after school. His parents instilled in him the tenacity and honorable work ethic that followed him throughout the rest of his life.

Larry enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1965 and from 1966 to 1970 served in Vietnam, where he earned a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star. After his discharge, he had a wide array of careers, ranging from construction work to bar owner. For 10 years he owned the Corner Pocket and the Side Pockets, which were familiar hang-outs in Ridgecrest in the 1970s.

His last position was as a range technician at Sa-Tech at the Naval Air Weapons Station, China Lake. Larry loved his job and enjoyed mentoring the “young studs” who worked with him. He received tremendous pride in showing them the ropes, and they affectionately referred to him as “Old Man.” Larry’s passion was working and staying busy, so much so that after health issues forced him to retire, he actually had tears in his eyes when his boss told him he had to quit. He immensely enjoyed hard work, team spirit and great friendships in his workplace.

Larry also loved golfing, NASCAR, stock car racing, fishing and his beautiful red Corvette. In his younger years, he loved fast cars and fast women.

In 2005 he started chasing slower women and met his future wife, Patti. It took onlly 12 years, but Larry finally made an honest woman out of her. They were married on April 29, 2017, at Loma Linda Medical Center, when Larry had to undergo additional medical treatment and their original wedding was postponed. Both of them being Virgos, Larry and Patti celebrated “birthday week” the first week of each September. Every year was a new adventure, and their favorite get-aways were Maui, Catalina and Newport Beach. Larry didn’t care where they went as long as there were a golf course and Black Velvet.

Larry’s loss is mourned by many loved ones, especially his family, wife Patti and their devoted puppy-kitty Kiki McGeekee; son Russ and daughter-in-law Crystal and granddaughters Kaylee and Ashlee; daughter Melissa and grandson Cole and granddaughter Aubrey; brother James and sister-in-law Karen; and many nieces, nephews and cousins. Larry’s son Greg Franklin and sister Rita Milburn preceded him in passing.

A Celebration of Love to honor Larry will be held on Saturday. Feb. 3, at noon at Tommy T’s Sports Bar, 117 E. Ridgecrest Blvd., Ridgecrest. A side dish to share and funny Larry stories would be appreciated. This will definitely be a Larry-worthy event!

The family extends their thanks to everyone in the community for their outpouring of love and support at this sad time and to the Ridgecrest Hospice Center, who made Larry’s transition to Heaven an easier one. Patti also thanks all of Larry’s co-workers and friends for coming over to fix everything in the house that has now been breaking. Larry would be proud of you!

— Submitted by the loved ones of Aaron Kirschenman

Story First Published: 2018-01-26