A life of service

Published 8:47 pm Thursday, July 7, 2011

Suffolk, and especially the Driver community, lost a great servant this week with the death of Gerry Larson. Though he was a transplant to the city, Larson made an indelible mark on the people whose lives he touched and the organizations he helped guide.

Despite the fact that he and his wife had only girls, Larson was heavily involved in the Boy Scouts of America throughout his adult life. Before moving to Virginia, he served as a Scoutmaster for a troop in Minnesota. And he helped out with his daughters’ Girl Scout troops as they were growing up.

But when those daughters began giving him grandsons, Larson returned to the Boy Scouts, leading or assisting with Cub and Tiger dens and shepherding his grandsons and many other young boys through the various levels of Scouting. It was a continuation of the life of service that he had led as a member of the U.S. Navy’s Underwater Demolition Team and later as a battalion commander for the Virginia Beach Fire Department.

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“He’ll be gravely missed,” said Jeff Ward, Cubmaster for Pack 89 in Driver, where two of Larson’s grandsons are enrolled. “Gerry can’t be replaced. He was with us too long and offered too much to the program to be replaced.”

Larson set a great example of community service for Suffolkians, and his contributions to the city and to the many boys he helped shape into young men may never be fully known. But he will, indeed, be missed, both by the boys he led and by the community where he lived.