Larry Littlefield: 1939 to 2005

Larry's Senior Picture

Memorial Service for Larry

Dos Picos Park,  Saturday, May 7, 2005, 2 p.m.


Larry's last love, saying good-by.

Early arrivals, trying to stay warm.

Julie and family and friend.

Larry's daughters.

Larry's son.

Fay Page, Larry's long time friend.

One of Larry's favorite times.

Some of Larry's biggest fans.

Larry's friends.

More of Larry's friends.

 

Julie Peterson Jensen (59) and Larry found each other again after many years. They were planning to marry later this year. For those who would like to send her their condolences, her e-mail address is  skyacres01@msn.com. 

Larry Littlefield; journalist who had a small-town touch

By Jack Williams
STAFF WRITER, San Diego Union-Tribune

No matter where he went or what he wrote, the small-town atmosphere of his Pacific Beach youth had a profound effect on Larry Littlefield's journalism career.

He enjoyed the informality and intimacy of plying his trade on community or suburban newspapers. He embraced the multiple roles typical in small-town journalism: editor, reporter, columnist and photographer. And he never tired of illuminating the lives of the little guys – those who easily could be overlooked in a big-city environment.

"Larry could see the value of the 'small story' and turn it into a big one," said Bill Swank, a longtime friend and baseball historian. "He had such a feel for people, and he could really touch the essence of a person in his writing."

Mr. Littlefield, who retired two years ago from the Ramona Sentinel, died April 16 at Banner Desert Medical Center in Mesa, Ariz. He was 65.

The cause of death was congestive heart failure, said Julie Jensen, his fiancee.

For the last 13 years of a career that spanned four decades, Mr. Littlefield took on a variety of assignments for the Ramona Sentinel, typing out columns and features in his trademark two-fingered style and serving as sports editor. He had been sports editor of the Escondido Times-Advocate from 1968 to 1972 and a photographer for the paper until 1983.

The Times-Advocate merged in 1995 with the Oceanside Blade-Citizen to form the North County Times.

Mr. Littlefield started his career at the North Shores Sentinel, a weekly based in Pacific Beach.

"I think he found peace and traquillity in Ramona," said Andy Cribbs, a Superior Court judge in Indio who grew up with Mr. Littlefield. "When he graduated from Mission Bay High School in 1957, Pacific Beach was still a small town. Not long thereafter the beach areas and all of San Diego started ballooning."

Mr. Littlefield never lost contact with Mission Bay High alumni from his era. Two years ago, he reunited with Julie Jensen, a 1959 Mission Bay grad whom he had dated in high school. She had been widowed in 2002 and he had lost his wife, Elizabeth Hastings Littlefield, in 1991.

"Larry and I re-connected two years ago and were planning on getting married this year. He never changed. He had health problems but it didn't matter. He was still my old Larry."

The couple had lived together in Prescott before moving in December to Mesa.

Mr. Littlefield, a San Diego native, decided while growing up in Crown Point that newspapers would be his career.

He became sports editor of his Mission Bay High paper, the Beachcomber, and wrote for the North Shores Sentinel while still in high school.

Although baseball became his favorite sport, his exceptional speed steered him to track. In 1957, he set school Class B records of 10.3 in the 100-yard dash and 23.2 in the 220. As a junior, he was part of a record-setting Class B 660-yard relay team.

Also in his youth, Mr. Littlefield would take the bus to old Lane Field with his buddies to watch the Pacific Coast League Padres. He eventually assembled a voluminous collection of baseball cards, sports and celebrity autographs and jazz recordings.

In the 1970s, he shot photos of major league players for Topps baseball cards. Some photos of San Diego Padres he shot in 1974 appeared on cards that Topps prematurely labeled "Washington" when it appeared the team would relocate to the nation's capital. The mislabeled cards were corrected in a later printing but, because of their rarity, the originals are valuable collectors' items to this day.

Although writing was his first love, Mr. Littlefield developed an interest in photography at an early age. "He was constantly carrying a camera with him," Cribbs said. "He always knew there was something out there somewhere to take a picture of. Sports or just the landscape. He took some incredible landscape photos over the years.

Survivors include daughters, Leah Flanagan of Ramona and Cara Silva of San Diego; son, Laren Littlefield Jr. of Ramona; stepdaughter, Patti Rogers of San Marcos; stepson, Ray Smith of San Diego; and four grandchildren. He also is survived by his fiancee, Julie Jensen of Mesa, Ariz.

A celebration of life is scheduled for 2 p.m. May 7 at the Dos Picos Park pavilion in Ramona.

Jack Williams: (619) 542-4587; jack.williams@uniontrib.com
 

Longtime Ramona Sentinel journalist Larry Littlefield, pictured working by the glow of a computor monitor and a small flashlight to meet his deadline after Santa Ana winds knocked out the power to most of downtown Ramona in January of 2002, died Saturday, April 16.

