Wayne L. Larson, age 97, peacefully passed away at Essentia Health in Brainerd, MN on July 20, 2020 surrounded by members of his family.
He was born on the family farm near Garretson, SD on October 7, 1922 to Andrew and Margaret (Teigen). He graduated from Garretson High School in 1940 and received his undergraduate degrees in Economics and Sociology from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, SD in 1949. He received his master’s degree in social work from the University of Minnesota in 1956. In 1943, Wayne volunteered for the U.S. Army Air Corp and served as a flight engineer on B-29s.
Wayne had an extensive career in social work, retiring in 1987 as Director of Social Services in Brainerd MN- a position he had held since 1962. He was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Brainerd MN, served on the Brainerd ISD 181 School Board from 1968 until 1989, Sons of Norway, Brainerd Elks Club, Ray’s Promenaders, American Legion, Kiwanis and Rotary. In 1985 he was named the Outstanding School Board Member of the Year by the Minnesota School Board Association.
Wayne was married to Yvonne Norquist on November 27, 1957 at the First Lutheran Church in Ada, MN by Wayne’s cousin, Pastor Elmer Larson. Wayne was a kind and gentle soul who placed family and friends first in all things. He was interested in people and treated all with kindness and concern. He was devoted to Yvonne and they enjoyed summers at the cabin on Round Lake, trips to Norway and many winters in Mesa, AZ. He was a charter member of the Rusty Zippers coffee club meeting at Front Street Café for decades. Wayne was blessed with good health and in his 90s managed to go for rides in a B-17 (which he wasn’t impressed with and thought the B-29 clearly the better plane), a jet ski (which he liked), a bi-plane (after which he was all smiles), a snowmobile (which he really liked) and a 4-wheeler (no opinion). His son Joe took him deer hunting up until 2018. After Yvonne’s death, Wayne volunteered to puppy-sit Joy’s mini goldendoodle, Penny. Wayne and Penny were fast friends and she brought great happiness to him and the residents of Northern Lakes Assisted Living.
He is survived by sons W. Andrew (Joy) Larson of Deerwood, Joseph T. (Lori) Larson of Waconia, and daughter-in-law Katie Larson of Austin, TX; grandchildren Andrew (Lauren Wicke) Larson, Ryan Mattson, Abigail (Mike) Chambers, Mathew, Anna, Eric, Ryan and Sam Larson; great-granddaughters Annalise Larson, Taryn Larson, Madilyn Lane, Sophia Larson and Willow Mattson; great-grandson Xayden Mattson; and nephew Eric Norquist of Brainerd and niece Kristine (Eric) Hedren of Hackensack, and Penny, Joy’s mini goldendoodle who Wayne adored.
He is preceded in death by his wife, Yvonne, parents Andrew and Margaret (Teigen) Larson, brothers Grant Alvin Larson, Stanley Larson, Lloyd O. Larson, and Merle Larson; sisters Adeline Mollison Christiansen and Lucille Holthus; son J. Gustav Larson and granddaughter Melissa Joy Celesta Larson.
The family is thankful and appreciative for the care and love shown to Wayne by the staff of Northern Lakes Assisted Living. The staff was a second family to Wayne.
A memorial service will be held at Trinity Lutheran Church, on Saturday, August 15th at 11:00 AM at Trinity Lutheran Church, Brainerd, MN 56401 with Pastor Hans Anderson officiating. Following the service a luncheon will be served at the church and then Wayne and Yvonne will be interred together at the Evergreen Cemetery, Brainerd MN. Memorials are preferred to Trinity Lutheran Church, 1420 South Sixth Street, Brainerd, MN 56401, 218-829-5147.
Arrangements are being entrusted to the Nelson-Doran Funeral Home in Brainerd, MN.
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