Lawrence (Larry) Larsen, of Mountain Lakes, New Jersey, died September 12, 2022, at the age of 89.
Larry was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Lawrence and Clara Larsen on April 20, 1933. He was the eldest of four sons. In his youth, he helped his family by doing odd jobs alongside members of the local Mennonite community. It was this connection that fueled his love of music and perhaps the German language.
After graduating from Deep Run Valley High School (Blooming Glen, Pennsylvania), Larry held various jobs and performed alternative service before enrolling at Ball State University (Muncie, Indiana). He obtained a BA in French and German. A Fulbright scholarship enabled Larry to continue his German studies at the University of Freiburg (Breisgau, Germany). In 1971 Larry received his Ph.D. in German Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.
Larry began his teaching career at Knox College (Galesburg, Illinois) in 1964, where he met his colleague and future wife, Nancy Martin. In 1969, Larry joined the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics at the University of Oklahoma and taught various courses in German and Baroque literature. He was instrumental in teaching music students correct German pronunciation, and after retiring from OU in 2002, he continued to teach “German for Reading” to students until in 2012. Larry’s research has focused on the study of emblem books.
In retirement, Larry volunteered in the Discovery Room at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, taught English as a second language, and looked forward to weekly lunches with the ROMEOs (Retired Old Men Eating Out): Dragan Milivojevic, Mervin Barnes and John Dunn.
Many people knew Larry best as an accomplished singer and he was a member of several choirs at various times over the years including First Presbyterian, McFarlin United Methodist, St John’s Episcopal and St Michael’s Episcopal churches in Norman and Canterbury Choir in Oklahoma. Town. He was a founding member of the Cimarron Opera (originally called the Church Circuit Opera Company). In his early years, Larry sang tenor as the romantic leader, Nanki-Poo, in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Mikado at Knox College. In 1997, he played Captain Corcoran in OU’s summer production of HMS Pinafore. Larry was often invited to sing at weddings and funerals.
In 2016, Larry and Nancy moved from Norman, Oklahoma to Mountain Lakes, New Jersey to be closer to their daughter and her family. Larry’s later years were spent enjoying the antics of his young grandsons. Nothing brought him more joy than being a husband, father and grandfather.
Survivors include his wife Nancy, daughter Kristin, son-in-law Larry Kahn, grandsons Jason, Zachary, and Nicholas (who lovingly called him “DooDad”); his brother Kenneth Lewis and his wife Bonnie of Ellijay, Georgia; and many beloved nephews, nieces and friends. His parents, his brothers John and Lee Larsen, and his grandson Jacob Kahn predeceased him.
A Celebration of Life will be held Saturday, October 29 at Denville Community Church (Denville, New Jersey) at 2 p.m. Donations should be made to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society https://pages.lls.org/ltn/cran/Morris22/KLarsen or charity of choice.