Charles U. Larson
Born: December 27, 1940; in Minneapolis, MN
Died: November 27, 2020; in DeKalb, IL
Charles U. Larson, 79, of Sycamore died Friday, Nov. 27, 2020 at the Bethany Rehab and Nursing Home in DeKalb.
He was born Dec. 27, 1940 in Minneapolis, MN to Olof and Elsa (Olson) Larson. He married his wife of 55 years, Mary C. Strom on June 19, 1965 in Minneapolis.
Schooling. Graduate of University of Minnesota: BS, 1962. MA, 1965. PhD, 1968.
He taught high school English, directed plays and coached debate at Buffalo High School, Buffalo MN and Osseo High School, Osseo MN before moving to Northern Illinois University in 1968. He taught Persuasion, Advertising and Political Communication, Persuasive Campaigns.
Memberships included, Speech Communication Association, International Communication Association, Popular Culture Association, Westminster Presbyterian Church, DeKalb, IL., Sycamore Public Library Board and others.
Awards: sabbatical leave to study political campaigns- worked on Tom Railsback's legislative campaign in 1974.
Major Faculty Development Grant in Advertising 1990-1992. Included five graduate level courses at DePaul University and two internships, one at J. Walter Thompson in Chicago.
He was awarded the coveted University Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award, Distinguished Teaching Award from the Direct Marketing Association and the Distinguished Faculty Award from the Alumni Association. Additionally he was awarded the Outstanding Teacher Award four times by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Department of Communication. In its 14th edition, "Persuasion:Reception and Responsibility" has been used by students around the world since its first edition in 1973.
In addition to teaching, he served as President of the Faculty Senate and Executive Secretary of the University Council. Further, he served 19 years as Parliamentarian of the University Council. He was also founder of the humorous journal, The International Journal of Creature Communication, which illuminated the communication habits of (what else?) fish and proved very useful to many sportsmen and women over the years. The Journal included work by such distinguished artists as David Driesbach. Needless to say this was quashed by the Dean.
He enjoyed fishing, hunting, camping in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and recently completed training from the University of Illinois Extension as a Master Gardener.
Charlie had numerous hobbies and interests and always loved to make others smile or laugh. He loved telling corny and irreverent jokes (Sven and Ole were favorites) and was known for his accounts of baseball strategy of questionable veracity, including "the old hidden ball trick" and "boogerballs". He especially loved teaching and coaching his daughters and their teammates. He coached Cinderella softball for many seasons with Dairy Ripple treats after. Even into adulthood, his players remember key strategies like "shuffle, shuffle, down" to field a grounder and "watch the seams of the ball" at bat. The Bad News Bears had nothing on "Vance's 76" and "Royal Realty". He enjoyed trips to Wrigley Field - bringing his daughters and their friends to the bleacher section of the 1980's with signs for Harry Caray, softball mitts, and jars of bubbles. His most recent Cubs game was a rooftop trip with daughter Martha and grandson Hanlon to the critical Game 5 of the 2016 World Series.
He and daughters participated in YMCA's Guides/Princesses program, with trips to Chicago museums, magic lessons, and outdoor crafts. He was Southeast Elementary's first "Bearded Picture Lady" volunteer, teaching his daughters' classmates all about famous art. An adventurous spirit, he enjoyed fishing and camping in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area with friends and family, taking his daughters when they were as young as 7, and his most recent trip when he was age 75, with many trips between.
He built a seven+ story treehouse at the "Finlayson Farm" in Minnesota, where many summers were spent with extended family for swimming, fishing, horseback riding, reading, fried perch dinners in Sandstone, listening to Lake Wobegon on MPR while living in another "little town that time forgot and the decades cannot improve". Charlie and family hosted fireworks extravaganzas, hayloft forts and plays on top of the woodshed, and adventures to mysterious 'hunting grounds' by way of a 1940's farm truck that took a week to start. He enjoyed singing- in church choirs, with SPEBSQSA, and for years in the barbershop quartet "The Sycamorons" with vaudeville humor and good friends.
Later in life he became a treasured father figure to his twin grandchildren, Hanlon and Ingrid, who lost their own father at a young age. He taught his grandson how to hunt and fish, and his granddaughter how to drive a car and how to make the famous Charlie Larson dessert, "Best Pistachio Ting-A-Ling Ever." They both loved him dearly, and will miss him very much.
Survivors include his wife, Mary (Strom) Larson, daughters, Ingrid (Alex) Crepas and Martha (John) Kohlstrand, grandchildren, Ingrid O'Connor and Hanlon O'Connor, sister, Susan (Paul) Martinson and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Elsa and Olof Larson and sister, Sandra (Wells) Wright.
His memorial service will be live streamed on Saturday, Dec. 5th at 2:00 PM on the Westminster Presbyterian Church in DeKalb Facebook page for all to join.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be divided equally between The Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School and The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. http://oschool.org/donate
or The Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School, 6425 S. Ingleside Avenue, Chicago, IL 6063; www.jdrf.org/donate
or JDRF-Illinois, 1 E. Wacker Drive, Suite 1400, Chicago, IL 60601.
Arrangements were completed by the Butala Funeral Home and Crematory in Sycamore. To sign the online guest book or share a special memory, go to www.ButalaFuneralHomes.com