GERALD PIERRE LARSON B.S.D., D.D.S., M.S.
1921 ~ 2012
Jerry Larson was born on October 6, 1921. He passed away at age 91 on December 9, 2012, after a brief illness. Jerry was born to Elmer and Marjorie (Clapper) Larson, in Moline, Illinois. He had one younger brother, Wallace, who died December 5, 2011. His father worked for the Rock Island Railroad, and his mother was a homemaker.
Jerry graduated from high school in Esterville, Iowa, in 1939. He then attended Omaha University from 1941-42, and went on to dental school at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, from 1943-45. In 1943, while still at Creighton University, he entered the U.S. Navy V-12 program as an ensign. He was transferred by the U.S. Navy to the University of Iowa Dental School in 1945. He received his B.S.D. degree from Creighton University in 1945, his D.D.S. degree from the University of Iowa in Iowa City in 1946, and his M.S. degree from the University of Iowa in 1949.
On March 17, 1945, Jerry married Dorothy Jane Loder, a nurse, in Council Bluffs, Iowa. He was commissioned as a Lt. J.G. in the U.S. Navy Dental Corps in 1946, and sent to Tokyo, Japan, for duty at the 42nd General Hospital. While there, he had Arthur MacArthur, the son of General Douglas MacArthur, as a patient and also many of General McArthur's senior officers. In 1948 he was honorably discharged from the military and received the American Campaign Victory Medal for WWII. Jerry then returned to the University of Iowa to complete his orthodontic training. Daughter Susan Jane was born in 1946 and son Stephen Craig in 1949.
When Jerry was age 19, he traveled with the Union Pacific Railroad Band playing clarinet. On a promotional train with George Burns and Gracie Allen, he went though beautiful Boise, Idaho. There was snow on the ground and deer and elk right downtown … something a young man from the plains of Iowa had never seen. In 1949, when Boise circulated letters in hopes of recruiting a second orthodontist, Dr. Gerald Larson accepted, and moved his family here. He opened his orthodontic practice in Boise on August 22, 1949. His wife, Dorothy Jane, died in childbirth on May 19, 1954, and the child, a son, died too.
Jerry married Marjorie Ann Fritschle on October 16, 1955. She adopted Susan and Stephen. Daughter Dorothy Ann was born in 1956. Marjorie died from pancreatic cancer on August 7, 1988.
Jerry retired on September 1, 1999, after 50 years of orthodontic practice. His greatest professional joy was helping disabled children to have beautiful smiles, especially through the Idaho Cleft Palate Team. It was obvious to all who met him that he was one of those rare people who truly loved his profession and was passionate about helping others. He never refused a patient due to their inability to pay, and often received gifts for years after their treatment was completed. There are over 5,000 beautiful smiles in Idaho because of Dr. Gerald Larson.
Jerry enjoyed fishing and hunting in Idaho for many years, as well as working with stained glass and raising Arabian horses. He always had a dog, and after Marjorie died the dog moved indoors and became his constant companion. Jerry especially enjoyed travel abroad, both before and after retirement, often combining such trips with attendance at international orthodontic meetings and taking family members with him. Most of all he loved visiting his relatives in Sweden and working on the Larsson genealogy, which he traced back to the early 1800's. At the time Jerry could no longer travel, his passport had been stamped in fifteen foreign countries.
Dr. Gerald Larson served professionally as:
President of the Idaho State Society of Orthodontists
President of the Southwest Idaho District Dental Society
President of the Northern Component, Pacific Coast Society of Orthodontists
Director of the Pacific Coast Society of Orthodontists
Acting State Dental Director of the Idaho Dept. of Health & Welfare
Orthodontist with the Cleft Palate Team., Crippled Children's Service of Idaho
Senior Consultant, Crippled Children's Service, Idaho Dept. of Health & Welfare
Dental Director (Captain) Reserve Status U.S. Public Health Service
Board of Trustees, Northwest Christian College in Eugene, Oregon
Dr. Larson received his certification with the National Board of Dental Examiners in 1950, and was certified as a Diplomat with the American Board of Orthodontists in 1958. He was a charter member of the College of Diplomats, and the American Board of Orthodontics. He held his Orthodontic Licensure in the states of Idaho, Nebraska, and Iowa.
His Dental practice locations were as follows:
Ogallala, Nebraska, general dentistry, 1946
U.S. Navy, 42nd General Hospital, Tokyo, Japan - general dentistry 1946-1948
Boise, Idaho, Orthodontist, August 22, 1949-September 1, 1999
Mountain Home, Idaho, Orthodontist 1984-1999
Dr. Larson held professional memberships in:
American Dental Association
Federation Dentaire International
World Federation of Orthodontists
Idaho State Dental Association
Pacific Coast Society of Orthodontists
Idaho State Society of Orthodontists
College of Diplomats, American Board of Orthodontists
American Cleft Palate Association
Rotary Club, Paul Harris Fellow
Jerry Larson is survived by his daughter Susan Clark (John); son Stephen; daughter Dot Mattefs (Jeff); seven grandchildren, Janie Thomas (Brad), John Clark, Anna Clark, Nicole Cirone (Joe), David Larson (Andrea), Matthew Mattefs ( Rachel) and Elizabeth Mattefs; seven great-grandchildren, Jacqueline, Parker, Cooper, Ryder, Alisa, Brielle, and Gianna; sister-in-law Thelma Larson and her children Gary and DeDe.
Donations may be made in memory of Dr. Gerald P. Larson to The United States Navy Memorial (http://www.navymemorial.org/)
A visitation will be held on Thursday, December 13th, 5:00 to 8:00 pm at Cloverdale Funeral Home. Gerald's funeral service will be Friday, December 14th 3:00 pm at Cloverdale Funeral Home Chapel. Graveside services concluding at Cloverdale Memorial Park.
To share memories with the family please visit Gerald's memorial webpage at www.cloverdalefuneralhome.com.
Published in Idaho Statesman from Dec. 12 to Dec. 19, 2012
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