Obituary: James W. Larson
March 2, 1944 – November 8, 2022
The Yampa Valley lost a legend on Tuesday, Nov 8. James W. Larson, born Mar 2, 1944, passed away peacefully at home during the lunar eclipse.
A proud Swede, Jim was born in Minnesota and thrived at sports at a young age. He played football at Valparaiso and went on to get his MBA at Michigan State University.
Jim’s career started at General Foods in New York before joining the Army. He served as a Lieutenant in Vietnam and was awarded a bronze star. Returning from the war at 27, Jim became the youngest VP at Quaker Oats. We have him to thank for instant oatmeal and lite syrup.
Jim moved to Connecticut in the 1970s and started a venture capital fund where he mentored the c-suite and helped take several companies public.
From there, Jim applied his hard work ethic and big brain to various endeavors in the restaurant business, tech investments, aviation, and commercial development. An early day trader sustained by a diet of CNBC and the Wall St Journal, Jim kept himself ahead of the curve in the markets and he loved to talk about where things were (and were not) headed. His crystal ball was more accurate than not.
Jim and Susan, his wife of thirty years, retired to the Yampa Valley in the late 90s. Ever the entrepreneur, Jim bought Sundance Plaza in 2001 through which they supported many local businesses before selling the center in 2019. They stayed active in many philanthropic endeavors, including the Steamboat Art Museum, Strings Music Festival, Boys & Girls Club, Winter Sports Club, STARS, Old Town Hot Springs, Yampa Valley Medical Center, and Northwest Colorado Health, and others.
Jim believed happiness could only be achieved through hard work and productivity. When he set his mind to something, there was zero chance it wouldn’t get done. In that spirit, we challenge you to seize the day and conquer the biggest task ahead of you, in Jim’s name.
Jim is pre-deceased by his parents, Gilbert and Hazel Larson. He is survived by his wife Susan, sons Bob, Mike, Topher, and Zander; brothers Gib and Roger; five grandchildren and a tribe of devoted family and friends who will never forget his indomitable spirit.
A memorial service will be held at St. Paul’s Church on Saturday, Jan 7th, 2023 at 11 A.M. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Steamboat Hospice or Yampa Valley Parkinson’s Support Network.
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