Cover photo for Lawrence J. Larsen's Obituary
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1946 Larry 2023

Lawrence J. Larsen

September 28, 1946 — June 1, 2023

Grand Marais



Lawrence (Larry) Johannes Larsen, Jr. (76) passed away peacefully on June 1, 2023, at North Shore Health Hospital and Health Center in Grand Marais from complications of Agent Orange induced Parkinson’s Disease, surrounded by family.


Larry (“Wow”, “Wawa”) was born September 28, 1946, to Lawrence and Irma (Haugen) Larsen. He grew up on the shores of Lake Superior at his family’s resort “Lakeview Cabins” in Croftville, Minnesota.


After graduation from Cook County High School in 1964, Larry attended Harbor City College in Redondo Beach CA until he was drafted into the Army to serve in the Vietnam War (September 7, 1966 – September 6, 1968). There he earned the National Defense Service Medal, Sharpshooter (Rifle M-14) Vietnam Service Medal w/two bronze stars, Republic of Vietnam Campaign medal w/Device 1960 and 10/s Bar. After his honorable discharge he continued his education at the Duluth Vocational Technical Institute in Duluth pursuing a Drafting Degree.


On November 1, 1971, Larry was initiated as a Journeyman into the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Ironworkers and worked on many projects in the community, Silver Bay, Twin Cities, Nevada, and California though November 30, 1982. In June 1979, he became Proprietor and Owner of Larry J. Larsen, Inc. Excavating Contractor. In the off-season, he hauled pulp for several loggers in the community. On December 1, 1984, Larry rejoined the Ironworkers Union and had the privilege of working summers in beautiful Cook County and hanging red steel all over Nevada and California in the winters.


Larry was active with both the American Legion and the VFW. He served on the American Legion House Committee and was a member of the Color Guard. He was a lifetime member of the VFW and held many positions including Treasurer. He was a member of Ironworkers #512 Union and the Masonic Lodge.


Larry was an avid outdoorsman his whole life and enjoyed downhill skiing, snowmobiling, fishing, hunting, traveling and football. He especially loved mule deer hunting trips to Montana, fishing trips to Isle Royale, and the MN Vikings. Larry spent most weekends fishing on Lake Superior with his fishing buddies on “The Impulse” and then “Reel Trouble” After retirement, it was not uncommon to find him watching an episode of Gunsmoke.


The past five years, he enjoyed teaching & playing cribbage with his caregivers, traveling, and spending time with family and friends. Recently, while in St. Lukes intensive care unit, Larry broke the hospital record for being the first ever patient to play cribbage in the ICU and win!  New criteria - if you can play Cribbage in ICU, its time be moved to a medical floor.


In the last several years he fulfilled various items on his bucket list: visiting ancestry in Norway, Las Vegas for a family reunion, and Chisolm to see the traveling Vietnam Memorial where he made a charcoal rubbing of his friend’s name who was left behind in Vietnam. He most recently celebrated his 76th birthday on an Alaskan Cruise, where he went fishing in Ketchikan and caught several rock fish.


Larry was a man of few words, but when he did speak his words were genuine. They were words of humor, loyalty, compassion, and love. Regardless of the challenges he encountered with his Parkinson’s, he continued to tackle each one with grace and determination. He was patient and held true to himself. He was an exceptional man who has touched many lives and will be greatly missed.


Larry was the first patient with a broken leg from a ski accident at the opening of the new hospital in Cook County in 1958, holding a medical record number of “1”. His final visit there was met with quality professional care, love, and support. His family would like to thank the exceptional Emergency Room Staff of North Shore Health, the Ambulance Crew, Cook County Sheriff’s Department, Care Partners, his many caregivers, and the Life-Flight crew for their support, friendships, and comforting words provided to Larry throughout his long battle with Parkinson’s Disease. 


He is preceded in death by his parents, a brother-in-law, and a sister-in-law.


He is survived by wife Cathy, their daughter Haley (Mark) Holtan, granddaughters Roberta (Berta) and Matilda (Tilly) of Mendota Heights, daughter Tami and son Derek Blomberg from a previous marriage, companion Golden Retriever Tobeel, sister Jackie Hyovalti of Anoka, brother Curt Larsen of Two Harbors, and his nieces, nephews, west coast cousins, and friends.


There will be a “Celebration of Life for Larry at 1 PM on July 29th at Cornerstone Church located at 1 Cedar Grove Lane, Grand Marais. Color Guard to Follow.


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Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Saturday, July 29, 2023

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Central time)

Cornerstone Community Church (Grand Marais)


There will be a “Celebration of Life for Larry at 1 PM on July 29th at Cornerstone Church located at 1 Cedar Grove Lane, Grand Marais. Color Guard to Follow.

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