“If you take a living out of a community, you have an obligation to put something back into it,” was a mantra that John Henry Larkin learned when he got into the real estate business. And it was a philosophy he practiced for the rest of his life.

Larkin, a local businessman who was involved in numerous community organizations, died July 30. He was 83.

The American flag is flying at half-mast this week at the Santa Monica Elks Lodge, where Larkin was a longtime member, leader and advisor. He was also active in Kiwanis and supported the area’s Boys & Girls Clubs, serving on the nonprofit group’s advisory board.

“He was just a fantastic guy who never thought of himself and always thought of others first,” said Bill Dawson, who knew Larkin for 30 years. “He would do anything in the world if you asked him. He was one of the good guys, a stand-up guy.”

Born Nov. 26, 1931, and raised in Southern California, Larkin served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War.

He then settled in Santa Monica and worked at the former Broken Drum restaurant on Wilshire Boulevard, which was run by a relative, before pursuing a career in real estate in the early 1960s.

Larkin worked for a firm now known as Sullivan Dituri, combining his keen business sense with a strong work ethic. It’s how he met Bob Sullivan, who was a close friend for 55 years.

“He worked hard for every dime he got,” Sullivan said.

Larkin later operated the Santa Monica Fence Co. for more than 20 years, although he remained active in the real estate industry. He also served on the City of Santa Monica’s personnel board for about 15 years, Sullivan said.

An avid outdoorsman, Larkin enjoyed catching marlins in Cabo San Lucas and hunting pheasants in South Dakota. He was also a motorcycle enthusiast, and a few years ago he rode to San Francisco.

Larkin had three children (Patrick Larkin, LaRee Valez and Charles Larkin) with his first wife, Janice, who died 18 years ago. He is survived by his children, second wife Sharon Larkin, stepchildren Brandi and Josh Madsen, sister Maria and several grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, Charles and Maxine, and siblings Charlie, Terry and Jane.

A viewing will be held from 4-7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 4 at Gates, Kingsley & Gates Moeller Murphy Funeral Directors, 1925 Arizona Ave.

Memorial services are scheduled for 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 5 at St. Monica Catholic Church, 725 California Ave.

A celebration of life will be held at 3 p.m. on Wednesday at the Santa Monica Elks Lodge, 1040 Pico Blvd.

The family is requesting that donations be made to the local Elks Lodge or the Make-A-Wish Foundation.


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