Denfeld News

October 12, 2011
Duluth News Tribune

Former Duluth deputy police chief Bob Larson dies
By Mark Stodghill

Bob Larson was comfortable with people of any class or race, and they were comfortable with him, retired Duluth police chief Scott Lyons said Tuesday.

“He had an uncanny ability to make anybody trust and like him,” Lyons said. “The high point of Bob was his personality and his ability to make everybody feel important. As my deputy chief, he was in charge of the uniformed division. There’s a lot of complaints and a lot of tension with incidents. He was very, very, very good at defusing those emotional situations.”

Larson, 64, of Duluth and Sarasota, Fla., died Monday at St. Mary’s Hospital, Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., after a battle with pneumonia and lung cancer. He joined the Duluth police force in 1970 and retired as deputy chief in 1999.

His family honored one of his basic philosophies by all being with him when he died.

“He always taught me that family was the most important thing, and even right to the end the most important thing was to have his family around him last night,” said son Brett Larson.

“All he kept saying last night was that he knew there wasn’t anything
they could do for him, but that he knew he had a better life than most
and he was thankful,” his son said.

Bob Larson was born and raised in Duluth, graduated from Denfeld High School and attended the University of Minnesota Duluth, where he was a member of the Bulldogs’ 1968-69 hockey team.

He saw his son Brett captain the UMD hockey team and serve as an assistant coach on the Bulldogs’ national championship team last season. Brett is now coach and general manager with Sioux City (Iowa) in the U.S. Hockey League.

“He stayed over in my hotel room (in St. Paul) the night we won the national championship, and I will never forget that,” Brett said.

The son was asked what he learned from his dad about competing in athletics. “He never put any pressure on me … give me a second,” he said with his voice breaking. “… As long as I gave it everything I had, it didn’t matter. I never felt any pressure. Only support. … He was a great, caring guy, that loved his family and friends, and he would do anything for his kids.”

Bob Larson is survived by his wife, Terrie; daughter, Jamie, sons Brett and Reed; stepchildren Mike and Jenny; brothers Bill, Jack and Ken; and five grandchildren.

Visitation is from 10:30 a.m. until the noon service Saturday in United Baptist Church, 830 E. First St., with Pastor Tab Baumgartner officiating. A reception will follow at the Clyde Iron Works Restaurant.

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