As a lifelong Monrovian, Larry Spicer has always called Monrovia home. He learned the value of respecting others from his parents. But he also experienced the reality of segregation in Monrovia firsthand. He grew up in a family with two brothers, Samuel and Richard and two sisters, Jo Ann and Janet. They lived at 433 E. Los Angeles St. in Monrovia. As a young child, Larry saw his parents -- Samuel and Geneva -- always helping others. He recalls them helping family and friends by bringing them to live in their home, sharing meals, and giving f His parents worked for the
County of Los Angeles as foster parents for almost ten years, taking care of children whose parents were incarcerated for abuse or drugs. Later, his parents started their own foster care business – the ‘Spicer Small Family Home’ -- caring for ambulatory and non-ambulatory clients for over 30 years. His family was also active in Monrovia’s Second Baptist Church, giving service to that faith community. Bigotry was a fact of life in the Monrovia Larry grew up in. He said he was taught by his parents to “Love everyone, but just not to ‘cross the line.’” – the unwritten ‘line’ (Olive Avenue) that separated the area where the Whites could live and circulate, from the area where Blacks and Hispanics could. Larry attended Monrovia public schools from kindergarten through high school. At Huntington Elementary, a segregated school, his classmates were all African-Americans or Mexican-Americans. Although the school classrooms were segregated, the after-school parks and recreation programs were not. In those places, Larry and his African-American friends competed against all-White elementary schools in the district. Little League baseball was also not segregated. Larry noted the irony that African-American students were allowed to compete against the White students in sports, but not learn together with them in a classroom. When Larry began Clifton Middle School, he experienced his first integrated school environment. All the children he had been playing against from the segregated elementary schools in the district were now together. When he entered Monrovia High School, he encountered demonstrations during his freshman, sophomore and junior years. He knew not to participate for fear his dad “would put the leather piece to me.” His dad’s refrain was, “We send you to school to learn, not to demonstrate.” The demonstrating students wanted more African86 “As a young child, I always saw my parents helping others with living accommodations, food, financial assistance, whatever was needed. Their good work inspires me to this day.” Larry Spicer American staff -- teachers, bus drivers, administrators and a club of their own because they weren’t allowed in other clubs. Larry shared, "My senior year at Monrovia High School was a good year. Finally, all of the changes that we wanted had happened. We now had African- American teachers, bus drivers, and administration. We also had our own club -- the Black Student Union (BSU)." In 1973, Larry enlisted in the United States Army and served our country honorably for 21 years. He wanted to see the world and to travel, and the Army provided opportunities for service outside the USA. In the military he became an expert Nuclear Biological Chemical specialist and received 15 military awards and decorations. After retirement, Larry earned an Associate of Arts degree in Applied Business Management from Excelsior College in Buffalo, New York. Larry and his wife Delphine have been married for 22 years (in 2016) and are among the proudest parents in town. They have three children, each one a high-achieving academic honor student educated in the Monrovia public schools. After being raised by parents who had dedicated their lives to serving others, and choosing a career that puts his life on the line in service to others, the natural next step in Larry's life was service to his community, Monrovia. His earlier experiences with bigotry and segregation and a desire to make Monrovia a more inclusive community for people of all backgrounds motivated him to be part of all kinds of organizations and eventually to be one of the City’s leaders at the highest level. His service to his community began as a parent volunteer in his children’s schools. At Bradoaks Elementary, he was a Watch Dog Dad and a POP (Peace on Patrol) at Clifton Elementary School and Monrovia High School. Larry shared, “I was active in the Y Life-Friday Night Live Project for local youths. I began as a Red Cross Volunteer and Chair of the Boys Scouts of America Nominating Committee for the Lucky 87 Larry and Delphine on their wedding day.. Baldwin District and a board member for ‘Make A Difference Day’. I am a graduate of the MAP (Monrovia Area Partnerships) Leadership Academy. I was a member of the Monrovia Police Citizen Committee, a member of the Community Mediation Team (CMT), a partnership of committed Monrovia, Duarte and LA County Leaders and Stakeholders, focusing on crime prevention and gang violence reduction. I am a graduate of the Community Violence Intervention Prevention Institute.” Larry is also a special volunteer with the Pasadena Tournament of Roses, known as a “White Suiter.” Even as he reached out across the city, he has always stayed close to his church, Second Baptist, where he has been an active member for 58 years. Larry described his rise to the City’s leadership, "During the gang shootings, I was asked by then Mayor Rob Hammond to get involved. From being an involved volunteeri in the neighborhoods, I decided to apply for the Planning Commissioner position. I was appointed as a Commissioner and served for three years. Then I was appointed as a Council Member for a year to fill the vacancy left vacant by Clarence Shaw, who was called to Active Duty. After being an appointed Council Member for a year, I decided to run for the position and was elected to the Council in April of 2013." In April, 2017, Larry was reelected to his second term on the City Council. In thinking about what needs to happen now, Larry’s belief is “we need to continue working together as a team to be inclusive and keep the whole community involved with city activities. To continue with programs like the MAP (Monrovia Area Partnership) that continue to bring us together.” Larry embodies the spirit of hopefulness combined with hard work necessary to make that a reality.