Longtime Portland area broadcaster Larry Caramella "signed off" for the last time January 16, 2018; he was 92.
Born Lorenzo Caramella in Roccatagliata, Genoa, Italy, Larry immigrated to the United States as a toddler with his parents Ernesto and Josephine. His early years were spent on a farm, near what is now Clackamas Town Center. After high school in 1943, Benson Polytechnic, he enrolled in the Army and joined the war effort in Europe.
Returning from the war in 1946, Larry began his many decades long career as disc jockey, radio personality, character actor, stand-up comic, television booth announcer, talk show host, newscaster, and broadcast engineer, Larry introduced Portland to Elvis, performed record hops at Portland area high schools, and conducted live interviews with artists including Billie Holiday, Connie Francis, and Lionel Hampton. In addition, he had the distinct honor to be the "sign-on" voice at the inception of three Portland television stations. Larry's voice broadcasted many of the Portland area station call letters, KPOJ, KXL, KGW, KPTV, KATU. During most of his career, Larry lived in Milwaukie with his wife and three children.
Outside radio and television, Larry had many interests. As a sports car enthusiast he was active with the Cascade Sports Car Club and the Sports Car Club of America and their efforts to establish the first Rose Cup circuit races on the vacated streets of Vanport near Delta Park. He also belonged to the Porsche Club of America.
Larry was an avid cyclist. In the mid '60s he began cycling from Milwaukie to the studios of KATU. Long before bike commuting was a thing in Portland, in the rain, fog, and in the dead of night, Larry peddled his ten-speed road bike nine miles each way every day. He continued to cycle to work until his retirement in 1985.
Larry's next adventure was in sport aviation where he became an active member of the Northwest Antique Airplane Club (NWAAC). Larry flew to many locations in the PNW and several times to Alaska. Larry also applied his television skills to perform as master of ceremonies at their annual flyins and air shows.
Larry met and married his second wife, Fay. They lived an active retirement as a live-a-board couple on a sailboat, RVer's of many southwest states and Baja, gardening, and thrift store shopping. Always a creative problem solver, Larry spent much of his retirement inventing gadgets in his shop.
Larry is survived by his brother Virgil (Judy) Caramella; wife Fay; children Janice (Bill) Leonetti, Ron (Carrie) Caramella, Laura (Bob) Saunders; nephew Christopher Caramella; six grandchildren: Tony (Jill) and Joey Leonetti, Scott (Risa) and Shanon Saunders (Trevor ), Joseph (Zoe Brock) and Margo (Steve Carlson) Caramella; eight great- grandchildren: Emily, Blake, Chloe, Nicolo, and Lorenzo Leonetti; Noah, Micah and Emma Saunders; and step-children and their families: Susan (William) Keyser, Janice (Dan Medlin) Potter, Tom (Kathy)Potter; 10 step-grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.
Friday, May 11, 2018 is the 1 p.m. committal service at Willamette National Cemetery, 11800 SE Mt. Scott Blvd., and 1:45 p.m. reception at Lincoln Memorial Park Cemetery, 11801 SE Mt. Scott Blvd.