Response Magazine

“Cantankerous and mellow” sociology professor Bob Larson loved music and teaching

SPU Professor Emeritus of Sociology Robert “Bob” Larson died January 1, 2018, after a teaching- and music-filled life.

Robert LarsonHe was 88. Bob spent his last evening, New Year’s Eve, watching the fireworks explode over the water from the living room of his lakeside home in Snohomish County.

A native of Newman Grove, Nebraska, Bob held a strong commitment to the classroom. He taught at SPU for 22 years. He said in 1992, “It was the stimulating and inquisitive thinking of the students that made teaching memorable.”

For the last four years before his retirement from SPU, Bob directed Camp Casey Conference Center on Whidbey Island, owned and operated by Seattle Pacific. His guidance brought Camp Casey through a period of significant growth.

After retiring in 1992, Bob sang with the Norwegian Male Chorus of Everett and served as its secretary and newsletter editor. By then, Anna, his wife of more than 60 years, was in full-time assisted nursing care. She died in 2015.

Bob enjoyed many genres of music, especially opera. “As a young farm boy, when chores were done I lay in front of our Philco listening to the Saturday broadcast of The Met,” he said. Wagner’s Ring cycle was a favorite.

The twinkle in his eye often matched the merriment in his comments. Bob penned an update for SPU emeriti faculty when he turned 85. “So what shall I be?” he wrote in Emeri-Times. “An angry old man, a cantankerous old man, or a mellow old man?” His inevitable conclusion? “Perhaps all!”

Bob received an undergraduate degree from Augsburg College and a master’s degree from the University of Washington. A member of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Everett, Washington, Bob is survived by three sons: Mark, Timothy, and Stephen.

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