Funeral services were pending Wednesday for Larry Chimbole, who moved to the Palmdale area in 1957 to open a hardware store, helped champion the area’s incorporation and became the city’s first mayor.
Chimbole died Tuesday at age 96, according to the city.
“Not only have we lost one of our city’s founders and first mayor, but a dear, dear friend,” Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford said. “Words cannot adequately express our sorrow and our thanks to Larry for a lifetime of service, dedication, devotion and love for the citizens of Palmdale and the greater Antelope Valley. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Chimbole was born in New Haven, Connecticut, and served as a B-29 radio operator in the Army Air Corps in World War II. He moved to California after the war, settling first in Glendale, then the San Fernando Valley before moving to the then-unincorporated Palmdale area in 1957.
As a business owner, Chimbole became active in the area’s civic affairs, serving as president of the Kiwanis Club and the Palmdale Chamber of Commerce. He later became one of the area’s so-called “50 Grand Men” who helped spearhead efforts to incorporate as a city, which occurred in 1962. Chimbole was chosen as the first mayor.
According to the city, Chimbole was credited with luring the Lockheed assembly plant to the Antelope Valley. He served 12 years on the Palmdale City Council, then served in the state Assembly from 1974 to 1978 — the first Antelope Valley resident ever elected to the Legislature.
He continued to be active in the community after leaving elected office, serving on the Antelope Valley Hospital Board of Directors and the Antelope Valley Fair Board of Directors. The city’s Cultural Center is named after him, and a statue of him was dedicated on Oct. 8 near Palmdale City Hall.
— Wire reports