Peter L. Lassen
1939 - 2018
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August 22, 1939 - August 8, 2018 Elysian Park has lost its mightiest Oak. A good friend of the park and a longtime resident of Echo Park, Peter Lorentz Lassen, passed away peacefully in his sleep on August 8th, just days short of his 79th birthday. A neighborhood fixture, and a champion of good causes, Peter will be remembered by all who knew him for his broad smile and hearty laughter. His list of committees and community commitments was exhaustive. Born August 22nd, 1939 at Good Samaritan Hospital, of Danish descent, Peter was a native Angeleno, and spent most of his life here, after graduating from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. In the 1960s, while serving in the U.S. Army, Peter sustained a lower spinal cord injury thus making him a paraplegic. After his convalescence, he relocated to Washington D.C., taking a job as executive director of the Paralyzed Veterans of America, where he continued to advocate for people with disabilities, and worked for the Veterans Administration, developing accessibility standards for all. Peter Lassen helped draft the Americans with Disabilities Act. This led to his studying architecture, receiving a Master's degree in architecture from the University of North Carolina, Raleigh. Returning to Los Angeles, in the 1980s, Peter set about solving every problem he saw, developing housing for the homeless, working with the L.A. Conservation Corps to plant over 15,000 trees all over Los Angeles, with at risk youth, serving as a member of the Steering Committee of the Citizens Committee to Save Elysian Park, teaching Handicapped Accessibility in the Landscape Architecture Program at UCLA Extension, and serving on committees too numerous to mention. Peter was also a marathon runner, who worked out in the Dodger Stadium parking lot, using his wheelchair in 40-plus marathons all over the country. Peter was an architect, an artist, a patron of Arts, a neighborhood ambassador, and pillar of his beloved Elysian Park community. He is survived by his brother, Eric Lassen of Santa Barbara, his sister Karen Lassen of Berkeley, as well as his niece Susie Lassen, nephew Christopher Lassen and grandniece Ashley Varga. A memorial for Peter Lassen will be held Tuesday, September 4th from 5-8 pm at the Grace E. Simons Lodge, in Elysian Park. In the spirit of Peter's love of diverse cuisines, friendship and community this event is a potluck dinner. Please bring a tasty dish Peter would have enjoyed. Beverages will be provided. For more information, please contact Matt Chesse? at

