Art Larson is turning 90, and a celebration in his honor will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Aug. 17 at the Puyallup Elks Lodge, 314 27th St. NE. The Will Power Stage Band will provide entertainment.
Larson and his wife Lorraine hope friends and former students will be able to attend and reunite with them. Everyone is invited, the couple said.
In lieu of gifts and cards, the family encourages donations to the E. Arthur Larson, Jr. Scholarship Fund.
Larson has been a part of the community since the 1940s and has been a member of the Puyallup Rotary Club since 1968.
Jamie Gregory, a fellow Rotarian, said Larson lives and breathes the club motto of “service above self” and has a passion for his community.
“He is an example for all of us to live by,” Gregory said.
Gregory described Larson as always willing to help others.
“He has a great sense of humor,” Gregory said.
Larson was the first principal of Rogers High School, where he served from 1968-79. He spent his summers working at the employment office and then served another 20 years as a teacher and vice principal at Puyallup High.
He was in the Navy and retired as a commander. He also served 11 years on the Board of Good Samaritan Hospital and 20 years at the Pierce County Courthouse in the jury room.
He and Lorraine met in 1944 when he was home on leave from the military.
“He spoke during chapel at (Pacific Lutheran University), and at that time, I was a sophomore, and I said to the girl sitting next to me, ‘Why don’t they have men like that here now?’ ” Lorraine said.
When Lorraine was a senior in college, Art returned to take classes, and they met again.
“He sat behind me in class, and his feet were where I could see them, and his shoes were so spit and polish and shiny, and I thought, ‘I would like to have a boyfriend like that,’ ” she said.
By January, they were dating. They got married in June. They have three children: two sons and a daughter.
Art led a busy life throughout the years, teaching, serving in the Naval Reserve and working summers, and Lorraine ran everything at home.
The Larsons finish each other’s sentences and do a lot of laughing.
“One time he was principal and had an overnight meeting in Portland, and when he came home the next night, I asked him how his trip was, and the kids looked at each other and said, ‘Has he been gone overnight?’ Lorraine said.
Art said he enjoyed being in the Navy Reserve the best. He served in WWII and the Korean War.
“I felt I was doing something to help my country,” he said.
Until three years ago, Art played tennis and golf, but he’s had recent trouble with his shoulders.
The Larsons are members of Mt. View Lutheran Church and sang in the choir together for 40 years.
Art said if it weren’t for his shoulder pain, he would feel like he’s 60.
“I do the crossword puzzle every day, if I have time,” he said. “I like to keep busy.”Joan Cronk is a freelance reporter for the Herald.