Longtime Ramona Sentinel journalist Larry Littlefield, pictured working by the glow of a computer monitor and a small flashlight to meet his deadline after Santa Ana winds knocked out the power to most of downtown Ramona in January of 2002, died Saturday, April 16, 2005.

“Thanks for the Memories”
Maureen Robertson 21.APR.05
Ramona Sentinel

“Thanks for the Memories.” Those are the words on the card Larry Littlefield handed to friends when he retired from the Ramona Sentinel in June of 2003 and moved to Arizona. He handed out a lot of cards, because he had a lot of friends.

Laren Wayde “Larry” Littlefield died Saturday, April 16, in Banner Desert Medical Center in Mesa, Ariz., of congestive heart failure. He was 65.

A journalist since his teenage years at Mission Bay High School, he never considered another career.

All he needed were his two index fingers and keyboard to spin simple words into lasting stories for his readers.

He never took a typing class, but he made his living typing for 50 years at numerous newspapers, among them the North Shore Sentinel, San Diego Union, Times Advocate, and, for the last 13 years of his career, Ramona Sentinel.

From his first day at the Ramona Sentinel on May 24, 1990, until the evening he left his retirement party in June of 2003, Larry never stopped thinking of stories or making friends in Ramona.

He proved he was ready for anything during his first afternoon on the job in Ramona. Hired to write stories for a monthly business magazine the Sentinel had planned to start, he responded to what sounded like a minor accident at Ninth and Main streets. It was a fatality that landed him a front page story and photograph in the next week’s issue.

Larry soon introduced his “Behind the Front Page” column to the community, and before long Sentinel readers turned to Page A2 every Thursday to keep up with his latest vignettes.


Former North County sports editor remembered for his contributions
By: JOHN MAFFEI - Staff Writer

North County Times

Larry Littlefield, sports editor of the Escondido Times-Advocate from 1968-72 and a columnist and photographer at the paper until 1983, died April 16 in Mesa, Ariz., of congestive heart failure.He was 65.

Littlefield worked for various other publications throughout his career and was sports editor of the Ramona Sentinel for several years until he retired in 2003.

 

He shot preseason photos for the Padres and Chargers and shot photos for the Topps Co., one of the leading producers of trading cards, for several years.

"Larry was an exceptional journalist," said George Cordry, former managing editor at the Times-Advocate and the man who brought Littlefield to Escondido from the North Shore Sentinel. "He could make readers laugh or cry, sometimes both in the same story.

"Larry loved to write about people rather than things. He was able to personalize many of his stories or columns whether it was sports or news.

"Larry was loved and respected by coaches throughout the North County, and more importantly by readers throughout the area at the old Times-Advocate."

Al Schaffer, longtime boys basketball coach at Ramona High, remembered Littlefield fondly.

"Larry was truly an unforgettable character," Schaffer said. "He was a unique guy who loved Ramona High, its coaches and athletes.

"He moved away from the area, but he kept in touch with everyone. He was always making phone calls to his friends."

Armen Keteyian, a best-selling author and eight-time Emmy Award winner at NBC-TV who is currently at CBS and HBO, worked with Littlefield at the Times-Advocate.

"When Larry wrote about people, he was tremendous," Keteyian said. "His people pieces were something special.

"I learned a lot about writing just reading his stuff."

Littlefield attended Mission Bay High where he was a sprinter on the track team. He still holds the school Class B record in the 100-yard dash, running it in 10.3 seconds and the 220 in 23.2. He graduated from Mission Bay in 1959.

"Larry was (an) Everyman," said Bill Swank, an author, baseball historian and classmate of Littlefield's at Mission Bay. "He saw the good in everyone. He was just a lovable guy."

Rick Smith, longtime media relations director for the Chargers and St. Louis Rams, was covering high school track for the old San Diego Tribune when Littlefield was a prep sprinter.

"Poor Larry," Smith said. "He was a good Class B sprinter at Mission Bay. He once ran out of gas at the City Class B prelims. They ran 240 yards instead of 220, bad measurement.

"Larry had very good writing talent and was a pleasant guy, good to be around."

Littlefield is survived by his companion Julie Jensen, son Laren, daughters Cara and Leah, and stepdaughter Patty Rogers of San Marcos.

There will be a service for Littlefield at 2 p.m. on May 7 at Dos Picos Park in Ramona.

Contact staff writer John Maffei at (760) 740-3547 or jmaffei@nctimes.com.
 



Larry Littlefield (57), Vicki Paul, Margery Crothers Vanderpool,
Mel Rizzo (57), at the June 1, 2002 breakfast.
 


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