Obituary for Larry Ragle – Laguna Beach, CA (1932-2024)

John Lawrence “Larry” Ragle died peacefully at home, surrounded by his beloved wife Nina, on May 11, 2024 in Laguna Beach, California, at the age of 91. Larry was preceded in death by his father John Dale “Jack” Ragle, mother Hepsey Wells Ragle, and sister Joanne Nance. Larry is survived by his children Robert (Cathy) Ragle and Rebecca (Paul) Mansfield, and grandchildren Samantha, Mathew, and Molly Mansfield. Larry was born in Springfield, Missouri in 1932. His family moved to Albany, California in 1940. Larry graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in chemistry and became a patrol officer/investigator for the City of Berkeley while in college. He married Carole Watchers in 1956. In 1960, they moved to Costa Mesa, California to raise their family and Larry to pursue a career in the Orange County Crime Lab. It was during this time that Larry developed a passion for the art of bonsai. In 1981, he married Nina Shire. In 1989, he retired as Chief of Forensics for the Orange County Coroner's Office and wrote the book Crime Scene in 1995. He studied bonsai under his sensei and father of American bonsai, John Naka, beginning in 1966, and then under bonsai master Harry Hirao in 1974. In 1977, Larry co-founded Kofu Bonsai Kai. He is a past president of the Golden State Bonsai Federation, the California Bonsai Society, and Kofu Bonsai Kai. In 1989, Larry co-founded the California Shohin Society. He has been a member of several bonsai organizations, including Nanpu Kai, John Naka's exclusive club. He was one of the original board members of the National Bonsai Foundation when it was founded in Washington DC, and served on its board from 1982 to 2020. He contributed to the NBF's mission to promote the art of bonsai and suiseki (stone viewing) on ​​a global level. Larry and Nina founded California Aiseki Kai in 1983, a club that focuses on suiseki and the traditional values ​​and techniques of Japanese stone viewing. Aiseki Kai has exhibited annually at the Huntington Library in Pasadena for 34 years. In 2002, Larry wrote the text for “Awakening the Soul: The National Viewing Stone Collection of The National Bonsai and Penjing Museum at The United States National Arboretum, Washington DC.” Larry was smart, creative, charismatic, and humble. Many will remember him for his charm and wit, perfect timing, and keen talent for public speaking. His children, nieces, and nephews have fond memories of their youth when he led the troops on daily summer adventures on the Russian River. Larry will be greatly missed. In lieu of flowers, please send a memorial donation to the Larry Ragle Scholarship Fund by sending a check to: The Larry Ragle Scholarship Fundc/o San Diego Bonsai ClubP.O. Box 86037San Diego, CA 92138

Anna Harden

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