Charlestown resident Lawrence “Larry” Webster, born in Wakefield in 1947, is an award-winning mechanical engineer known in aviation history circles as the “aluminum undertaker” because of his extensive work excavating air crash sites.
He has earned national recognition for his meticulous rebuilding of vintage aircraft, often using hard-to-find parts from the remains of the by now more than 60 wrecks he has collected and stored behind his barn. He also helped launch the Quonset Air Museum, worked to establish a memorial to deceased pilots at the abandoned Charlestown airfield, and is compiling a database of every air crash that has ever occurred in New England.
Larry was valedictorian of his class at CHARIHO High School, and earned his engineering degree from the University of Rhode Island. He volunteered at the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, CT, where he did most of the work restoring a WWII Hellcat fighter. He also helped launch the Quonset Air Museum, worked to establish a memorial to deceased pilots at the abandoned Charlestown airfield, and began compiling a database of every air crash that’s ever occurred in New England.
In 2004 he was named Aviation Historian of the Year by the Northeast Aero Historians, and received a gubernatorial citation in recognition of his “many years of work advancing our knowledge and understanding of aviation in Rhode Island.”
More in 2013:
- Richard Warren Blackman
Alabama-born Richard Warren Blackman (1939—2013) made a major contribution to aviation in RI through
his lengthy service with the Civil Air Patrol (CAP).
- Paul Broadnax
Paul Broadnax, the child of two well-known and influential Boston-area classical musicians, played with the Tuskegee Airmen military band and dance band.
- William Grosvenor Jr.
Long-time North Kingstown resident William Grosvenor Jr. (1920-1980) was born in Providence and attended St. Mark’s School in Southborough, MA. In November 1942 he arrived in China where he flew 132 missions (286 combat hours) under General Chennault with the 75th Pursuit Squadron, the “Flying Tiger Sharks”.