Westwood Presbyterian Church
10822 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90024
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John Lawrence Ackard

1920 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
John Lawrence Ackard Obituary
March 19, 1920 - October 26, 2016 A devoted husband, father, grandfather and friend to all that knew him, Larry passed away at Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, CA surrounded by his adoring children following a fall twelve days earlier at his assisted living facility. Always the consummate and quintessential gentleman, Larry was known for his gentle, kind and compassionate spirit which effortlessly drew people into his circle. He lived life to the very fullest up until he took his last breath, inspiring others with his spirit, integrity, grace, talent and quiet, unassuming courage and faith. A native of Denver, Colorado, he excelled academically and was president of his senior class at East Denver High School, later earning a scholarship to Princeton University where he obtained his degree in music, graduating in 1941. He was an accomplished pianist and composer and performed the Schumann piano concerto with the Princeton orchestra as part of his final thesis. After graduation, he served in the U.S. Naval Reserve, receiving his midshipman training at Columbia University, communications training at Annapolis, then two years serving on a destroyer in the South Pacific, finally completing his naval services teaching communications at the Naval Training School at Harvard University - where he was made an honorary member of the Hasty Pudding Club for the extra-curricular musical shows he produced there. After the war, Larry attended Juilliard School of Music in New York City, and at the same time performed professionally, playing the piano in supper clubs, off Broadway productions, radio shows and dance orchestras. He also worked briefly for National Concert & Artists Corps., booking classical artists in concerts nationwide. Larry married Barbara Thomas in 1948 and moved to Los Angeles where he was owner/manager of a successful music store "Allegro Music" in Pacific Palisades for twenty years. During this time, he was very involved in community activities, serving as President of the Chamber of Commerce along with helping to direct other community and civic groups. Following his divorce in 1972, he deftly navigated a midlife career change into real estate, first working for Coldwell Banker and then joining the Jon Douglas Company in 1978 where he was instrumental in the introduction of the customer relations and mediation concept to the real estate business, helping to alleviate the rampant litigation and settlement expenses that were inundating the profession at that time. He received his training for advanced mediation skills at Pepperdine University School of Law in Malibu. In 1981, he was happily remarried to Nancy Harwell and they loved traveling the world together and entertaining at their lovely Brentwood home. He retired in 1998, though continued to conduct mediations and arbitrations as a private consultant for real estate companies, homeowners associations and individuals. Larry enjoyed volunteering, playing the piano at UCLA Medical Plaza and Saint John's Health Center, working as a guide at the Brentwood Getty Museum and occasionally working as an extra in films and TV. Larry also made and sold a number of piano CD's and loved to compose music. He will be best remembered for his artistry at the piano and sensitive interpretations of the songs of his generation which have given infinite pleasure to his appreciative and loving admirers. After losing his beloved "Nan" last year, he is survived by his children, Tony Ackard, Laura Ackard Saltzman and Maggie Ackard Vanneman, three grandchildren Kelly Vanneman, Timothy Vanneman and Casey Vanneman along with his two stepchildren Dennis Wood and Ginny Lu Wood. Services will be held at Westwood Presbyterian Church in early 2017, 10822 Wilshire Blvd. (East of Glendon Ave.). In lieu of flowers, the family would be honored for donations to be made to: The Colburn School - Advancement, 200 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012. By internet: https://www.colburnschool.edu/page.cfm?p=1597 or by phone at: 213-621-1021.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Dec. 4 to Dec. 11, 2016
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