Peter Larson was a self-described farm boy, son, brother, soldier, merchant, stationary engineer, dedicated husband, dedicated father, grandfather, great grandfather, and friend. Peter was born in 1920 on a farm outside of Verdigre, Nebraska. He had three brothers and one sister. Peter and all three of his brothers served in the armed forces.
He was 9 years old when the great Depression started, and a few years later his family lost their farm. As a result, they became sharecroppers until after WWII when the family were forced to vacate the farm. Peter grew up in poverty during his formative years and this shaped his life, he was legendary for his “thriftiness”.
Peter said growing up during the depression was tough, “we were poor, we didn’t have any money and we didn’t have any way to make any money”. “It seemed like everyone else was poor, so we learned to do without.” He graduated from Verigre High School in 1940, he worked the farm for two years before starting high school so he could attend high school at the same time as his younger brother Walt. That brother, Walt, was killed in action in the English Channel weeks before D-day in 1944.
Peter moved to Omaha in 1940 and went to work for Nelson’s Barbeque on 17th and Jackson. Shortly after Pearl Harbor he was drafted into the Army. He served in Australia, The Philippines and New Guinea where in 1945 they were staging for the invasion of Japan. He said he would never forget the day the war ended in September 1945. He always appreciated President Harry Thurman having the leadership to make the difficult decisions to end the war.
After the war he started a small war surplus business in Atlantic, IA. and in less than 2 years he lost the business and returned to Omaha living in his car for several days as he was completely broke.
Peter met Marie in April 1948 at the Rathskeller Bar located at 20th and St Mary’s, she was with her roommates (Mary, Theresa, Mary and Elenore), her lifelong friends, Peter was 27 and Marie was 28, he asked her to dance, it was raining when they were leaving the bar and he drove them all home. Marie was the last one out of the car and they started to talk and on September 3, 1949, they were married. It took 18 months of dating before the wedding day because Peter was traveling five days a week and Marie insisted Peter convert to Catholicism. Their best man was his brother Ben, Marie’s sister Mildred as the maid of honor. He would tell you the best thing that ever happened to him was meeting and then marrying Marie.
They lived in an apartment on 23rd and California for 6 months and then bought a house in 1950 on Cass Street which is now part of the Creighton University campus. They moved to 4311 California Street in 1955. This house was chosen because it was within walking distance to St. Cecilia Church and schools. He said they considered the Cathedral their “shinning city on the hill”.
Marie & Peter had 5 children, MaryAnn, Ron, Cindy, Peter and Bill. All 5 children attended St Cecilia Grade School and Cathedral High School. All five graduated from college. Peter was active in the Knights of Columbus which he joined in 1951. He was active in the parish and served as a money counter, usher and head of the maintenance committee from 1980 to 1986. Peter also assisted the funeral luncheon committee for 26 years. He worked for Western Electric for 24 years as a stationary engineer and retired in 1984. When people ask what his hobbies were his response was “work”. In retirement Peter and Marie helped raise grandchildren and were blessed to be able to travel including Rome, Hawaii, Alaska, Canada, Caribbean cruises and numerous trips to Las Vegas. As lifelong Huskers fans they also attended many home and away football games. Marie passed away May 22, 2009.
“I’ve been blessed with a wonderful life, my biggest joy was watching our children grow up, have families and be involved with grandchildren and great grandchildren.”
Visitation Sunday 3:00 - 5:00 PM at Roeder Mortuary. Funeral Service 11:15 AM Monday (11/20/23) at St. Cecilia's Cathedral 701 N 40th Street Omaha, Nebraska 68131, Interment Calvary Cemetery. In lieu of flowers memorials to the Larson Family Scholarship at St. Cecilia's Cathedral 701 N 40th St, Omaha, NE 68131 or New Cassel Retirement Center 900 N 90th Street Omaha, NE 68114.
Roeder Mortuary, Inc. - 108th Street Chapel - 2727 N 108th St - Omaha, NE - 402-496-9000 www.RoederMortuary.com