David L. Larson of Straight Road in Fredonia, NY passed away Sunday, March 20, 2022, comfortably in his home under the diligent care of his wife, children, and Hospice.
David was born Jan. 26, 1937, in Indianapolis, IN to Milo and L. Julia Raski Larson. He lived in Michigan and Ohio prior to moving to the Dunkirk / Fredonia area in 1971. He graduated from Cass Technical High School in Detroit in January of 1954. Following high school, he earned a Bachelor’s degree from Wittenberg University and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Michigan. Always the consummate student, he moved on to earn an additional Master’s of Arts degree from Bowl-ing Green State University and a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University.
David had a long distinguished professional career. His most notable positions by him included Associate Professor of Sociology at SUNY Fredonia with a joint appointment in the Department of Business Administration. He participated in a number of on campus organizations including, but not limited to, Chair of the Middle States Study, Chair of the Faculty Council, Chair of the Department of Sociology, and acting Chair of the Department of Business Administration. After his retirement of him in 2001, he continued to teach part-time at Empire State and Jamestown Business College.
David was also very active in his local community. He held the position of Program Chair for the Rotary Club for many years, as well as, one year as Rotary President. He served for a number of years as chair of the grants committee for the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation. He served as President of the United Way for two years and was on the advisory council for the Office of the Aging. He was very involved in community-wide efforts towards small business incubators and was a board member of Chautauqua Opportunities, Inc.
Despite all of his academic and professional accolades, David would want to be best known for his deep and abiding love for his family. He worked hard to be intentional and present in each one of their lives, and took a genuine interest in the things that interested them. He was always eager and first in line to support a family member’s new endeavor, dream, or plan for life. He supported his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren with a vibrancy and warmth that will never be forgotten.
Most notable were his famous “Grandkids camps,” where he and his wife Vivi-an hosted their seven grandkids for up to a week at a time, every summer. The trips, activities, experiences, and opportunities that he gave to his grandkids during those summers are, and forever will be, a thing of legend. They will forever be grateful for his influence of him, support, gentleness, presence, and love. His great-grandchildren were particularly taken and enchanted with his excitement di lui to put on magic shows for them during his regular visits. He loved to love his family about him.
Others will know David for his keen sense of humor, as he amassed literally hundreds of books on joke telling. Later in his academic life, he took an interest in the sociological intricacies of humor and would regularly test these jokes – good and bad – at family gatherings, reunions, parties, and lectures on the topic.
Surviving are his beloved wife, Vivian J. Larson, whom he married on July 22, 1978 in Dunkirk, NY; siblings Charles (Joan), Conrad, Harvey, and Angela (George) Wills all of Michigan; daughter, Deborah (Daniel) Hayden of Conesus, NY, son James R. (Pamela) Larson of Myrtle Beach, SC and stepson Paul Kingsbury of Fredonia, NY; grandchildren Cameron (Sheri) Lienhart, Kasey (Ryan) Duffy, Travis (Natalia) Larson, Caitlin (Josh) Humphreys, Sean (Colleen) Hayden, Emily (David) Degan, Elise Hay-den and step-grandchildren Haley Kingsbury and Christian Flores . He is also survived by 18 great-grandchildren.
David was preceded in death by his parents, Milo and L. Julia Larson, as well as his daughter, Kathrine.
In his quest to continue educating others, he donated his body to the University of Buffalo’s Medical School.
Friends and family will be received at Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, 601 Eagle St., Dunkirk NY on Saturday, March 26 from 1-2pm, followed by memorial service starting promptly at 2pm officiated by the Rev. James Bailey and Pastor Cameron Lienhart.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to Dunkirk / Fredonia Rotary Club, Chautauqua County Hospice Care, or the charity of one’s choice.