Submitter’s name and relationship to the service member: Gloria Duffin, daughter
Year entering the military: Oct. 29, 1942
Year leaving the military: May 11, 1944
Branch of service: US Navy Construction Battalion (Seabees)
Larry was born Lowery Lee Neal on Oct. 7, 1915, in Fort Worth, Texas. He surprised his parents when born as a twin and they decided to name him after their doctor: Dr. Lowery.
With his Texas accent, people in California thought when he said “Lowery” he was saying “Larry,” so he finally just accepted being called Larry.
As a young man, he visited his uncle Lee Neal in Los Angeles, where he met Lee’s sister-in-law, Janie Hill. He and Janie were married on Sept. 18, 1939, in Los Angeles.
Larry enlisted as a Carpenter’s Mate, Second Class, in the U.S. Navy on Oct. 29, 1942, specifically in a Construction Battalion “Seabees.” He and his fellow Seabees had to build their own barracks for boot camp at Camp Peary near Williamsburg, Va. After boot camp, he was transferred to the South Pacific theater as a member of the 58th Naval Construction Battalion. During a Japanese aerial attack, Larry was blown into the air by a bomb, then crawled under cover. After the attack, it was discovered that his back was broken. No one could imagine how he had been able to crawl to safety with his terrible injury. He was then evacuated to the U.S. Naval Hospital at Glenwood Springs, Colo. That hospital was the famous Hotel Colorado. He was discharged May 11, 1944, with one year, six months and 21 days’ service.
He and Janie were married for more than 63 years. They had two children: Gloria Francis and Nancy Lee. When he passed away, they had four grandchildren and two great-granddaughters.
Larry passed away in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Feb. 18, 2003. He is buried in the Eternal Valley Memorial Park cemetery in Santa Clarita, Calif., near his wife, mother and many relatives.