My Dad

For those interested, I’ve pasted the article from the local newspaper, the Siskiyou Daily News about my dad.

Yreka mourns death of Larry Bacon
Updated: Tuesday, January 6, 2004 6:06 AM PST

YREKA – The city of Yreka lost one of its most well-known residents Friday when former city attorney Larry Bacon was found dead at his cabin near Callahan.

According to the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Department, Bacon had gone to his cabin earlier in the day and when he failed to contact his family by late afternoon, a neighbor was asked to check on him. The neighbor found Bacon lying on the floor of his workshop, which was detached from the cabin. The exact cause of death is pending the medical examiner’s report.

Bacon, 63, had recently retired from his 32 years as Yreka’s city attorney and was busy enjoying his retirement when he died, friends said.

He will not only be remembered for his service to the city, but also for his work as former manager of the Yreka Western Railroad and Blue Goose Excursion Train. In May 1994, he was honored as the Yreka Citizen of the Year.

“Larry Bacon … has been the glue that has held Yreka together,” said Bacon’s friend and neighbor Jim Eckman during the 1994 Yreka Citizen of the Year Banquet. Eckman was quoting Bacon’s former law partner, Siskiyou County Superior Court Judge Robert Kaster.

A native of Phoenix, Ariz., Bacon was born on Sept. 11, 1940, to Glenn and Helen Bacon. In 1947, his family moved to Sacramento, where he worked as a brakeman for Southern Pacific Railroad while attending high school and college. He graduated from U.C. Berkeley in 1963 and married Nancy J. Morris.

In 1966, Bacon, Nancy and their three children, Kathy, Mike and David, moved to Yreka, where he took a job as an assistant public defender with the law firm Tebbe, Correia and Kleaver. He became a full partner in 1969.

In 1970, Bacon was appointed as Yreka city attorney and was involved in several high profile projects that have virtually changed the face of Yreka. During an interview with the Siskiyou Daily News on Oct. 2, 2002, Bacon said he considered one of his greatest achievements his involvement in helping to obtain the Fall Creek water supply for the city.

“Before Fall Creek, Yreka was very much prone to water rationing in the summer time and residents often couldn’t water their lawns in dry years,” he said.

Bacon also helped to draft the building of the Yreka Community Center and Theater complex, and countless improvements to the city’s infrastructure. His work helping to establish the city’s historical district dramatically improved efforts to help preserve Victorian-style houses as well as the downtown historic section of Miner Street.

“I love history and this area has some fascinating history,” Bacon said after his retirement in October 2002. “When I first came to Yreka, Miner Street was a disaster with high vacancies and very few businesses. There was even talk of tearing down the historic district and putting up a mall. Fortunately, people saw the benefit of trying to preserve those areas.”

In 1986, Bacon put his love of history to good use by volunteering to operate the Blue Goose Excursion Train. The Blue Goose, with its fully restored No. 19 steam engine, not only helped attract tourists off the freeway, but it also helped to preserve the Yreka Western Railroad. Bacon’s position with the Blue Goose remained volunteer from 1986 to 1989. His duties became a paid position when the railroad was purchased by Kyle Railways in 1989.

Throughout his years at Yreka Western, Bacon did what he could to add to the historical ambiance of the train – going so far as to ride a large Penny Farthing replica bicycle in the parking lot while passengers were loading the train.

“I won the bike in a raffle at a softball game,” Bacon explained. “It took me about a week to learn how to ride it. Learning how to get on and off is the secret. Once you master that, riding is easy.”

Although Bacon retired on Sept. 30, 2002, he was retained by the city in a temporary, part-time capacity to help in the transition phase for the new city attorney, Mary Francis McHugh.

“What most people don’t realize is that Larry Bacon, while staying behind the scenes as the city attorney, was the key advisor to every city council member and city manager over the last 32 years,” said Eckman, who served with Bacon on the council during the 1970s. “Every major project in this town could not have been accomplished without his guidance and knowledge.”

While accomplishing much, Bacon was also known for his likable personality and his firm belief in “living out loud.”

“Larry was known as a fun-loving, happy-go-lucky prankster,” Eckman said. “And he really was. He loved the bagpipes and sometimes he’d go outside and bang out this awful noise on his bagpipes at 10 p.m. … He also liked to stand outside during thunder storms and scream every time he saw lightning.”

Yreka City Manager Brian Meek said Bacon has always been his role model.

“We lost a lot of history there,” Meek said, his voice choking with emotion. “He was a real moral leader over the last 30 years. He really was Mr. Yreka. He can never be replaced. He was just a good friend to all the citizens of Yreka and he serves as a model and inspiration on how we should all live our lives.”

In addition to his achievements, Bacon enjoyed hiking, gardening and spending time with family and friends. He was a member of the Yreka Rotary Club and was current vice president of the United Scholarship Incorporated on which he served as a board member since 1972.

Bacon is survived by his beloved wife Nancy; his daughter Cathy; son and daughter-in-law Mike and Melinda Bacon of Surrey, British Columbia; and son David Bacon of Pasadena. He is also survived by his mother Helen of Sacramento; one brother, Glenn of Tucson, Ariz.; and two grandchildren.

A celebration of his life will be on Tuesday, Jan. 6 at the Yreka Community Center at 4 p.m.

“He was a wonderful person, someone I’ve always looked up to,” said Yreka Police Chief Don Callahan. “I could always depend on him for help whenever I needed it. He was just a wonderful person. I’m really going to miss him.”

Yreka Mayor Eric Harms said he has known Larry for 20 years as both a neighbor and more recently as a city councilman.

“He really liked kids and helped them out by hiring them to work on the train,” Harms said. “I think he was probably one of our best historians around town. I remember one day he came up with an old city council minutes from in the late 30s that had my family company’s name in it that sold gravel to the city. He was always someone we could call and ask questions of while working on the council.”

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that memorial contributions be made to United Scholarships Incorporated at P.O. Box 1328, Yreka; Siskiyou County Historical Museum, 910 S. Main St., Yreka; or Friends of the Yreka Library at 719 Fourth St. Contributions may also be made to the Etna Volunteer Fire Department “fire engine fund,” P.O. Box 460, Etna, CA. – SDN story by Lori Sellstrom

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3 Responses to My Dad

  1. Gary Marlow says:

    Larry was a true friend of mine for over 33 years and I will truely miss him dearly. He was always there for me and I think about him often and will always remember.

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  2. Ed Harris says:

    Larry was always there for me, in good times and in not so good times. I, too, think of him often and miss being able to pick up the phone or dropping by to pick his brain. He was a man who could be trusted! A quiet leader with a great sense of humor.

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  3. Mike Chapman says:

    I remember Larry as a fun-loving but serious man. I can picture his smile to this day – even though some 25 years have passed. He always was willing to explain what happened at a City Council meeting to a bewildered, young newspaper reporter even if it meant hanging around after the audience had cleared out. I moved away to the “big” city of Redding and a larger paper, but Larry still greeted me warmly when I returned years later to ride the Blue Goose with my young son. Thanks for everything, Larry! One helluva guy!

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