Mensvil Norman Larson, 89, of Bottineau, died Saturday, June 7, 2014, at a Minot hospital.
Mensvil Norman "Norm" Larson Jr. was born June 3, 1925, in Bottineau, the son of Mensvil N. Larson and Alma Marie (Anderson) Larson. Norm was the oldest of three sons and was raised on the family farm in the Turtle Mountains at Lake Metigoshe. He was educated at Roland Township School and later completed his high school education in Bottineau. Norm pursued a liberal arts degree at the North Dakota School of Forestry in Bottineau where he was a member of the Lumberjack football team. He was later inducted into the college's football hall of fame for a winning season in 1947. He obtained his bachelor's degree in engineering from the University of Omaha in 1961.
Norman married Verdellis L. Richard on Aug. 21, 1950, in Dunseith and to this union four daughters were born.
Norm joined the Army in 1945 and spent the next 25 years serving in many capacities from platoon leader to commanding officer. He served during World War II, in Korea and Vietnam. His last assignment was as battalion adviser in Minot. Norman received numerous commendations, including a meritorious service award, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry and the Bronze Star. Life in the Army involved many separations and took the family to different Army posts every three years, both in the United States and Germany. Norm gave credit to his wife for her ability to keep the family together and cope with the many moves the family had to make. He boasted that his wife was the "best Army wife a guy could have." Norm was proud to serve his country in the Army and continued his involvement as a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars until his death. Norm retired in June 1970 as a major in the Army and moved his family to Bottineau where he and his wife owned and managed the Texaco station and Larson's Casuals.
Norm grew up with a family dedication to public service and service to the community. He carried on that tradition throughout his remaining years. Norm served on the Bottineau City Council for 14 years, was the president of a regional planning council, a member of the State Planning Commission, member of several civic and veteran organizations, served as the first president of the Sons of Norway in Bottineau and as mayor of Bottineau for six years. His years in the Army fostered his love for military memorabilia and history. He often participated in Bottineau's annual Memorial Day event and could be seen driving his 1950 Army jeep in the parade. He had a love for reading and current events. He entertained friends and family with his many stories of life on the farm and adventures in the Army. Norm enjoyed spending time with his family and driving up to the family farm in the Turtle Mountains.
Prior to his death, Norm said that his goals were to never tarnish the family name, provide service to his country, raise his family and make it to his 90th year. He accomplished most of those goals. He was a good husband, a caring father and grandfather, and a good citizen. He will be dearly missed by his family and friends.
Norman is survived by: his two brothers, Richard Larson, Seattle, and Delbert Larson, Bullhead City, Ariz.; four daughters, Diane (Scott) Sjol, Minot, Cheryl (George) Dakin, Bedford, Texas, Norma (Bob) Nelson, New Milford, Conn., and Karen Larson (fiance, Mike Johnson), Rock Lake; grandchildren, Ryan (Christina) Harris, Michael (Adriana) Harris, Megan Nice, Katie Nice, Aubrey Millar, Jayden Sjol, Kendra (Josh) Heiland, Cory (Lauren) Dakin, Kelly Dakin, Matt (Jessica) Dakin, Austin Vaughn, Jordan Vaughn, Stacy (Kirk) Lee, Nick Balsamo, Ashley Balsamo and Anthony Balsamo; 22 great-grandchildren and one great-great-granddaughter.
He was preceded in death by: his parents and his wife, Verdellis L. Larson.
His funeral service will be: Thursday, June 12, at 10 a.m. in the St. Mark's Catholic Church in Bottineau.
Burial will be: at the St. Mark's Cemetery, also of Bottineau.
Visitation will be: Today, Wednesday, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., with a prayer service at 7:30 p.m., at the Nero Funeral Home Chapel in Bottineau.
In lieu of flowers, the family would like memorials to the Bottineau County Veterans, 460 North Lake Park Rd, Bottineau, ND 58318.
Arrangements are with Nero Funereal Home in Bottineau. Friends may sign the online register at (www.nerofuneralhome.net).