William Howard Larsen, Sr., 91, resident of Paris, died Thursday, May 8, 2014, at the Paris Retirement Facility.
Bill was born in Jamacia, New York on March 3, 1923 to Louis and Helen Larsen. Bill was an only child. He attended Colgate University, before joining the Navy in 1943. Bill learned to fly a Piper Cub in 1944 in Conway, where he met his future wife, Lillie Evelyn Johns who was attending Arkansas State Teachers’ College. They married on February 14, 1946 at Barron Air Field in Foley, Ala., where Bill was stationed.
After his Navy service, Bill and Evelyn moved to Paris in June, 1946. Bill associated with Max Sutton in Paris designing local residences and gave flying lessons. Bill was employed by E. Chester Nelson Architect in Fort Smith in 1948, where his skill as a custom home designed began to be recognized. In 1956, Bill and Carl Wear formed Larsen & Wear, Inc. General Contractors that focused on the finest quality custom homes. Larsen & Wear, Inc. expanded the business to various types of commercial and industrial constructions, including over 35 motel projects in Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota and Arkansas. Bill retired in 1986 and moved to Paris in 2008.
Bill and Evelyn’s son William Howard Larsen, Jr., lives in Castle Rock, Colo. with his wife, Margie. Their daughter Kaia Lynn Larsen lives in Fort Smith. The Larsen family became very involved in raising purebred Egyptian Arabian Horses from 1968 until 1995 on their farm Eldorado Arabians. Bill was a governing member of the Board of Directors for the Pyramid Society, National Association of Breeders and Arabian Horse Enthusiasts interested in perpetuating the Egyptian Arabian horse. Bill also became President of the Arkansas Arabian Horse Club. Bill was President of the Westark Community College Board (now University of Arkansas, Fort Smith). Bill and Evelyn were among the founders of the Central Christian Church in Fort Smith. He has been a member of the First Christian Church in Paris since 2008.
Bill is survived by his wife of 68 years, Evelyn, son, Howard, and daughter, Kaia and two brothers-in-law, Harvey Lee Johns and Tom Buck Johns, both of Paris. He has many nieces and nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews, great-great nieces and great-great nephews.
Funeral services were lead by the Rev. H. C. Varnadore of the First Christian Church on Saturday, May 10, 2014 at 10 a.m. at Brotherton Brothers Funeral Home Chapel in Paris. Burial was at Oakwood Cemetery in Paris immediately following the services.
Pallbearers were Bill Hurley, Harvey Johns, Tom Lipe Johns, John Henry Kolsem, Alan Lane and Larry Patterson.
Honorary pallbearers were Tom Buck Johns and Sam McCutcheon.
The American flag that was displayed on Bill’s casket was brought back from Iraq by Bill’s grand-nephew Lt. Col. David Lane USMC. It flew over the 2nd Marine Air Wing HQ and the Al Asad Marine Airbase HQ during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Memorial contributions, in lieu of flowers, may be sent to the First Christian Church, P. O. Box 369, Paris, AR 72855.
To pay an online tribute, please visit www.brothertonbrothersfuneralhomes.com.