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A celebration of life for Brad will be held at Trinity Lutheran Church in Owatonna, MN, on Sunday, November 19, 2023, from 1:30 to 4 pm with remembrances shared at 3:00 pm. In remembrance of Brad and in lieu of flowers/plants, any memorial tributes can be given in his name to the Owatonna High School Athletic Hall of Fame or the Ager Association Nordic House Museum in Eau Claire, WI.
Bradley Dean Larson, 75, passed into the loving arms of Jesus, surrounded by his loving family on Friday, October 27, 2023 at Mayo Luther Hospital in Eau Claire after a short battle with melanoma.
Brad was born with his twin sister, Bev, on July 18, 1948 to Ernest and Frances (Stevens) Larson in Rochester, MN. Brad grew up on the family farm in Rock Dell Township and attended a one-room school and then went to the Stewartville Public Schools. In high school he participated in football, basketball and track and learned to love math. He graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN with a Mathematics teaching degree and later earned a Masters degree in Mathematics from Mankato State University. Each summer Brad continued to take post-graduate Mathematics courses at universities around the country.
Brad loved growing up on the farm that was homesteaded by his great-great grandfather in 1861. There were many family gatherings at the farm with aunts, uncles, cousins and second cousins enjoying this beautiful place. The Larson family looked forward every summer to a week-long trip to Bergan, North Dakota to visit aunts, uncles and cousins on the Stevens side of the family. Before meeting his wife, these were the only two states that he had visited.
Brad met his wife, Kathryn Leer, at Concordia and they were united in marriage on August 30, 1969. After graduation from Concordia in 1970, the couple moved to Connecticut where Brad taught math and coached basketball and track at Montville High School and joined the Army National Guard and later the Air Force National Guard. He always said their three years in Connecticut, with cousin Jeanne, were like an extended vacation as every weekend was an adventure somewhere in New England. In 1973, they moved with baby Brek to Owatonna. Here Brad taught math and coached basketball and track until his retirement in 2010. After retirement, he continued to do substitute teaching in Owatonna and Eau Claire (many long-term).
Brek, Mikkel and Lane grew up in Owatonna and the people there are very special to the Larsons. In Owatonna the couple bought an older house with no running water, bathroom or central heat. With the help of Clarence Leer and Steve and Janell Manning, this house became a home. In addition to coaching, the Larsons were involved in youth education and Hi-League at Trinity Lutheran Church. There are so many “kids” that still call him, Coach, Dad and Friend and still love him. Every summer the family traveled (sometimes with 100+ youth) around the country and abroad.
Brad was a involved as a Math League coach, a Education MN Professional Advocacy Committee member, an Owatonna Hall of Fame Committee member, a MN Council of Teachers of Mathematics Vice President, a Sunday School Teacher, a Hi-League Advisor, an Owatonna Math Department chairperson, a MN Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Honor, a MN Boy’s Assistant Coach of the Year for Basketball, an Owatonna Teacher of the Year, a Minnesota Teacher of the Year Finalist, St Olaf National Science Foundation Fellow, University of MN National Science Foundation Fellow among many other activities and honors.
After retiring, the Larson's moved to Eau Claire, WI where they were able to spend family time together, enjoying celebrations, special meals, boat rides, lots of golf with the boys, including the annual Larson Cup, and everyday grandkid time. The treasured time spent with Steffen and Josie was the highlight of the last eighteen years. Brad and Steffen were golf buddies and shared many adventures. Josie was the light in her Grampa's eye and what a great time they had making memories! Brad continued his coaching career helping Lane coach Steffen's youth basketball teams. Brad loved watching his grandchildren develop in academics and in sports. Many miles were added to the car as they traveled around the region to watch football, basketball, golf, gymnastics, volleyball, and track and field.
During retirement, the couple traveled to many new places. Brad especially loved visiting family around the country and in Norway which they did four times. He also loved cruises to the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Baltic Sea and Norway. In August of this year Brad and Kathryn took a cruise in Alaska and an unforgettable camping trip - 370-mile round on four rivers on a boat from Fairbanks to moose camp with one of their “Trinity kids,” Eric. Alaska was their 50th state to visit! Brad made many friends in Eau Claire. He loved the Tuesday Fuji group and his many golfing buddies.
Brad was loved and will be missed by so many whose lives he touched in his 75 years; especially by his wife of 54 years, Kathryn, their three sons Brek (Jana), Mikkel (Flor) and Lane (Jillian) and two beloved grandchildren Steffen and Josie. Also, Anders (Maren) Lund and children Johan, Idun, and Even in Norway. Also survived by his sisters Phyllis Sorensen and Beverly (Gary) Lintvedt, his mother-in-law Agnes Leer, his sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law Evinda (Bob) Lund, Peggy (Nic) Leer and Carl (Amy) Leer. Also survived by his beloved nieces and nephews and many cousins in the US and Norway, including Jeanne Vigen, and his lifelong-friend Mark and Lois Helland. Brad is preceded in death by his parents Ernest and Frances Larson, his brothers Clayton and Grant, and his father-in-law Clarence Leer.
Friends and family may offer condolences online at www.hulkefamilyfh.com.
Hulke Family Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 3209 Rudolph Road, Eau Claire, WI 54701 is assisting the family with the arrangements.