Curtis Luverne Larson

Elk River, Minnesota


Elk River, Minnesota


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Retired U of M Ag. Professor Passed Away Peacefully at Home With family on Nov. 15, just weeks after celebrating his 90th birthday on 10-10-10. We will miss our Dad so much! His love of life and people made his days rich until the very end. He was a farm kid turned professor and international hydrologist, whose diverse paths led him from a one-room school house to consulting on four continents to tutoring in St. Paul during retirement. He never met a problem he didn't want to solve, a pragmatist and optimist to the end. Curt modeled love in action, a way of being that lives on in all who were privileged to know him. Curt was the son of Leslie and Ruth Larson of Cottonwood, MN where he grew up, brought into the world in 1920 by his midwife grandmother on his family's farm in Vallers Township, Lyon County. He was a descendant of immigrants of the Leirdal family of Lusterfjord, Sogn, Norway - with whom he exchanged visits and maintained contact. He was a long-time resident of Falcon Heights and co-founder of Falcon Heights Community Park. At 16 Curt left the farm and earned a degree in civil engineering in 1943 from the U. of Minnesota. He met Miriam Johnson of S. Minneapolis at a dance, and they married. Curt entered the Navy and served as ship engineer on the USS Kenneth M. Willett in the S. Pacific. Years later he and Miriam took the family to Stanford, California, where he earned his PhD. Curt served 39 years on the Agricultural Engineering faculty at the U of M. He loved travelling and working in Latin America and around the world, especially Colombia, where he made lifelong friends. Consulting destinations ranged from Tunisia and Spain to Chile and the Panama Canal. Curt co-developed with Russell Mein the Mein-Larson equation widely used to forecast rainfall runoff and infiltration in small watersheds. This work was cited as a "landmark paper" by McGraw Hill. Last May he was recognized for 60 years of membership in the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, which in 1984 honored him with the Hancor Soil and Water Engineering Award. Curt was an advisor and mentor to dozens of international students, and to his children and grandchildren, successfully encouraging advanced education, world travel, service, and hearty Norwegian food at Christmas. Curt cared devotedly for Miriam through a long battle with rheumatoid arthritis, and she passed away in 1983. Soon he joined Marjorie Olson (formerly Woodcock), also widowed, in marriage. Upon retirement they spent their "golden years" together travelling the world and volunteering. They loved trips to their log cabin in Au Train, Upper Michigan where they hosted grandchildren, canoed, fished and sailed, and brought home coolers of pasties. Curt loved hisfamily, Tatum Street neighbors, and community. He loved music, from opera to folk songs. He served in the choir at St. Michael's Lutheran as well as on the church council and building committee. He volunteered with the North Suburban Kiwanis, Meals on Wheels and Global Volunteers. For 12 years at the Ronald M. Hubbs Center in St. Paul he tutored adults in math. Then he recruited other retired U of M professors to tutor also. He will be greatly missed by friends, colleagues and family - daughter, Jean; sons, Reed (Sharon Irish) and Mark (Mary Kennedy); grandchildren Bridget (Andrew Hoel); Miriam and Renner; Gabriel, Britta and Laura; brother, Donald and sister, Donna Mae; in-laws, Martha (Alan Stormo) and Toni. Also missed by his second family, Jack, Cindy, Mara and Ben; Edith and Fred; Matt and Stephanie; Carla and Cathy and many more relatives. Curt was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Miriam (Johnson) - married 39 years, and by his beloved wife of 21 years, Marjorie (Peterson) - and by brother, Roger, and sisters-in-law, Joan and Vi. Last year Curt met his goal of publishing memoirs of his early life - Memories of a Farm Kid. This Oct. 25th, he endured a heart attack, adding to other health challenges. From his hospital bed he asked to return to his home at assisted living. He regained strength at first and vowed to walk again. He joined sing-a-longs, went to exercise class, played Wii bowling, and loyally watched the Vikings. But like with an old tractor, not enough spare parts could be found to patch up a man who had lived his mission to the fullest. Warmest thanks to wonderful staff and friends at Sunrise of Roseville, family members, friends at 1661 Coffman, all at St. Michael's, and university colleagues. Curt would say, "Tusen takk!" - a thousand Norwegian thanks! Visitation Sunday Nov. 21, 4 to 7 PM (TODAY) at the Roseville Memorial Chapel, 2245 N. Hamline Ave. just south of Hwy 36, and also 1 hour prior to the service at church. Funeral service 11 AM Monday Nov. 22 at St. Michael's Lutheran Church, 1660 W. County Rd. B, 2 blocks west of Snelling Ave, Roseville. Curt will be laid to rest alongside Miriam at Roselawn Cemetery on Larpenteur Ave. in Roseville. Memorials are welcome to the Minnesota Literacy Council, St. Michael's Lutheran Church, or the Ronald M. Hubbs Center in St. Paul, where Curt tutored; it offers adult literacy, GED, ESL, and job skills to dropouts, immigrants and other adults. 651-631-2727

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My mother, Norma Olson, very much appreciated reading Curt Larson's book "Memories of A Farm Kid". She was sorry to hear of his passing and she would like to return the book to Curt's family. Please call Becky Stannard, her daughter, at 651-646-0586 if you would like us do this.

The Larsons lived next door to our family when their three kids and ours were small and they were wonderful neighbors. I send our sympathy to Mark, Reed and Jeanie. The service for Curt was such a nice one and I'm glad I could be there. I loved your dad.
Carol Johansen

In sympathy, on behalf of the Saint Anthony Falls Laboratory.

On behalf of the staff at Courage Center, please accept our condolences on the loss of Curtis. Our thoughts are with you during this difficult time.

Dear Professor Larson's family,

I give thanks for Professor Larson's life and know he put this prayer to practice in his life. Thanks for the memories.

"Lead me from death to Life,
from falsehood to Truth.
Lead me from despair to Hope,
From fear to Trust.
Lead me from hate to Love,
from war to Peace.
Let Peace fill my heart, my world, my universe."

May this Peace of Our Lord be with you always,


May the light he brought to others continue to shine in his memory.

Jeanie, Reed, and Mark, Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. Your Dad made a significant contribution in his life - first and foremost - the three of you. Jane Newell

So sorry to hear of your loss.