Kenneth Rudolph Larsen, age 90, from Cheboygan, Michigan, Zephyrhills, Florida and most recently Gwinn, Michigan passed away peacefully at UP Health System Marquette after a sudden illness. He was surrounded by his loving family.
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Ken ‘Papa’ Larsen was born January 20, 1929 in Crystal Falls, Michigan to Rudolph and Edith (Anderson) Larsen. He graduated from Sault Ste. Marie High School, Class of 1946 and attended Lake Superior State College to become a Registered Land Surveyor prior to joining the United States Army where he was stationed in the Philippines during the Korean War.
While working for the United Stated Army Corps of Engineers he and his father worked on the Poe Lock and the Hydro Electric System in Sault Ste. Marie. It was while surveying for the yet to be built K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base and staying at the Gwinn Inn that he met his wife of sixty-two plus years, Ann Barbiere.
The couple moved to Cheboygan where they raised three children and made a lovely home on Long Lake which would later become host to family picnics, reunions and special Fourth of July celebrations featuring grandson, James as Uncle Sam water skiing around the lake behind the 1962 red Rinkerbuilt runabout. A particularly memorable event was the 2016 marriage of grandson, Michael to Gaylynn out on the dock.
Being a Land Surveyor allowed Ken to be in the Michigan out of doors he loved so much as well as stay in great shape trekking through the woods. He was an avid woodsman, and a human compass who never got lost. On the day the Mackinaw bridge opened, he ferried across the Straits in the morning and drove back across the bridge in the afternoon.
Ken was a very intelligent man, full of wit and humor, sharing priceless sayings and making friends wherever he went. Going to the store for just a few items would turn into an hours long event because Ken would talk to everyone he met, hence the saying: “Papa disappeared”. He was a great example of a committed, faithful husband taking care of his wife through car accidents, medical struggles and dementia.
Ken enjoyed thirty years of retirement, traveling various routes across the United States to winter in Sun City, Arizona, Lake Okeechobee and Zephyrhills, Florida. He enjoyed golfing, boating, hunting, traveling, watching his grandchildren play sports, going to the Detroit Tigers Spring Training with his son, Jim and dancing with his wife, Annie.
Family was very important to Ken. He and his wife Ann rarely missed a family gathering, traveling far and wide to attend sporting events, weddings, graduations, anniversaries, reunions and other events. Ken is going to be missed immensely!
He is preceded in death by his parents; beloved wife, Ann; and grandson, Rudy Ray Larsen.
He is survived by children: Marie (Jim) Wisniewski of Prescott Valley, AZ, Nanette (John Merica) of Traverse City, MI, Jim (Pam) Larsen of Gwinn, MI; six grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.
A celebration of Ken’s life will take place on Friday November 8th at the Marquette Church of Christ, 1104 W. Fair Avenue, Marquette, MI
The family will receive guests from 10-11am with services at 11am followed by fellowship over lunch. Son, Jim Larsen, minister for Marquette Church of Christ, will officiate. Interment will be in the Gwinn Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Ken’s memory to Ronald McDonald House charities.
Arrangements are entrusted to Koskey Funeral Home.