The late Anthony J. Larrecq (BS ’29) had such deep appreciation for his alma mater that he wanted the people he loved to be connected to Caltech in some way. Through philanthropy, he made his wish come true.
When Larrecq, known by his family as A. J., created a charitable remainder unitrust (CRUT) to support Caltech’s libraries, he named the funds after his brother, John Larrecq, and his son, Dennis Larrecq Bridgman. He then established another CRUT to amplify basic research in the Division of Engineering and Applied Science, naming his daughters, Linda “Lyn” Yarnes and Leigh Van den Heuvel, as beneficiaries.
For Lyn and her husband, Jim Yarnes, thinking of Caltech stirs fond memories of Larrecq.
“Every time we learn of some advancement—from space engineering to microbiology—we think of A. J. and his ties to the school,” Jim says. “It is like a piece of Caltech belongs to us, too.”
Over the years the couple added to the CRUT, which Larrecq established for Lyn. By increasing its value, the couple received higher annual distributions from the trust.
Jim and Lyn Yarnes have also become donors to Caltech in other ways. They have given gifts of unrestricted support to Caltech, which gives the Institute flexibility to pursue its most promising opportunities. In this way, they can honor Larrecq and help foster the types of breakthroughs that Lyn refers to as “mind-boggling.”
Larrecq credited his engineering studies and Caltech’s culture of curiosity for his success as an engineer, inventor, and business owner. After working at General Motors and General Electric Company, Larrecq founded Power Generators, Inc., in 1945. His company created and improved tools so that fighter jets could safely take off and land on aircraft carriers. It soon became a prominent contractor for the U.S. military. As an inventor who held more than 20 patents, Larrecq continually searched for ways to improve heat transfer equipment as well as rotating and reciprocating machinery.
Larrecq led his company until he was in his late 80s. The navy celebrated his 90th birthday by inviting him aboard an aircraft carrier his company had worked on, the USS Harry S. Truman, and presented him with the commander’s cap. Larrecq passed away at 96, in 2005.
“Jim and I thought the world of my father and my father thought the world of Caltech,” Lyn says. “We’re delighted to carry on the family tradition of giving to Caltech.”