Larry Crandell
Paul Wellman (file)

Larry Crandell, the genial emcee for thousands of charity functions large and small, died Tuesday afternoon at the age of 93. So widely loved that he was nicknamed “Mr. Santa Barbara,” Crandell made his fortune in real estate in partnership with Michael Towbes after a successful business with the Arthur Murray Dance school in the 1950s. He was awarded a Purple Heart in the Army Air Corps during World War II. In his long career as a volunteer, Crandell was able to find the humor in any auction item and used it to coax larger and larger bids in live auctions and events from college to preschool level. Once determined, a public celebration of his life will be announced. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, anyone “with generous intentions” donate to Unity Shoppe, Life Chronicles, or the Larry Crandell Fund at the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara.


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