James Louis Larson, 85, was born July 22, 1928 and passed away July 5, 2014 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. His first loves were Marilyn, his wife, his family and his Lutheran church. He devoted much time to his family, along with fishing and hunting in many exotic locales worldwide, including the sub and high Artic, snow skiing in Europe, snowmobiling at the cabin in Michigan, and motorcycling. He enjoyed traveling with Marilyn, antique music machines, classic cars, and his Wednesday lunch group at Fort Wayne Country Club. Jim spent an idyllic childhood in Clarendon Hills, Illinois, then a rural suburb of Chicago. Jim, his twin sister Jess,...
James Louis Larson, 85, was born July 22, 1928 and passed away July 5, 2014 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. His first loves were Marilyn, his wife, his family and his Lutheran church. He devoted much time to his family, along with fishing and hunting in many exotic locales worldwide, including the sub and high Artic, snow skiing in Europe, snowmobiling at the cabin in Michigan, and motorcycling. He enjoyed traveling with Marilyn, antique music machines, classic cars, and his Wednesday lunch group at Fort Wayne Country Club.
Jim spent an idyllic childhood in Clarendon Hills, Illinois, then a rural suburb of Chicago. Jim, his twin sister Jess, and older brother Wally, played hide-and seek in the lush flower and vegetable gardens and climbed trees in the orchard that surrounded their home. Summer vacations were spent fishing and hunting at a lake in Northern Wisconsin, and at relatives' cottages on Sylvan Lake near Rome City, Indiana.
Jim's boyhood town was still small during Jim's high school years so he attended Hinsdale High School in the adjacent town. He worked summers in the vast Chicago train yards. Tall and thin in stature, he was lowered into the pistons of giant locomotives, and after cleaning and repairing them, was pulled back out.
After graduating from Hinsdale High School in 1946, he joined the U. S. Army and served in occupied Japan from 1946 to 1947. Upon his honorable discharge, he followed his brother to the University of Wisconsin, where he studied engineering and joined the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. He met fellow student Marilyn Gottschalk and after her college graduation and his first year of law school they married in a Christmastime ceremony. Then Jim was drafted and served from 1953 to 1954 in the Korean Conflict. After Jim's second military tour of duty, he returned to University of Wisconsin law school and graduated in 1955, then passed the Wisconsin and Indiana Bar.
He began practicing law with James Jackson and Robert Parrish. Jim practiced law for 42 years and enjoyed working as an Allen County Attorney for many years. During many of those years he worked seven days a week, prepping clients for trial. Before title insurance was available he spent evenings and Saturdays examining abstracts that his mortgage-lender clients required to verify their collateral interests.
After Marilyn and Jim's second daughter, Sheryl, and son, Eric, were born, Jim tried to dedicate Sunday afternoons to hikes with the kids in the Erie Canal and local parks. As the kids grew, Marilyn persuaded Jim to buy a boat, and the family began weekend sojourns to local lakes, eventually buying on Clear Lake.
Jim and Marilyn always made time for family summer vacations, exploring much of the United States. While on the road, Jim kept the conversation lively with stories about the different states and their notable citizens, and quizzes on state capitals and counties.
Jim also made time to be a founder and president of an antique automobile club, acquiring a 1936 Auburn, Model Ts, Model As, a Packard Caribbean, and a Model A circus truck with a calliope on the back. Jim drove and played the calliope in the Three Rivers Festival and other holiday parades. Jim was also a Rotarian, a Shriner, a Fort Wayne Country Club member, a member of the G. R. Q. Investment Club, a member of the Sitzmark Ski Club, and a member of the Allen County and Indiana Bar Associations. He was active in several different Lutheran church fundraising campaigns. He was known for being selfless, caring, kind, insightful, witty, fun and well-organized. In retirement, Jim continued with his philanthropic organizations, adding Sertoma Club; he was its program director for years.
Jim's battle with leukemia was waged with tremendous optimism and courage, aided by the devoted support of his wife, family and many loving friends. As his health worsened, his attitude remained graceful and fully involved.
Wherever Jim was, his beaming smile, upbeat attitude, and desire to catch up on friends' lives was always present. His wife Marilyn was truly the center of his life; that is why she is mentioned so frequently. His great joy was helping his wife and children and watching them excel. He believed that teaching was most efficiently accomplished by setting a good example, and correcting quietly and rarely.
Jim is survived by Marilyn, his wife of 61 years; children, Christine (Edward) Danoff, Sheryl Thompson, and Eric Larson; grandchildren, Trevor Thompson and Katherine Thompson; and his older brother, Walfred Larson. His twin sister Jessine predeceased him.
Funeral service, concluding with Military Honors, will be held at 12:00 pm on Wednesday, July 9, 2014 at Greenlawn Funeral Home, 6750 Covington Road, Fort Wayne, IN 46804 with visitation two hours prior. Visitation will also be on Tuesday, July 8, 2014 from 6 to 8 pm at the funeral home. Interment and graveside service will follow thereafter at Concordia Cemetery Gardens, 5300 Lake Ave., Fort Wayne, IN 46815. Preferred memorials may be made to Southwest Lutheran Church, the Sertoma Club, or Cancer Services of North East Indiana.
Rest in Peace, Jim. You had an amazing, friend-and-action-filled life!