Kenneth 'Ken' Larson

Obituary

Kenneth ‘Ken’ Larson, 76, of Doyon and Devils Lake passed away on Saturday, May 22, 2021 at Sanford Medical Center in Fargo. 

Funeral Services for Ken will be on Thursday, May 27, 2021 at 3 p.m. at St. Olaf Lutheran Church, Devils Lake with Rev. Jim Paulson officiating. Fireman’s Honors will be accorded by the Devils Lake Rural Fire Department Volunteers.  Gathering of family and friends will be on Wednesday, May 26 at the Gilbertson Funeral Home, Devils Lake from 5 until 7 p.m. with a time of prayer and remembrance at 7 p.m. Burial will be in Memory Gardens Cemetery, Valley City on Friday, May 28, 2021 at 11 a.m. with Military Honors accorded by the Neathery-Simenson Post #756, Devils Lake Veterans of Foreign Wars and the North Dakota Military Funeral Honors Team.  

Kenneth Allen Larson, son of John and Olga (Olson) Larson, was born on D-Day, June 6, 1944 at Valley City. He was raised and educated in Valley City, graduating from Valley City High School. He continued his education at Wahpeton State School of Science, earning a degree in Electronics Engineering.  

Ken entered the United States Army on May 3, 1965 and proudly served his country during the Vietnam War.  He was honorably discharged from active duty with the rank of Sergeant on May 2, 1967 and continued with the Reserves until May 2, 1971.  

Ken was united in marriage to Donna Mae Hanenberg on August 5, 1967. They established their home in Valley City for a time and in 1971 moved to Devils Lake. It was in 1971 that Ken began his 33 year career with the North Dakota State Highway Department as an electronics engineer, retiring in 2004. For several years, Ken worked as a Special Deputy for Benson and Ramsey County, frequently as “the law” at many street dances and wedding dances in the Lake Region. His beloved Donna Mae passed away on February 14, 2007.  

Ken was a member of St. Olaf Lutheran Church, a volunteer with the Devils Lake Rural Fire Department, and the Amateur Radio Operators Organization (HAM Radio). He and Donna rarely missed the annual camping trip to the International Peace Gardens for the HAM Radio Festival. Ken loved to dance – especially the two step, country music, gun shows, gun collecting and Cowboy Shoots which earned him many awards. Then there was hunting. Ken hunted everything! Gopher, prairie dogs, deer, geese, you name it, he hunted it.  

In their travels, Ken and his good friend, Garry Vick made quite an impression wherever they went but especially on the citizens of Norway and Beaver Lodge, Alberta, Canada. On a trip to Norway, when visiting with the locals, Ken was somehow proclaimed the “Sheriff of North Dakota” and that title earned him notoriety. He was introduced to several diplomats of Norway and was also included as a dignitary in the town’s parade. In Canada, he was afforded many free drinks and burgers, because he had somehow come to be known as the “Greatest Bull Rider in Western Canada”.  Yes, Ken was a quiet man with a vivid personality that endeared him to anyone he met.  He never met a stranger. He was 100 % Norwegian and so proud of his heritage.  

But first and foremost, Ken was a devoted husband, loving father and grandfather, dear brother and uncle.   He loved his girls with his whole heart, was so very proud of them and he treasured every moment spent with them.  He will be forever loved and so very missed by all.  

Ken’s loving family include his daughters – Carrie and her husband Ken Johnson of Edina , Minn., Linda and her husband Jason Stewart of West Fargo; granddaughters – Allison Nichole, Taylor Ann and Madison Mae Johnson; very special friend, Cheryl Strande of Devils Lake; sister, Verna Jean Larson of Surprise, Ariz.; brother-in-law, Leo Goetz of Sun City, Ariz.; many beloved in-laws, nieces, nephews and cousins.  

He was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Donna Mae; sister, Lois Goetz; and friend, Gail Miller. 

Published on May 26, 2021