SCOTTSDALE - Larry Manross
married Mary Manross, his college sweetheart, 35 years ago in a chapel outside of UCLA
Today, Larry Manross
, 58, speaks like a man accustomed to counting his
blessings: "I'm married to my best friend.I'm living where I want to live.And my family is thriving.What more can I ask for?" He
has no problem being the man behind the mayor, except in coordinating schedules so that he
can make appearances with his
is the vice president of sales for Exel Global Logistics
, with headquarters in London, so he
travels a lot.
was born in Santa Monica in 1944 but grew up in north Hollywood, not far from his
future wife, who grew up in Long Beach.He
came from a small family, and his
dad was a vice president in sales.
"It was an innocent time in southern California," Manross
said of the early '60s, when surfing was a big part of life. Manross
was a directed young man, always clear about following his
"I was a business-school guy.I was pretty straight," he
recalls from the kitchen of his
large, Southwestern-style home on McCormick Ranch."There was a difference between business majors.I was pretty focused." Manross
future mate, who was dating one of his
acquaintances, and when the opportunity presented itself, asked her
out.Their first date was a party on Malibu Beach. After graduation, Manross enlisted as an officer in the Air Force instead of waiting to be drafted for Vietnam.
In September 1966, after graduating, he
went to officer training school.
"We got engaged a week before I left," Manross
said."This was a wartime situation.It was a really interesting experience.You didn't know where it would lead."
Manross mans missiles
...Manross became a combat crew commander for Minuteman nuclear missiles, which, if necessary, were to strike the then Soviet Union.
"I'm not kidding, that was my job," he
said."Each missile was 10 times bigger than the one used in Hiroshima, and I had 10 of them.We were the most highly trained officers in the world." Manross
was based in North Dakota and spent his
24-hour shifts 60 feet underground in a launch capsule behind 4-foot-thick blast doors.
"You grew up in a hurry," Manross
said."I realized, without a doubt, we had a lot of responsibility."
"We were 2,500 miles apart," Manross
said."We didn't want to wait another year and a half to marry."
...Manross got his MBA in 1971 from UCLA and was hired by Airborne Express.
Moved to Scottsdale
Friends who know Larry Manross
describe him as an intelligent and successful man with a sense of humor and humility.
"He's extremely supportive of Mary and his friends," said Thompson, who golfs with Manross