Our loving father, Lawrence E. Fryar, 84, of Sun City, California, died peacefully at his home on Saturday, February 26, 2022.
Larry met his late wife Nina when he was a young Navy sailor stationed in the Philippines. Larry and Nina fell in love, married and spent more than 60 happy years together. Larry’s memory is cherished by his four daughters and sons in law: Elizabeth Fryar and Rear Admiral Darius Banaji of Honolulu, Hawaii; Renee Fryar and Weldon Lee of Sun City, California; Larrina Fryar and Roque Ramirez of Temecula, California; and Tina Fryar and Curtis Jimerson of Pleasanton, California. He is greatly missed by his three grandchildren, Ninah, Elissa and Joshua. His passing is also grieved by his extended family in North Carolina, Maryland and New Jersey and by his in laws, the Raagas family in California and in the Philippines, and the Gilmer family in Arkansas. Preceding him to heaven are Larry’s parents, Oscar and Annis, and his siblings, Garland, Thurman, Gwendolyn, and Esther.
Larry leaves behind many special friends and colleagues from a long career with the Navy and, after his Navy retirement, with the Department of Defense. After serving in the Navy for over 22 years, Larry retired in 1979 as a Command Master Chief. During his time in the military, Larry was honored to have been nominated for the position of Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy. The Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (“MCPON”) is the most senior enlisted person in the Navy. This position serves as the senior enlisted leader of the Navy, and as an advisor to the Chief of Naval Operations and to the Chief of Naval Personnel. In addition to the honor of being nominated for this position, Larry also earned the distinction of being awarded the Navy Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Meritorious Unit Commendation, and the Good Conduct Medal (on six separate occasions). He also received Congressional Recognition for Outstanding Service from the U.S. Congress.
In addition to his professional accomplishments, Larry’s love of martial arts led him to study Judo while stationed in Japan. He lived and trained in Japan for seven years and was taught Judo in Japanese. He achieved a third degree black belt (San Dan) before he ever competed against another American. At one time Larry was the only Navy man to achieve a fourth degree black belt (Yon Don) ranking. He subsequently earned a fifth degree black belt (Go Dan). Larry earned a multitude of athletic honors and awards in Judo, including, but not limited to, the following:
- All-Navy Grand Champion (12 years)
- All-Navy West Coast Grand Champion
- Naval Forces, Japan Grand Champion
- All Armed Forces, Far East Grand Champion
- All Service Grand Champion, Heavyweight Division
- Inter-Service Judo Championships Grand Champion, Heavyweight Division
- Pacific Southwest AAU Grand Champion
- Clark Air Force Base Fil-Am International Tournament, Most Valuable Judoist (after winning 13 consecutive matches)
- KBC Invitational Judo Tournament (for outstanding judoists from the United States, Canada, England, Australia, Germany, and Portugal), First Place, Heavyweight Division
- AAU Senior National Judo Championships, Heavyweight
- Represented the United States in Judo at two Worlds’ Fairs
- Second American to compete in Japanese Kanto Sho Dan Championships
- President, Pacific Southwest Judo Association
- Board of Governors, National Collegiate Judo Association
- Ranking Committee, Navy-Marine Judo Association
- Standards Committee, Pacific Southwest Judo Association
For several years, Larry remained undefeated in many of the events and/or categories in which he competed. He was also featured in several publications for his athletic and academic awards, including, but not limited to, Black Belt Magazine (recognizing Larry as one of the Top 10 Judo men in the United States and Top 60 in the World), The American Judo Man Magazine, The Pacific Stars and Stripes, The Navy Times, All Hands Magazine, The San Diego Dispatch, The Daily California, The Seahawk, and The Hoist.
Larry’s professional accomplishments and athletic accolades were accompanied by his academic achievements. He graduated from Grossmont College with high honors (earning academic scholarships from Bank of America, the Food Services Executives Association and the Statler Hilton Foundation), earned his teaching credential, and was a Masters Degree candidate at San Diego State University.
Larry ascended to the pinnacle of his judo career while simultaneously working a day job as an enlisted Navy man, earning a 4.0 in his college classes at night, completing judo training each evening and raising four daughters with his wife. In light of the information above, it is not surprising that Larry was selected to join the ranks of those honored as Outstanding Young Men of America.
Larry provided sound advice, wise counsel and reassuring words to the hundreds of young men and women who served under his command, to the students who took his classes and to the individuals who sought out his mentorship. He was a devoted husband, a loving father, a trusted friend, a loyal teammate and a distinguished Sailor. To his daughters, he was Daddy and to his grandchildren, he was Pop Pops. He was deeply loved and will be greatly missed.
Larry’s viewing and visitation took place from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm on Monday, March 28, 2022 at the Miller-Jones Mortuary, 26770 Murrieta Road, Menifee, California 92586, (951) 672-0777.
Larry’s funeral service followed the next day at 12:00 noon on Tuesday, March 29, 2022 at St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church, 27931 Murrieta Road, Menifee, California 92586, (951) 679-4531. His burial and committal ceremony, with military honors, took place immediately thereafter at 2:00 pm Riverside National Cemetery, 22495 Van Buren Blvd., Riverside, California 92518, (951) 653-8417. Motorcycle escorts will assist the funeral attendees as they proceed to the cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations in memory of Larry Fryar Sensei be made to the following judo organizations: