Larry Donaldson

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Larry Donaldson (born November 12, 1950) is a retired engineer and long time custodian of the Alabama Theatre's mechanical and electrical systems, as well as its famed "Mighty Wurlitzer" theater organ.

As a teenager, Donaldson was a member of the choir and assistant organist at First Lutheran Church. The organist, Jay Mitchell, took him to see the organ at the Alabama Theatre, and he was instantly fascinated. Having worked with his father, an electrician, he immediately helped the theater manager restore some of the deteriorated electrical controls and make more of the interior lighting functional. He soon began spending evenings and weekends working on all of the building's systems, including the organ. He joined the American Theatre Organ Society and was entrusted with the keys to the building even while he was in college.

Donaldson attended the University of Montevallo and completed his bachelor of science in chemical engineering at the University of Alabama in 1973. He went to work for Tennessee Chemical in Copperhill, Tennessee that September. After 14 years he moved to take a job with BASF in McIntyre, Georgia, east of Macon, for another 27 years. Throughout his career, Donaldson drove back to Birmingham to work at the theater most weekends. Even when vacationing, he attended conferences and visited organs in other cities. In addition to keeping the organ repaired and conditioned, he oversaw the installation of additional ranks (instruments), oversaw the replacement of the original organ relay room with a computerized system, and designed, installed and maintained lighting and control systems throughout the building.

Donaldson joined Birmingham Landmarks' board of directors in 1986.