On May 3, 2014, at 3:23 p.m. a precious soul left this earth. Fairbanks resident and Alaska sourdough, Wayne Fredrik Larson, passed away unexpectedly.|
Wayne was born May 1, 1947, and raised in Kirkland, Washington. He first fell in love with Alaska in 1965 during a summer surveying job. He served honorably in the U.S. Navy during Vietnam, including time in Guam, before he arrived in Anchorage in 1970.
He met his bride, Marijo Pickering, while they both worked in banking, and they married in 1971. Using the GI Bill, Wayne began his engineering studies at Anchorage Community College.
In December 1973, with their newborn daughter, Heather, the young adventurous family drove to Fairbanks for Wayne to complete his mining engineering degree at UAF, graduating in 1976. While finishing his education, he worked for the State of Alaska Department of Transportation (DOT), achieved his registered professional engineers license, and received an appointment as a U.S. Deputy mineral surveyor.
Their second child, Hansel, was born in 1978, when they lived in the home they built on Chena Ridge. Their daughter, Patryce McKinney, joined the family in 1993.
Wayne was entrusted to establish the Fairbanks office of USKH. After accomplishing that mission, he moved on to work for the City of Fairbanks, first as assistant director of public works and later in the engineering department.
After his retirement from the city, he and his wife devoted all of their time to Northern Latitude Associates, fulfilling his dream of being a small business owner.
Wayne's community interests and involvement was diverse. As his children grew, he was a member of both Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.
He served as the chairman of the Chamber of Commerce Transportation Committee for 16 years, was a member of the FNSB Platting Board, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Society of Professional Engineers and an affiliate member of the Greater Fairbanks Board of Realtors.
To balance the challenge of working in winter extremes with bunny boots and snowshoes, Wayne was often spotted doing his summer field work in shorts and Hawaiian shirt. With the white beard of recent years and beaver hat, Wayne resembled Sourdough Jack of News-Miner fame; if you are younger than 6, then he resembled Santa Claus. Wayne was a jokester and he had one for every occasion.
In addition to his family time, Wayne enjoyed boating, fishing, Birch Lake, pinochle, bowling, music, rock and mineral collecting, camping, his annual male bonding weekend at Red Shirt Lake, and napping. Although he was flown and not grown here, he truly loved the independent spirit that Alaskans embrace, balanced with the camaraderie that living in the harsh Interior encourages.
Wayne was preceded in death by his parents, Maurice and Ellie Larson, and his step-mother, Nellie Larson. He is survived by his business partner, soul mate, and wife of 43 years, Marijo Larson; their children and families: daughter, Heather and Russ Sharpton; grandchildren, Grayson, Kaia and Dagen Sharpton; son, Hansel and Dana Larson; grandchildren, Eli, and expected Baby Girl Larson; and daughter, Patryce McKinney.
A celebration of life will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 10, at the University Community Presbyterian Church, 3510 College Road, in Fairbanks.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to a
or one of the causes near and dear to his heart: the Food Bank, the Rescue Mission and Hospice. The greatest gift you could offer the family is to give a written memory of Wayne and how he touched your life. Those memories will allow his very young grandchildren to know him through your stories.
Published in Daily News-Miner on May 8, 2014