LARSON, PAUL ROBERT - Minnehaha County, South Dakota | PAUL ROBERT LARSON - South Dakota Gravestone Photos

Paul Robert LARSON

South Dakota Veterans Cemetery - Sioux Falls Cemetery
Minnehaha County,
South Dakota

Paul R. Larson
February 15, 1943 - March 06, 2020
Paul Robert Larson, 77, passed away peacefully on March 6, 2020, at his home in Sioux Falls, SD, after a courageous journey battling metastatic melanoma.

His funeral service will begin at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 14, 2020 at Our Saviors Lutheran Church. Visitation will be from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Friday at Heritage Funeral Home.

Paul was born to Norma and Laurence Larson in St. Paul, MN, on February 15, 1943. From his early years he grew up exploring the woods, farms, and ponds in and around Beaver Lake, MN, with his black lab, Mac. He was captain of the lettermens’ club at North Saint Paul High School (’61) where he was a lightweight wrestler and played football. Paul earned his B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) in 1965. On December 21, 1966, he married Nickolee Ann Larson, whom he had known since the 8th grade, when he first noticed her wearing a cute purple dress. In college Paul gave Nickey rides from North St. Paul and first charged her money for gas, but he eventually stopped charging. The rest is history: Paul and Nickey were married for 53 years. Paul came up with many endearing nicknames for Nickey over this time that define their decades of married life, beginning with “The Fox,” continuing with “Boomie” after a minor car accident, and ending with “Grammie” and “Gamma Gamma” after the arrival of grandchildren. Most consistently Paul called Nickey “The Queen” and naturally referred to himself as “The Staff” in many an annual humorous Christmas letter.

In 1966 Paul enlisted in the US Army in the hopes of getting a better assignment in Vietnam for enlisting rather than being drafted. As a college graduate, he enrolled in Officer’s Candidate School at Fort Benning from July-December 1966. He went to Intelligence School from January-May 1967. Paul was deployed to Vietnam in early 1968 and served near the DMZ with the 55th army regiment as a 1st Lieutenant and as an interrogator and intelligence operations specialist attached to the Marines. Paul was discharged in December 1968; Nickey and Paul’s first child, Stephanie, was born in November 1968 while he was in the field.

During his army years he made some of his many lifelong friendships: with Al Volkman (“Dragon), from officer’s candidate school, and with Joe Mann, who served with Paul on the ground in Vietnam 1968, along with many other outstanding men. Paul’s senses of duty, discipline, and service were heightened by his military experiences and deeply influenced his varied pursuits for the rest of his life.

Paul worked his way up the IBM career ladder for thirty years from 1969-1999. He started as a sales representative and ended as a branch manager in Sioux Falls, having also worked in Minneapolis, Tallahassee, and White Plains. In his early years at IBM in Tallahassee, Paul and Nickey also celebrated their second child, Elizabeth, in March 1974. Paul’s IBM colleagues respected him as a fair, hard-working manager and mentor, and he was promoted to the Sioux Falls branch in 1979. Paul worked so much that in 1980 he (together with his old friend Don Weber) built himself a cabin at Sunshine Point on Big Stone Lake to get away from it all. This cabin became one of his favorite places in the world, and from those early days he went there as often as he could. Upon leaving IBM in the late 1980s, Paul opened his own small systems and computing business, High Plains Marketing. Throughout his years at IBM and at High Plains, he made significant lifelong friends.

Paul pursued other passions: hunting and fishing in the great outdoors of South Dakota, or “the weeds” as he liked to call it. His seasonal rotation of activities encompassed a broad range of hunting, interspersed with tall tales, blonde jokes, and occasional sips of whiskey. Every summer, Paul went perch fishing with his sister Suz, in his top-secret fishing spots on Big Stone, Pickerel and Waubay Lakes. In recent years, they often limited out. He also experienced modest success goose hunting at “the shack” with Jack and Larry Muehl – a boom-or-bust endeavor on the mighty Mo in Pierre. These escapades were followed by “goose drinks” and pie – a regular ritual there which not only celebrated victory over the “honker,” but numbed one’s reaction to the large and nightly onslaught of visitors at the shack (a.k.a. mice). Paul also formed an elite Northern Pike ice-spearing team with Mike “Walleye” Werner, eventually convincing Mike of the legitimacy of tip-ups. Annual deer hunting in Langford with Carleton Hupke, Keith Hupke, and Paulie Reints yielded good freezers full of venison, although the true impetus behind these excursions may actually have been the Hupke family’s peanut/angel food cake rolls and fried chicken. Throughout the year, Paul also engaged in a cornucopia of back woods adventures with his pal, Bryan Maas, pursuing most types of North American mammals. Paul and “the Arkansas boys” also helped Bryan keep the local pheasant population on its toes. Occasionally, Paul’s daughter Elizabeth joined in these outdoor shenanigans, mostly as an armchair anthropologist focused on observing South Dakota’s hunting and fishing tribe of “old farts and dinosaurs.” Elizabeth and Bryan accompanied Paul on his final hunting trip this past winter, harvesting an elk from the West River prairie.

For many years, Paul led a group of lifelong friends on annual canoe trips in the Boundary Waters. The group paddled their hearts out and portaged through rain and shine for a chance to fry up a lake trout or two, dust off their navigational skills, and share tales around the fire.

In an effort to train young men to become better adults and also to enjoy the great outdoors, Paul became the Assistant Scout Master of Troop 371 when it was first formed at his church in the 1980s. He mentored many scouts toward their merit badges (70+ Eagle Scouts), and he served as the high adventurer “guy,” guiding and coaching on hiking and canoeing trips, often including a yearly trip to Philmont. His service to these boys was selfless, and he was awarded many honors for his work, including scouting’s highest award for civilians, the Silver Beaver Award. Paul has chosen to be buried in his boy scout uniform.

Paul is survived by his wife, Nickey, his two daughters, Stephanie (Kevin Daly) and Elizabeth (Suraj Bohora Chhetri), grandchildren Maggie and Sean Daly, and Saugat and Aaradhana Grace Bohora Chhetri, his sister, Norma Larson (Suz), sister-in-law Gretchen Erwin, brother-in-law Jim Erwin, sister-in-law Mary Jean Nystrom, and five nieces and one nephew.

In lieu of flowers, Paul requested donations in his name be made either to Boy Scout Troop 371 or to Lutherans Outdoors.

His funeral service will begin at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 14, 2020 at Our Saviors Lutheran Church. Visitation will be from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Friday at Heritage Funeral Home.

Section 3 Grave # 6 Interment 4 Jun 2021

Contributed on 8/6/21 by 9katz
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Record #: 272499

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Submitted: 8/6/21 • Approved: 8/9/21 • Last Updated: 8/12/21 • R272499-G0-S3

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