Bernard H. Larson

ESCANABA- Bernard H. Larson Sr. of Escanaba, 97, joined the realm of angels on Wednesday Sept. 4, 2013, at the Bishop Noa Home in Escanaba.

Bernie was born on April 30, 1916, in Rock, the sixth child of August and Anna (Nauer) Larson. He graduated from Rock High School in 1934. He lived in Escanaba in 1934 and 1935 while attending Cloverland College and then moved to Green Bay, for one year while attending the Badger Green Bay Business College. Bernie spent his early years working in his father’s businesses which included the family farm, Larson Brothers General Store, and Larson’s timber business. Bernie’s job in the timber camps was as the cook’s helper, feeding more than 100 lumberjacks.

One of Bernie’s memorable experiences as a youth was traveling with his older brother Clarence to Chicago and attending the World Exposition in 1933. In 1941 Bernie worked for the Department of Engineers, Panama Canal Department, in Corozal, Panama. Bernie returned from Panama to Rock on Saturday, Dec. 6, 1941. Events of the next day, Dec. 7, 1941, changed his and others lives forever.

In August of 1942, Bernie joined the United States Navy. After basic, he trained at the Hospital Corps School, Great Lakes, Ill; the Marine Hospital, Quantico, Va.; the National Naval Hospital, Bethesda, Md.; Hospital Technician, Naval Air Base, Glenview, Ill. Following Medical Field Service School and battlefield combat training at Camp LeJeune, N.C., Bernie was assigned to the 24th Marines, 4th Marine Division, as corpsman (medic) and shipped to the South Pacific.

Bernie was based at Honolulu, Hawaii, and had jungle training with the Marines on Maui, prior to being part of the initial invasion of Iwo Jima on Feb. 19, 1945. He witnessed the raising of the first American Flag on Mt. Suribachi. Bernie was evacuated from Iwo as a result of combat injuries received Feb. 28, 1945. After receiving medical attention in Guam, Honolulu, and San Francisco, Bernie spent the next 15 months at a veteran’s rehabilitation center in Philadelphia, Pa., and received an honorable discharge on June 6, 1946.

In May of 1943, while based at Bethesda, Md., Bernie married the former Edna Kruger of Escanaba. Following the war and his rehabilitation, Bernie and Edna relocated to veterans housing in Milwaukee to re-enter the work force and start their family. In January of 1951, Bernie and Edna moved to Escanaba and Bernie went to work for First National Bank as a teller. Bernie retired from the bank in May of 1981 as an assistant vice president. During his tenure at the bank, Bernie’s co-workers and customers were like part of his extended family. Following retirement, Bernie volunteered for Bay de Noc Hospice and Retired Seniors Volunteer Program (RSVP) assisting at health clinics throughout the U.P. Bernie was a member of St Anne’s Parish, where he was a member of the choir, an usher, and a counter. He was a life member of both the Disabled American Veterans and Order of the Purple Heart.

Bernie was preceded in death by his wife, Edna; parents; infant son, David; brothers, John, Clarence, Leslie and August (Babe) Larson; and sisters, Olga Ramseth and Evelyn Orlando. Survivors include his son, Bernard Jr. (Linda); and daughter, Janice (Pete) Baker of Escanaba; grandchildren, Deborah (Deen) Collins, Mike (Lourdes) Baker, Michael and Jason Gore; six great-grandchildren; two great-great grandchildren; his special niece Gayle (Roman) Gill; and many other loved nephews and nieces.

Although Bernie was discharged from military service in 1946 with 100 percent disability rating, he returned as a contributing member of society working, paying taxes, and raising a family. He led by example with his quiet service to others. He takes to his grave pieces of shrapnel and some of the black sands of Iwo Jima that he carried and were embedded as part of his body for almost 70 years. Semper Fi!

The family of Bernard Larson expresses their gratitude for the excellent and heart-felt care Bernie received from the staff and caregivers of Bishop Noa Home. Memorials may be made to Bishop Noa Home in Escanaba or to a charity of your choice.

Bernard’s family will receive friends on Monday, Sept. 9, from 12 to 1:45 p.m. at the Skradski Family Funeral Home in Escanaba. Military rites conducted by the Delta County Veterans Council will follow at 1:45 p.m. Funeral services celebrating the life of Bernard H. Larson Sr. will follow at 2 p.m. at the funeral home with Rev. Fr. Fran DeGroot of the St. Anne Catholic Church officiating. Burial will be in the Gardens of Rest Cemetery in Wells. Please visit where you can express your sympathy to the Larson family, or to leave a memory tribute about Bernie.