Ex-Marines Friendship Renewed on Saturdays

| April 11, 2012 | 0 Comments
Marines at the Bean

OVER COFFEE Li Lober, left, and Cliff Matthews reminisce over their past history and discuss the latest news.

Their friendship for more than 55 years is commemorated every Saturday morning when two men meet on Larchmont Blvd. at the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

It was at the Marine base in Quantico, Va., that Li (Lionel) Lober and James “Chiff” Matthews first met in 1957. They went through training together, and emerged as officers.

Lober, originally from New York City, was in the Marine Corps for nine years, mainly serving in Asia after the Korean War. After he left the service, his first job was as Otto Preminger’s production assistant on the movie “Exodus.”

Matthews, a Balboa Island native, served for six years, mostly at Camp Pendleton. His first job as a civilian was as a bacteriologist in Arkansas.

Their careers have gone in different directions. Lober worked on film and is a screenwriter, photographer and teacher. Matthews ran a paralegal training firm, was a lawyer, lab researcher and concert tour producer. They lost touch with each other until a fellow Marine started a newsletter, keeping track of the men he had served with. Matthews tracked down his old buddy, and the two met in 2007 at the 50-year reunion with their fellow corpsmen.

When Lober heard that his friend had had a heart attack while working in Arkansas shortly after the reunion, he immediately boarded a plane from Los Angeles and helped him get back on his feet. “He found me a job in Los Angeles at UCLA teaching paralegal training,” said Matthews.

Shortly after, the duo began meeting for coffee every Saturday morning. Lober comes to Larchmont from his home in West Los Angeles and Matthews resides on Rossmore Ave.

They catch up on the week’s events, savor their coffee “and watch the pretty girls go by,” says Lober.

Ed note. Our thanks to Dolores Hofert who discovered these two buddies while having her morning coffee at the “Bean.”

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