Dec. 20, 1937 — Nov. 28, 2017
Gary K. Larson, 79, passed away on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. He remained independent in the care of his wife, Charlotte, until December 2013, when he willingly moved into the Windsor Manor Alzheimer’s Unit in Algona. He has spent the last three years in the loving care of the West Bend Care Center.
Gary was born to Richard and Naomi Larson at Irish Hospital in Forest City on Dec. 20, 1937. He grew up on the family farm north of Crystal Lake and graduated from Forest City High School in 1955. Gary enjoyed square dancing and calf roping, he loved the Sons of the Pioneers and John Wayne. A little known fact was his talent for playing the accordion and roller skating when he was young.
Gary married his lifelong love, Charlotte Wise in Wesley, on Oct. 4, 1959. The couple began their life together in a trailer house parked on the Larson farm in Crystal Lake where Gary farmed 80 acres and raised hogs. In the next few years they would rent a house and land near Thompson and another near Britt until the fall of 1966, when they bought their dream home and farm three miles northwest of Rake where Gary raised hogs and cattle and farmed 180 acres. Gary and Charlotte raised two children (Lisa and Ryan) at this farm where they resided from 1966 until 1991. Gary took great pride in his farm and his family, caring for both with meticulous detail. During the off-season, Gary occupied his time with too many odd jobs to count in order to make ends meet.
After the death of their only son Ryan in 1990, Gary and Charlotte moved to Lander, Wyo. for 10 years where Gary bought and ran cattle on his small ranch near the Wind River Mountains and worked as a hunting guide for Skips Outfitting in Lander, Wyo. They returned to Iowa in 2003 where they built their retirement home near Call Park in Algona.
Gary belonged to the Algona Masonic Lodge, Eastern Star, the Buffalo Center and Algona United Methodist Churches, as well as the National Rifle Association and the Iowa Pork Producers. As a young man, Gary was honored, along with his father Richard, by the Governor of Iowa for saving the life of a Crystal Lake man who was drowning. Gary loved to hunt, fish, woodwork and talk with friends. He appreciated country music and taught both of his kids to sing. His hidden talent was that he wrote cowboy poetry. Gary was most at home in the mountains of Wyoming where he loved to ride his horse, raise cattle and work as a hunting and fishing guide with his pack of horses in God’s beautiful western wilderness.
Gary was often referred to as “cowboy” because of his handlebar mustache, cowboy hat, his boots that stood out in a crowd and his no nonsense attitude. His close friends and family would tell you that his country persona was fitting because Gary had a heart as big as Texas and it was as clear as a Wyoming sky that he loved his family more than life itself.
Gary is survived by his lifelong love and wife of 58 years, Charlotte; his daughter, Lisa Larson Emmons and her husband Ted of Gillette, Wyo.; two grandsons, Colter McDonald and his wife Ani of Custer, S.D. and Steve McDonald of Houston, Texas. Gary was preceded in death by his parents; his oldest daughter Dawn Marie; and his only son, Ryan Gary Larson.
A funeral service was held Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017 at 9 a.m. at First United Methodist Church in Algona with Reverend Cynthia Finn officiating. Burial was in Evergreen Cemetery, Britt. Oakcrest Funeral Services of Algona in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be made to www.oakcrestfuneralservices.com.