DEAN LAERSON, 69, of Decorah, died Friday, June 13, 2014, at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minn. Services were at 11 a.m. Tuesday, June 17, at Madison Lutheran Church in rural Ridgeway, with Pastor Jeff Hansen officiating. Organist was Judy Hovden. Hymns were “I, Lord of Sea and Sky,” “I Was There to Hear Your Borning Cry” and “Lift High the Cross.” Interment was at Madison Lutheran Cemetery in Decorah. Honorary casket bearers were Dean’s godchildren: Darren Young, Jason Larson, Jennifer Sturtz and Doug Melaas. Csket bearers were Jason Larson, Michael Larson, Adam Larson, David Larson, Dave Holstad and Harold Youngblood. Arrangements were handled by Schluter – Balik Funeral Home.
Dean Francis Larson was born Sept. 8, 1944, the son of Francis and Dorothy (Opsahl) Larson in Decorah. He was baptized Oct. 1, 1944, and confirmed also at the Madison Lutheran Church, where he was a life-long member. He went to country schools through eighth grade and then attended Decorah High School where he graduated with the class of 1962. In high school, he loved to wrestle and play football. He was captain of the football team and was honored with receiving the Russ Halverson Award and earned Wigwam Wisemen High School All American honor. He was united in marriage to Caryl Berge of Decorah, at the First Lutheran Church, Nov. 10, 1963, and they were blessed with three children: Dena, Lauri and Steven. Dean worked in the treasurer’s office at the Winneshiek County courthouse and was a janitor at Thomas Roberts High School before beginning his 30-year career with United Parcel Service. He started first in delivering and then later driving semi. Dean was a big, strong, quiet, gentle and caring person who loved to tease and make people laugh. He was proud to have been one of the Nordic Fests’ first 100-pound rock throw winners. When you saw Dean, he was usually driving his jeep with one or two dogs in the back. He loved vacationing with family and friends, whether it was to the east or west coast, Alaska, the Bahamas or in between. But most of all, he loved the yearly trips to a cabin on a lake with family, extended family, friends and neighbors. He loved the annual “Larson black powder deer hunting” in October, which included anyone big or small who wanted to carry a gun or walk along. After retirement, he thought we should learn how to make lefse and other Norwegian foods. After mastering lefse, “kind of,” he had several family lefse-making parties. Dean loved hunting, fishing, watching his children and grandchildren participate in all sporting and extra-curricular activities. He loved nature and being in the woods, as well as, taking anyone for a ride on his Ranger. Dean loved his church and church family.
Dean is survived by his wife, Caryl Larson, Decorah; two daughters, Dena (Marc) Tangen, Decorah and Lauri (Todd) Kaeser, Monona; one son, Steven (Maria) Larson, Ridgeway; six grandchildren: Ryan Tangen, Michael (Jessica) Tangen, Kayla Frye, Kyle Frye, Joshua Larson and Elizabeth Larson; one step-grandson, Corey Kaeser; six great-grandchildren: Brayden and Kaydee Tangen, Gracelynn, Jaden and Virginia Rose Tangen and Madisyn Frye; Dean’s parents, Francis and Dorothy Larson, Decorah; one sister, Diane (Dennis) Young, Decorah; one brother, Dennis (Debra) Larson, Decorah; one sister-in-law, Marjorie Dehning, Decorah; along with many special nieces, nephews, great-nieces and -nephews, friends and neighbors.
Dean was preceded in death by his grandparents, Lloyd and Gena Larson and Clarence and Elma Opsahl; his father- and mother-in-law, Henry and Nora Berge; one sister-in-law, LuVerne Snell; four brothers-in-law: Lloyd Berge, Virgil Snell, Selmer Peterson and Harold Dehning.