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Published in Los Angeles Times from Aug. 25 to Aug. 26, 2018.
Memorial service
05:00 - 08:00 PM
Grace E. Simons Lodge
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14 entries
November 12, 2018
I hadn't heard from Peter in several weeks, tried his two phones several times and fearing the worst, checked the internet and just learned of his death today, November 11th, via this web site. Firstly, I'd like to express my sincere condolences to his brother, sister and other surviving family members.
I met Peter about 20 years ago through family friends who knew him from his St. Olaf days. His constant good humor was indeed infectious and no party really began before he got there to join it. He was energy personified and nothing slowed him down. Three or four times each year, I'd drive to his home above Dodger Stadium, an architectural masterpiece inside and out, defying easy description, to have a drink (usually a couple wee drams of Scotch and at Christmas-time, his home made Danish atholbrose liquer from an ancient family recipe) and have dinner at some unusual L.A. restaurant, old favorites of ours or a new one we'd try out. Sometimes we would check out a new show at a local museum.
His many civic engagements and contributions to his beloved Los Angeles have been detailed by other people in other pages, so I won't mention what I know of them here, but I'd like his family and friends to know how much he helped me personally as well:
I cannot thank him enough for the profoundly wise and sage advice he gave me covering so many aspects of my own life, over the many years of our friendship. He became like an older brother to me and our friendship, based on so many shared interests, attitudes and sensibilities intersecting through the rich panoply of our respective lives, was always a joy to me. We took several road trips together to celebrate Thanksgiving with mutual friends in Utah and what a trooper he was! I was so impressed with his travel savvy that I invited him to join me on a trip to Thailand and northern Cambodia where we toured the Angkor Wat ruins. We were planning to travel to Mexico to see the ancient Mayan city of Palenque before he passed away.
We had so much fun together! Now I will miss him terribly but my memories of him and our countless hours together, discussing the wide-ranging topics we both loved, philosophy, religion, history, politics, art, music, FOOD (!) and everything else we covered, will remain a true treasure to me. The world will be a palpably impoverished place for his absence, but I take great pleasure in having known him well. I will honor him by dedicating myself to fulfilling his good advice, as he honored me with his great friendship.
Roger Osborne
September 4, 2018
You were the warmest and best person I knew at St. Olaf. Bev and I and Jerry Johnston will be honoring you today at Elysian Park, Rest In Peace, my friend.
August 31, 2018
Always a happy face and smile. Peter was my neighbor he will truly be missed by all, especially his friends and family on Boylston Street.
Lupe Burgos
August 30, 2018
Peter always had the best smile and was so warm and friendly as well as witty. He will be missed.
Lisa Bentson
August 28, 2018
The honor of knowing Pete through my Sanoff family leaves me heartbroken to think that we now are without him. Yet, Pete truly was unbroken. He was indomitable.I know that his spirit of encouragement now continues to break through darkness with brilliant light. I believe that Pete was not one to stop with a question of why, but one to insist with the statement of when. Pete made life happen. Thank you, Pete. There is a greater good because of you.❤ Jo Jackson Raleigh, NC
Jo Jackson
August 28, 2018
Pete was family and we always had a special bond. I have so many wonderful memories and they will always make me smile. Pete was the strongest and most fearless man I have ever met. He was and remains an inspiration and all of us that knew him make us better people because of it. His smile and laugh was contagious and I could pick up the phone at anytime and he was always there for me. Pete only knew unconditional love. I will miss him more than words can express but he will always be in my heart and I will always hear is laugh.
Zoe Sanoff
August 27, 2018
our last meeting in Northfield, MN
He was such an inspiration to us all. Meeting him for the first time in grad school, I remember going out the back of the dorm to a series of steps. I told him I didn't see a ramp for his wheelchair. He quickly reared back balancing on the rear wheels and proceeded to bounce down the stairs much to my horror! When we got to the bottom I asked what was he thinking. In his typical nature he responded no problem I've got a steel plate in the back of my head if I fall back it's not a problem. That attitude permeated his entire persona! No problem. And that laugh was infectious. I have been so lucky to actually end up in the town of his undergraduate college experience. For years I'd get to see Peter Lassen when he'd visit in advance of him participating in the wheelchair category in the Twin Cities Marathon that he had earlier been able to run in. What an indomitable spirit for us all to learn from. I'm richer from having had you in my life.
Wes Chapman
August 27, 2018
I was an old friend of Peter's mother, Sigrid Lassen. She helped me as a post polio in the 40s. I remember the three Lassen children visiting us a few times.

I met Peter once with his parents in Santa Barbara.

Karen came to visit us during our four years in Berkeley.

My sympathy to all of you,

Gwen Garland Babcock
Gwen Babcock
August 27, 2018
My sympathy to all the Lassen family. I was an old friend of his mother, Sigrid Lassen.

I knew the three Lassen children when they were children.

What a good and useful life he has lived. I am happy that I saw the obituary in the Times.
Gwen Babcock
August 27, 2018
Pete was a former student of mine at NCSU, but more important he was a dear friend of all my family members. In fact we regard Pete as family and nothing is worse than losing a family member.
Henry Sanoff
August 27, 2018
Marvin and Peter
Eileen Seeley
August 27, 2018
Marvin and Peter
We met Peter after Grandma's Marathon in Duluth MN. Shared stories over morning coffee, found out he went to St Olaf and we had many mutual friends. (we live in Northfield). Once Peter knew where to find us he would frequently roll into our store to surprise us and say Hi! Last time we saw Peter was in LA at a show my daughter was hosting. He made a special trip to the venue to see us. He will be missed. Eileen Seeley and Marvin Korbel (Northfield, MN)
August 27, 2018
He was a special man. His smile and laughter filled the room and made everyone feel great. A good St. Olaf friend to many of us and he will be missed.
Charles Schwenk
August 27, 2018
We've known Andy for nearly 60 years. He was a real friend and will truly be missed. Jim and Sally Bowe
Jim and Sally Bowe
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