Ladera Ranch community comes together for crossing guard after his wife dies

Jessica De Nova Image
Tuesday, October 24, 2023
Ladera Ranch community comes together for beloved crossing guard
An Orange County community held a surprise farewell for a recently widowed crossing guard who is moving to be closer to his children and grandchildren.

LADERA RANCH, Calif. (KABC) -- A crossing guard mourning the death of his wife arrived to a surprise farewell from his community during one of his last shifts.

Larry Lanterman said he has been working on the corner near Oso Grande Elementary in Ladera Ranch for about three years.

"I come up here and I thought, 'What in the world is that on my corner?'" Lanterman said as he arrived to the gathering.

They were families, grateful for the man they said went above and beyond with their children.

Five-year-old Kate Currie said "Mr. Larry," as he's affectionately known, is kind. He's known for gifting Kate flowers every day.

"I feel very sad that he's leaving, but I just hope that he's happy in Palm Springs," Colin Currie said.

Melanie Currie organized the gathering, with people holding signs and cheering for Lanterman.

"Larry has shown genuine care for our kids every single day, and when we caught wind of what he was going through, our hearts were broken," Melanie said. "So we just wanted to try to do something to make him feel as loved as he makes us feel every day."

Melanie referred to Lanterman's loss. His wife of 30 years died in September. He's now moving to be closer to his children and grandchildren.

He said the people in the community helped get him through tough days - whether with a simple smile or a game of cards.

"It's really helped me even after the passing of my wife to have something where I could come in and feel I'm among friends here," Lanterman said.

Christina Precioso, who shared the corner working with Lanterman, said he's very deserving of the community support. She described him as an amazing person who has been dedicated to helping the children in the community.

Neighbors showed their appreciation through donations to a GoFundMe page.

The crossing guard was humbled to hear it was at more than $3,000 on the day of the surprise.

"Gee whiz. I can't believe that," Lanterman said.

With his friends wishing him well, "Mr. Larry" said he's ready for the next chapter, bringing with him his favorite memories of the people on his corner.