Robert Gordon Larsen Jr.
Resident of Moraga
Just 10 days after celebrating his 80th birthday with his wife, Sharyn Higham Larsen, family, and friends, Robert Gordon Larsen Jr. died of a debilitating illness on August 14, 2013, at his home in Moraga, California.
Bob was born on August 4, 1933, in Boston, Massachusetts, but spent most of his life in California. After marrying Sharyn in 1953 and graduating from Brigham Young University, he joined the U.S. Air Force
and trained as a pilot. He loved planes and liked to tell stories of flights nearly gone awry, such as when his gyroscope broke just before landing.
He left the Air Force to complete a Master's degree in psychology at U.C. Berkeley, and began a career with Contra Costa County social services in 1962. Bob served the county in many capacities over the next three decades, including as director of youth group homes and director of the children's shelter. During this time, he helped raise a family of five children and one foster child, took on leadership and teaching positions in the LDS church, backpacked, landscaped gardens, built bookcases, playhouses, and fences, and read thousands of books.
When he retired in his late 50s, Bob became immersed in numerous volunteer activities and hobbies. His large and beautiful yard in Moraga consumed hours weekly. With Sharyn, he served on two missions for the LDS church, including an 18-month humanitarian mission to Russia. An avid historian, Bob volunteered at the Oakland Family History Center, wrote books chronicling the lives of ancestors he found intriguing, and conducted oral histories.
He particularly enjoyed conducting the oral history of Robert Treuhaft, the radical East Bay lawyer married to author Jessica Mitford, which was published by the Berkeley Historical Society. Just two months before his death and while very ill, he traveled to Utah to present a paper to the Mormon History Association.
For his stories, his fascinating interests, and the important role he played in the lives of his family and friends, Bob will be greatly missed, especially by Sharyn; his children, Robert G. Larsen III, Kelly Larsen McKissick, Holly Larsen, Jonathan S. Larsen, and Kristine Larsen LaMay; 13 grandchildren, and many great grandchildren.
Services will be held on Monday, August 19, 2013, at 11:00 a.m. at the Moraga Ward LDS chapel, 3776 Via Granada, Moraga, CA 94556. Express condolences at www.oakparkhillschapel.com