John Loraine Larson, 89, passed away on Wednesday, February 25, after he had reached the maximum allowable level of awesomeness. At the time of his passing, he was surrounded by members of his family, including his wife, Carol, and several children and grandchildren.
John was born on February 28, 1925, to Carl Goran Larson and Selma Olivia (Sedell) Larson in Salt Lake City, Utah. At six months of age, his family moved to the Los Angeles area where he spent his formative years. He learned from his dad how to paint houses and other things related to the construction business.
Upon graduation from El Monte High School in Southern California in 1943, he joined the U.S. Navy and was sent to Occidental College and then to the University of Michigan where he earned a degree in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering in 1946. Post World War II and “after some attempts to find employment in the ship design field [he] decided to be a teacher.”
He attended BYU and Occidental College and qualified for a general teaching credential in 1949. He immediately found employment as a math and P.E. teacher at Van Nuys Jr. High School in Van Nuys, California. During the next 10 years he attended night and summer classes at the University of Southern California and was awarded a Master of Science Degree in Education Administration in 1959. He continued to work for the Los Angeles Unified School District in various capacities, including administrator and school facilities planner, until his retirement in 1985.
While working on his master’s degree he met his sweetheart Carol Janice Wisdom and the couple was married on December 18, 1954, in the St. George Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He designed and built each home the family lived in, with significant input from Carol. Together they raised 12 children and have over 40 grandchildren (greats included).
John was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served faithfully in a variety of positions, including bishop of the North Hollywood 2nd Ward from 1972 to 1980. He encouraged his children to also serve and live the kind of life that Jesus lived. All we needed to do was follow Dad’s example and the Jesus part was covered.
John was also an accomplished track & field athlete, specializing in the low hurdles and the long jump, and earned letters from El Monte High School and the University of Michigan, where he was part of a Big Ten championship team. Graduating early from Michigan (two years, eight months) allowed him one more year of eligibility which he used to compete for BYU.
John is survived by his wife, Carol, and 12 children; Susie Terry, Carl Larson, Nancy Allred, Selma Van Buren, Glenn Larson, Anna Collins, Cynthia Clarke, John Larson, Doug Larson, Julie Thomas, Vickie Fairchild, Mark Larson and his children’s spouses. Also surviving him are over 40 grandchildren, and his best friend Paul Phelps. He was preceded in death by his parents and three sisters (Betty, June, and Anna Margaret) and one grandchild, Joshua Eisenstat.
- Memorial Services will be held on Saturday, March 7, at 11 a.m. at the Bloomington Hills Stake Center, 1130 Brigham Road, St. George, Utah.
- A viewing will be Saturday, from 9:30-10:30 a.m. prior to services at the stake center, and on Friday, March 6, from 5-7 p.m. at the Spilsbury Mortuary, 110 S. Bluff Street, St. George, Utah.
The Larson Family would like to express sincere gratitude to all of the medical professionals who helped with John’s care.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the care of Spilsbury Mortuary.