James R. Larson

James Robert (Jim) Larson, of 4266 South Shore Drive, Clear Lake, died Oct. 7, at Mercy One, in Mason City.

A private family interment service will be held at Riverside Cemetery, in Marshalltown, Iowa. Family suggests memorial contributions to the Clear Lake Art Center.

Born July 31, 1928, in Detroit, Mich., Larson received his education in Fargo, N.D. and Marshalltown, Iowa, where he graduated from high school, then he attended Iowa State University studying mechanical engineering. He began his career as a gas furnace designer in the Research and Development Laboratory of Lennox Industries located in Marshalltown. On June 10, 1950 he was united in marriage to Jean Rowley in the United Methodist Church of Marshalltown. In 1957, Larson started a mechanical contracting and engineering business eventually expanding operations to Des Moines and Ames. The business evolved into a multi-state operation heavily involved in government projects. As a multiengine instrument rated pilot, Jim frequently flew the company airplane for project negotiations and job oversight.

In the Marshalltown years, Larson was active in a number of civic and business organizations: a long time chairman of YM/YWCA, Rotary, Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce, Construction Bureau, director of the Industrial Bureau, a director of the Commercial State Bank, member of the board of the Octagon in Ames, president of Sheet Metal Contractors of Iowa, state director of National Home Builders Association and life member of the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers. After 40 years in business, he returned to Iowa State University to the College of Design, earning a degree in fine arts, majoring in painting and print making. He and his wife moved to Clear Lake in 1991 where they had maintained a summer home since the mid-fifties.

In Clear Lake, Larson, at age 68, began a second career as an artist, creating paintings and drawings, many of the lake area which had become their home. In Clear Lake, Larson was a member and past president of Rotary, a founding director of the Clear Lake and Ventura Area Community Foundation, past Commodore of the Clear Lake Yacht Club, a director of Opportunity Village now Vision One, a director of Clear Lake Arts Council where he was instrumental in establishing a new facility for the arts, the Clear Lake Arts Center, of which he was also a board member for many years and a volunteer instructor. In his later years he reactivated a 50 year absence from participation in instrumental music and began playing in the Clear Lake Municipal Band, Mason City New Horizons Band, NIACC North Iowa Concert Band and then organized and directed a 14 piece swing/jazz ensemble, the NONSEMBLE, at Clear Lake Arts Center. He married Glenda Gehrke on Aug. 26, 2015, in Waterloo. He has become a dedicated Christian in the past five years.

He was preceded in death by his first wife, Jean (Rowley) Larson, of 63 years; and his parents, Nelly B. and Lloyd J. Larson, of Apache Junction, Az.; and brothers, Dr. Lloyd B. Larson, of Scottsdale, Az., Paul, of Clear Lake, and Bill, of Fayetteville, Ark.

He is survived by his wife, Glenda L. Larson; his two sons and their wives, Jami (Teresa) Larson, of Ames, and Todd (Becky) Larson, of Anthem, Az.; and two daughters, Kimberli Larson, of Sarasota, Fla. and Lori (Roger) Hamblin, of Ames. Three step-sons and their wives, Tim (Debby) Gehrke, of Broken Arrow, Okla., Tom (Jessica) Gehrke, of Johnston, Ted (Tabetha) Gehrke, of Waterloo; and one step-daughter and spouse, Tammy (Kevin) Dill, of North Liberty; as well as 39 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren with three new additions expected. He is also survived by a sister, Belle Miller, of Winfield; and a sister-in-law, Arveda Larson, of Scottsdale.

Ward-Van Slyke Colonial Chapel, Clear Lake, was in charge of arrangements.

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