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Posted on June 16, 2015 | 12:33 p.m.

Larry Scalise of Santa Barbara, 1933-2015

Source: Murphy Scalise

Larry Scalise
Larry Scalise

Lawrence Fredrick Scalise, surrounded by his loving family, peacefully passed away on June 12, 2015, at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara. He will be truly missed by all.

Larry was born to Mary and Albert Scalise on April 25, 1933, in Des Moines, Iowa. He was the younger brother of Teresa (Scalise) Lemus. A lifelong resident of the state of Iowa, Larry and his wife, Molly, moved to Santa Barbara, Calif., in 2000.

Larry graduated from Dowling High School in Des Moines in 1951 and earned his bachelor of arts degree from the University of Iowa in 1955. While in college, a friend suggested he take a law class and in doing so discovered his life’s purpose. He graduated from the University of Iowa Law School, receiving his L.L.B degree in 1958. The world would never be the same.

A fixture in the Iowa legal system for decades, Larry’s career as an attorney extended to all corners of the state and eventually the nation. His jobs included assistant Polk County attorney, first director of the Iowa Liquor Control Commission, vice chairman of the Campaign Finance Disclosure Commission and vice chairman of the Iowa State Racing and Gaming Commission. However, his most prominent role was as attorney general of Iowa from 1965-1967. One of the most important pieces of work during this time was to schedule auto safety hearings as part of the National Highway Safety Act. This eventually led to the implementation of seatbelts in every car.

Since the 1960s, Larry had been in private practice, becoming one of the state’s most prominent attorneys. He continued to be an active trial lawyer into his 80s. He initially formed the law firm of Scalise Scism Gentry Brick and Brick. Over time, the firm of Scalise Scism Sandre Uhl and McConville was formed. In 1993, Larry, along with other members of the firm, merged with the Smith Wimer Schneider Stiles firm, where he remained until 1995. From 1990-1996, he also served as chairman of the Board of Directors of Mercy Hospital in Des Moines.

In 1995, Larry left Des Moines and accepted an assignment with the federal government, becoming deputy independent counsel in the matter of Henry Cisneros, then-U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, D.C.

He eventually returned to Iowa to practice white-collar crime defense, personal injury matters and other disciplines. In 2007, he became a partner in the firm of Coppola McConville Coppola Hockenberg and Scalise. He also served as a court-appointed mediator for the Superior Court of Santa Barbara, having become a certified mediator by the American Academy of ADR Attorneys in 2004.

Larry was a member of numerous legal organizations, including the Iowa and Polk County Bar Associations, the International Academy of Law and Science, the American Trial Lawyers Association, the National Association of Attorneys General (Consumer and Investor Protection Committee) and vice chairman of Governors’ Representatives to the Presidential Public Land Law Review Commission.

Larry was the embodiment of the Iowa motto, “Our Liberties We Prize and Our Rights We Will Maintain.”

Larry’s most impressive attribute was the way in which he influenced people’s lives for the better in the courtroom, at a party and at home. His life was all about family, friends and colleagues. He was a great adviser and mentor. His ability to make anyone he met feel like family was a true gift. His warmth and hospitality will long be remembered. His love of cooking, food and wine were epic. There was always a place at his table for everyone.

In addition to his busy life practicing law, Larry was a devoted husband, brother, uncle, cousin, father and grandfather. More than anything, family was most important. Larry is survived by his wife, Molly (Murphy) Scalise, and seven children, Tammy Scalise, Kathleen Parker (Ed), John Burke (Deirdre), Murphy Scalise (Dolores), Suzy Murray (Patrick), Mary Becker (Jeff) and Teresa Scalise Sheahan (Ryan). He and Molly have 15 grandchildren: Leah, Sean, Conner, Brennan, Kevin, Jackson, Ross, Andrew, Brigid, Kathleen, Ryan, Luc, Leo, Felix and Lily. He is also survived by his aunt Yolanda Hazher, sister Teresa Lemus, cousins Richard Ortale (Stephanie), Tom Ortale and Patty Ortale, and numerous nieces and nephews.

Special thanks to Dr. Jeffrey Kupperman, Dr. Alan Rosenblum, Dr. Jeffrey Sager and all of the nurses involved in Larry’s care these last three months, as well as the staff at Cottage Hospital South 5, MICU, Rehabilitation Hospital and Alto Lucero Transitional Care.

A celebration of Larry’s life will be held at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, 1300 East Valley Road in Montecito, on Thursday, June 18 at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his honor to Dowling Catholic High School, 1400 Buffalo Road, West Des Moines, Iowa 50265.

There will be a celebration of Larry’s life held in Des Moines in the near future.


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