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Larry Crandell’s 88th Birthday Roast Provides a Lift to Unity Shoppe

Family and friends gather to talk about Mr. Santa Barbara's favorite subject ... philanthropy. And him.

Larry Crandell was treated to a sidesplitting roast from his closest admirers last week in celebration of his 88th birthday. The event was hosted by Unity Shoppe at the nonprofit organization’s new building at 110 W. Sola St.

Crandell is fondly nicknamed “Mr. Santa Barbara” and was named the community’s Man of the Year in 1989 for his many charitable contributions and civic work.

More than 100 guests gathered to honor the mirthful man of the hour, who was greeted with applause, firm handshakes and warm hugs when he entered the building that will soon be the former home of Magellan’s Travel Supplies.

During the reception, Crandall’s friends and colleagues were treated to an array of delicious hors d’oeuvres as the guests mingled and viewed an array of cherished medals, mementos and photographs displayed in the room.

A slideshow presentation also featured snapshots of Crandall’s memorable life as family man, decorated World War II bombardier and navigator, entrepreneur, college basketball champion and auctioneer, which were just a few of his many accomplishments.

Later, guests were welcomed by Unity Shoppe executive director Tom Reed, who graciously thanked everyone for joining the celebration and gave a heartfelt thanks to Crandell for his continuous fundraising efforts.

Next, Reed introduced co-emcees Tom Parker, president of the Hutton Parker Foundation, and Andrew Firestone, senior vice president of West Coast Asset Management and former star of The Bachelor, as the verbal roasting began and diners settled in for the evening entertainment. Roaster Matt Sanchez, executive director of AllforOne Youth & Mentoring Program, hit a home run with the crowd as he batted out a series of one-liners toward Crandell.

“Larry is loved and revered by everyone in the community, but he’s not the man we are talking about tonight,” said Sanchez. “You don’t look 88, Larry, but I remember when you did!”

The trio of Crandell sons Michael, Larry Jr. and Steven, along with Crandell’s charming granddaughter, Josette Clancy, sang a special birthday melody that was appropriately titled “Larry” to a tune from The Beauty and the Beast.

Other roasters included Montecito Journal publisher Jim Buckley; former KEYT anchor Debby Davison; author Erin Graffy; Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Brian Hill; Donna-Christine and Michael McGuire, philanthropists Anne and Michael Towbes; and Tim Tremblay, president of Tremblay Financial Services.

Crandell has been a supporter of Unity Shoppe for many years and helped the organization obtain its first building at 1236 Chapala St., in 1988. Because of his support, Unity Shoppe is able to serve the clients of more than 300 other nonprofit organizations in Santa Barbara County from its new headquarters. Unity Shoppe serves more than 24,000 clients annually.

Click here for more information about Unity Shoppe, or call 805.965.4122.

Click here for a previously published Noozhawk Talks interview with Larry Crandell.

— Noozhawk society correspondent Melissa Walker can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews, and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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