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Walter R. Larsen (Dick)

October 11, 1930 — May 8, 2023

Walter R. Larsen (Dick)


Walter Richard “Dick” Larsen (92) of Omaha, Nebraska, passed away peacefully on May 8, 2023, ending a long journey that began after he suffered a stroke in late 2011. We mourn the loss of an exemplary man but take comfort in knowing he is free.

Dick was born Oct. 11, 1930, in Omaha to Walter and Mabel Larsen, and was the younger brother of his beloved sister, Betty.

At age 17, Dick began what would become a 38-year career with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, starting work as a draftsman even before he graduated from Technical High School. At 20, he put his job on hold to serve his country during the Korean War. Dick enlisted in the Air Force in late 1950, and was stationed in Goose Bay, Labrador, and Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

Dick’s sister, Betty, asked a young, raven-haired Iowa girl, Norma Jean Cooper, if she wouldn’t mind writing to her brother in the service. Norma guessed “it couldn’t hurt,” and agreed. Dick and Norma were married on May 15, 1955, and shared a lifetime of love. Norma loved him “a bushel and a peck” and Dick once recounted after their 50th wedding anniversary that marrying her “seemed just like yesterday.” Dick passed one week shy of their 68th wedding anniversary.

After his discharge from the Air Force, Dick returned to work at the Corps of Engineers. He and Norma welcomed their son, Douglas Richard, in 1956, and their first daughter, Diane Kay, in 1959. With two young children and a full-time job, Dick started college and built their first house in the Benson area in Omaha.

Dick graduated from Omaha University with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1961.The next year, Dick, an avid bowler, rolled a perfect 300 game and won a car. He carried a 200-plus bowling average for many years, bowled on many leagues (sometimes with Norma) and could still be found on the lanes until his stroke at age 81.   

Dick was a good, strong athlete (and had the trophies to prove it). In addition to bowling, he enjoyed softball, fishing at the cabin on the Platte and in Minnesota, where the family spent a week or two each summer, and golf. He golfed on several leagues, including for the Corps of Engineers and church. Dick shot his first hole in one the week after his 81st birthday. 

Just as much as he loved playing sports, Dick loved watching sports, from the Kansas City Royals to the Huskers, to golf and bowling. He was a long-time Royals fan, making trips to Kansas City for games, listening to games on the radio, and watching them on TV. Dick and Norma had matching Royals jackets.

Dick was also a great coach. He was the assistant coach on softball teams for his youngest daughter, Julie Ann (born in 1971), and played countless hours of catch in the back yard even after a long day at work.

After 38 years with the Corp of Engineers, Dick retired in 1986 at age 55. He was the chief of the cost engineering section at the time. But his retirement didn’t last long. He fished, bowled, golfed, completed home projects – and still had energy left over. He decided to learn something new that still involved his love of numbers -- taxes.

Dick studied to become a tax preparer and started working for H&R Block – where he would spend every tax season for the next 25 years. He loved doing taxes (and talking about taxes) because it was fun for him, and it fulfilled his need to help other people and solve problems. Before his stroke, Dick was preparing for his 26th tax season.

Dick’s calling to help other people was a theme throughout his life, and a testimony to his steadfast faith in the Lord. For more than 50 years, he attended Calvary Baptist Church in Omaha, where he taught Sunday School, served on the diaconate and kept the books. After the Calvary congregation disbanded, he joined Judson Baptist Church, where he was treasurer, and attended until his health prevented him from doing so.

Dick strived to live each day based on one of his favorite Bible verses:
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

He was a loving husband, a father of three, grandpa of three (and recently a great-grandpa) to a family that he protected and provided for and deeply loved. He was “Mr. Fix-It,” whether it was broken cars, broken bones or broken hearts. People could always count on Dick for good, thoughtful advice and terrible Dad jokes (before we even knew what those were). He was genuinely kind and compassionate. He will be missed.

Dick is preceded in death by his father and mother, Walter and Mabel, his sister and brother-in-law Betty (John) Hoch, and many aunts, uncles, cousins and a niece.

He is survived by his wife, Norma; son, Douglas (Jean) Larsen; daughters, Diane Larsen and Julie (Dan) Ray; grandchildren, Daniel, Joshua (Katelyn) and Christina (John) Chatwell; great-grandson, Teddy (Joshua and Katelyn), and family and friends.

The family would like to extend its deep appreciation and gratitude to Dick’s caregivers at Legato Living and the hospice team at Aseracare for the amazing care they provided.

Visitation is Monday, May 22, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Roeder Mortuary in Gretna. The funeral service is at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, May 23, at the mortuary. Interment is at Omaha National Cemetery.

Visitation Monday 5 - 7 PM at mortuary. Funeral Service 11:00 AM Tuesday (5/23/23) at Roeder Mortuary. Interment Omaha National Cemetery.

Memorials to the family to be determined later.




Roeder Mortuary, Inc. - Gretna Chapel

11710 Standing Stone - Gretna, NE


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