Richard N. Larsen, 77Richard Neal Larsen, age 77, formerly of Hudson, Wis., passed away on Sunday, Sept. 9, at the Agrace HospiceCare facility in Madison, Wis., after a valiant fight with Parkinson's disease.
Richard Neal Larsen, age 77, formerly of Hudson, Wis., passed away on Sunday, Sept. 9, at the Agrace HospiceCare facility in Madison, Wis., after a valiant fight with Parkinson's disease.
Dick was born on June 4, 1935, and was the only child of Neal and Dorothy (Alton) Larsen. The Larsen family had deep roots in Hudson, and his father and uncles were business owners in the community. Dick graduated from Hudson High School in 1953 and participated in lifelong interests of music, drama, history and sports. He attended Ripon College, his parents' alma mater, from 1953-54 on a football scholarship and, after a sports injury, transferred to River Falls State College, majoring in communication and history in 1955-57. He married Mary Lou Jaeger on Dec. 23, 1957, and during their 18-year marriage they had four children: Nicolai Patrice, Christopher Neal, Michelle Nadine, and Mikael Eldon. Dick also joined in the Army in 1957 and served in non-combat duty through 1961.
As a young man, Dick worked for several insurance companies, including the Mutual of New York Insurance Company where he received their top sales award in 1962. When Neal Larsen passed away in 1967, Dick took over the family business - the Larsen Insurance Agency. Dick was also involved in many other community organizations, such as the JayCees, Hudson Boosters, the Rotary Club, etc. In addition, with his good colleagues G. Fred Kremer, Robert Dabruzzi, and Jim Hirsch, he helped to found the State Bank of Hudson (now Wells Fargo of Hudson.)
Dick's love for music was also a major part of his life. He began singing at the Hudson Presbyterian Church as a very young child and continued to sing in church choirs, musicals, talent shows, weddings, funerals, and other community events until just the past few years.
Dick also had an instrumental role in establishing Hudson as one of the communities that sponsored the Miss America pageant. Dick served as the master of ceremony or was included on the judging panel for many communities in the Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa area. He was very proud of the fact that he was included on the Appleton Wisconsin judging panel in 1973 - the year that Terri-Ann Meeuwsen went on to become Miss Wisconsin and ultimately Miss America as a result of her musical talent.
On July 1, 1975, Dick married Susan Murphy, and they had two children: Krista Marie and Katra Mae. Dick was always interested in politics and in 1976 was the treasurer for Michele Radosevich's successful Wisconsin State Senate campaign. One of the major campaign events included the attendance of U.S. Senators Proxmire and Gaylord at the Larsen home on Jacob's Lane. Dick sold the Larsen Insurance Agency to Bernie McSorley and ran an unsuccessful bid for the Wisconsin State Assembly in 1982.
After several ventures, Dick began working for Universal Surety Company and traveled throughout as the Wisconsin state agent supervisor. In 1994, Dick and his family moved to Oregon, Wis. In his role with Universal Surety, he was able to combine work with his passion for traveling and local historical research. He became very familiar with the graveyards throughout the state where Wisconsin's Civil War soldiers were buried. As the years went by, he became known as a Wisconsin Civil War expert and began receiving letters and diaries from families throughout the county who wanted to know more information about their ancestors. He diligently transcribed letters and diaries and donated them to local libraries across the state. He helped to found the St. Croix Valley Civil War Round Table and was also a member of the Rock County Civil War Round Table and Waukesha County Civil War Round Table. He also served as treasurer of the Friends of the Wisconsin State Historical Society as well as the Oregon Historical Society.
In lieu of flowers, contributions to help preserve Dick's Wisconsin historical book collection to make as a donation to the Hudson Public Library is appreciated.
Dick is survived by his loving family, including Sue, his spouse of 37 years; children, Nicky (David) Keller, Christopher (Linda) Larsen, Michelle (David Lee) Scroggins, Mikael (Erin) Larsen, Krista Larsen, Katra Larsen; nine grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. He will be sadly missed.
His memorial service will be held at Prospect Park, Hudson, at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15. For more details, see the O'Connell Family Funeral Home of Hudson website at: www.oconnellfuneralhomes.com/obit.php?id=678.
A subsequent memorial service in the Madison area will be scheduled at a future date.
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