Gary Lisle Larsen, 83, of Kaysville, Utah passed away January 11, 2023, surrounded by his loving family. He followed his son Brett less than a month after his passing.
Gary was born on January 25, 1939, to Leo Lisle Larsen and Vera Eliza Pay. He was the only boy with four sisters; Vera Jean, Shirlene, Glenda and DeAnna.
Gary contracted Polio at the age of six and spent the first grade in the hospital. He recalled going to bed and waking up and having a different child next to him. Not knowing how to treat Polio, he received a daily shot of penicillin. He subsequently became allergic to penicillin. The polio had localized in his legs, especially his left. He returned home with leg braces. Glenda and Deanna were the best caretakers helping with braces and packing him up and down stairs on their backs. The braces didn’t keep him down. He ran inexplicably fast after accidently shooting a hole in the coal stove.
He spent much of his time outdoors whether it be working in the fields, in the peach orchard or playing ball. He loved playing ball. He couldn’t run so he concentrated on developing his upper body by sitting on a crate and pitching the ball though a hanging tire. Once he was out of braces, he began his lifelong love as a fastpitch softball pitcher. He couldn’t run but he could pitch. He became one of the best pitchers in the state.
Gary attended Box Elder High School and graduated in 1958. It was there that he played the saxophone and participated in the marching band. After graduation, he attended Utah State University with his best friends DeeOrr Wight and Laren Peterson. He enjoyed his two years there but, “he hated the cold, he hated the drive through sardine canyon, and having no money.” Dior introduced Gary to his cousin Patricia Stokes. He moved to Elko, Nevada to begin working for JC Penny as a shoe salesman. Shortly after the move he married Patricia in 1960. One of his “claims to fame” is he sold Wayne Newton a pair of shoes.
After moving back to Salt Lake Gary continued his education and joined the insurance industry as an insurance marketing representative. He loved the association with agents and the lasting friendships he made. During this time, they made several moves, but he never stopped playing ball even in Las Vegas—games were played at midnight to avoid the heat. He and Patricia had three daughters: JoLynn, LuAnn, and Kalene. Gary and Patricia later divorced in 1980.
DeeOrr introduced Gary to his coworker, Rebecca Poland. They were married on November 14, 1981. Gary and Becky found it humorous that DeeOrr introduced him to both of his wives. Becky would often say that Gary was the man of her dreams and the answer to her mother’s prayers. Gary shared a special relationship with Becky’s mom, Reba, who was always prepared to talk sports with him. A year later they built their home in Kaysville. It was a perfect place to raise their two boys, Brett and Greg. He continued playing fast pitch softball until he switched to coaching Brett and Greg in their own sports. He instilled his love for sports in the boys, specifically the Utah Jazz. Gary and Becky had season tickets when the team first came to Utah. They have been fans ever since. The family loved watching the games and talking about all things Jazz related.
Gary loved to hunt and fish. He grew up hunting pheasants, ducks, and geese in the marshlands of Perry with his dad. When he grew older, his brother-in-law, DeWayne Goldsberry, joined them. They both had hunting dogs. DeWayne was a true dog whisperer and Gary was not happy that his dog preferred hunting alongside DeWayne instead of him. He loved dogs and spoiled them by sharing his food. He made annual elk hunting trips to Montrose with insurance agents he worked with while living in Colorado. Becky called it “Elk Camp” because at the end he didn’t even take a gun. He also loved fishing. One of his favorite fishing trips was to Yellowstone with Steve Stokes and Steve’s dad.
His profession offered lots of opportunities to travel to places like London, Quebec, Hawaii, Acapulco and Bermuda. He loved the destinations but hated flying and boats, especially cruise ships. He needed to be the one in control. After he retired at the age of 70, he began working for Kaysville Parks & Recreation. He loved the people that he worked with and the women in the office were “his girls.” He had a way of making people feel comfortable and making them laugh. He was the life of the party with his great sense of humor and quick wit. He would always end his goodbyes with “be safe” which was his way of saying “I love you.”
He loved sweets—it’s a Larsen thing. You could always find a coke in his hand and ice cream in his freezer. Coke, ketchup and lemon-lime Kool-Aid were considered a food group in the Larsen home. He loved white cake from Dick’s bakery, lifesaver wintergreen mints, sugar coated popcorn, lemon sticks, chocolates—especially dark chocolate raspberry cremes, dark chocolate turtles, and chocolate covered peanuts.
Gary, we miss you, but are grateful that you have been reunited with Brett. We love you. Be safe.
He is survived by his wife, Rebecca Larsen; children, JoLynn (Mike) Dulay, LuAnn (Chris) Brashear, Kalene Zippro, Greg Larsen, Kylee Larsen (Brett); 13 grandchildren, 9 greatgrandchildren.
He is preceded in death by his son Brett Larsen; parents, Lisle and Vera Larsen; siblings, Vera Jean (Wayne) Paffel, Shirlene Larsen, Glenda (DeWayne) Goldsberry, DeAnna (Merlin) Tracy.
Viewing at Russon Mortuary
Tuesday, January 17th from 6:00-8:00pm
1941 N Main St, Farmington, UT 84025
Viewing & Funeral Service
Wednesday, January 18th
Spencer Ward Chapel
500 S Main Street Kaysville, UT 84037
Services will be streamed live on Russon Mortuary & Crematory Facebook page and this obituary page. The video begin ten to fifteen minutes before the service begins and will be posted below.
The ward will be providing an alternate link to the services using the following link https://us02web.zoom.us/j/