Larry McBee, 83, of Harrisburg, passed away on September 2, 2021, at his home surrounded by his wife, daughter, granddaughter, and grandson. He was born in Kansas City, MO, on October 8, 1937, to Luther and Hazel (Lane) McBee. Larry was one of 10 children. He grew up on a farm in Braymer, Missouri, and lived in Raytown, Missouri as a young man. He served in the Navy with a Naval Aviation Squadron. He was proud of his service to our Country and told many stories about his time in the Navy. One of his favorite places was Chesapeake Bay, Maryland, where he spent much time on the water with his friends—solidifying a love for the ocean that lasted until the end.
After leaving the military to work and live with his oldest brother Leo, Larry moved to Columbia, MO. Larry learned the art of automotive body repair from Leo and worked alongside him in Columbia. It was there that he met Laura, his future wife. Laura’s father owned the car dealership for which Larry worked. They married on June 3, 1961.
Larry continued working with his brother Leo in California, learning more about the art of custom and restoration bodywork while living and working in southern California. Larry returned to Missouri and attended UMKC to pursue a law degree. While attending UMKC, Larry became actively involved in the local Democrat party serving as the UMKC Young Democrats President. During that time, Larry worked as a lead campaign chair for Bobby Kennedy’s presidential bid, bringing Bobby to Kansas City for a campaign stop shortly before he was assassinated. Larry remained actively involved in statewide Democrat politics for years engaging with local candidates and their campaigns and serving on the Boone County Democrat Committee in the early 90s, ending his time on the committee having served as the Vice President for several years. Larry and his daughter Kerri organized the Boone County Democrat Yellow Dog Days to promote local and statewide Democrat candidates. This event was held for many years and engaged countless political activists.
Larry’s political passion stemmed from his father, Luther, a dedicated FDR Democrat and helped organize one of the first barber’s Unions in KC. Larry’s daughter Laurie followed in the family’s footsteps and was a hairstylist for decades in Columbia, MO.
Larry’s career was diverse. He worked for Combined Insurance for years, ultimately retiring from Combined in the mid-80s as the District Manager for Missouri. During his time with Combined, he mentored hundreds of people as they began their careers and was at his best when he was motivating and engaging with his sales teams during weekly meetings and his time on the stage during sales meetings inspiring and rallying his team. He enjoyed speaking to crowds. It was his calling.
After retiring from Combined, Larry began a business for which he had a life-long passion, customizing and restoring antique and classic cars. His two sons, Larry and Kevin, pushed their dad to start building cars. Larry started McBee’s C.A.R.S. from a barn on his farm in the mid-80s, eventually building a strong customer base and reputation for talent and ability. He and Laura expanded the business and moved to Columbia, where Larry, working alongside his sons, restored and customized hundreds of antique and classic cars. Not surprisingly, Larry’s knack for connecting with people and building relationships extended to his business and customers. He and Laura developed strong relationships with many of their customers that continue with the family today. One of Larry’s mottos, when customers would ask if he could do something specific when working on their car, was, “I can fix anything you want me to. All it takes is time and money.” This motto was so prevalent that one of his customers had a plaque made for his office. Larry and Laura retired in 2002 and enjoyed many years of travel to Tybee Island, GA, one of their favorite places, and spending time with their children and grandchildren.
Larry is survived by his wife Laura (Humfeld) and his children; Laurie McBee (Kevin Lee) of Columbia, Larry E. McBee (Linda) of Camdenton, Kevin McBee (Kathleen) of Higbee, and Kerri McBee-Black (Greg) of Harrisburg. Larry is also survived by 7 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren, and numerous nephews and nieces. Larry was preceded in death by his parents, Luther and Hazel, his brothers Leo, Bill, Randy, Tom and Ted, and his sisters Frances, Fay, and Peggy. Larry’s brother John (Darlene) of New Smyrna Beach, FL, is the remaining living sibling of the 10 children of Luther and Hazel McBee.
The family will hold private family services.
They request that in lieu of flowers memorial contributions be made to the Alzheimer’s Association in Columbia or Boone Hospital Home Care & Hospice, c/o Bach-Yager Funeral Chapel, 1610 N. Garth Ave., Columbia, MO 65202.
Online condolences and tributes may be shared with the family at www.bachyager.com.