Thomas “Tom” Peter Larson
Thomas “Tom” Peter Larson of La Crosse, WI, passed away peacefully on June 27, 2022 at Bethany St. Joseph Care Center at the age of 74.
Tom was born on August 3, 1947 in Wausau, WI to Harvey and Nora (Peterson) Larson and raised in a home filled with Norwegian traditions. He was an active Boy Scout when he was growing up, and often talked fondly about his family’s summer vacations in northern Wisconsin, where he and his brother would pick blueberries that his mother baked into pies. Tom had a lifelong love of the outdoors, as evidenced by the many fishing, hunting and camping trips with his brother, father, and uncles over the years.
Tom graduated from Wausau East High School in 1965 and earned a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1969. Tom then moved to Denver to work for the Martin Marietta Aerospace Division, where he helped develop the Lunar Drill used in the Apollo 17 mission. He joined The Trane Company in La Crosse in 1973, where he worked as a Senior Principal Engineer in the Development Engineering Laboratory until his retirement in 2010. He was an active member of his church for over four decades and volunteered with Mobile Meals and other programs addressing hunger in the community.
Tom married Julianne “Julie” Hitz, also from Wausau, on December 27, 1969, and a few years later they settled in La Crosse, where they raised two daughters in a loving home in the countryside.
Family and friends were first and foremost in Tom’s heart. He was proud of his children and grandchildren, and he never missed a concert, recital, or sporting event. Tom is remembered for his joyful curiosity, dry sense of humor, giving nature, love of learning, and excitement for sharing his discoveries with those around him – regardless of whether or not he knew them.
Tom’s passions included photography, working on cars, fly fishing, trap shooting, camping and hiking, WWII history, current events, and traveling. One of the places he was happiest was in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, especially if he was traveling in a Jeep.
Tom was preceded in death by his father Harvey and his mother Nora. He is survived by his wife Julie, his brother James “Jim” (Wendy) Larson, his children Heidi (Jon) Knudson and Heather (Matthew) Ritter, his grandchildren Ian, Rebekah, and Anna Knudson, his nephew Andrew “Andy” Larson, and his niece Jennifer “Jenny” (Chad) Bishop.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, July 23, 2022 at 1:00pm at First Congregational Church, 2503 Main Street in La Crosse, WI. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Rocky Mountain Conservancy or First Congregational Church of La Crosse.