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Pequot Lakes: Former principal, mayor dies - Larsen was 76

Ed Larsen

Ed Larsen, a former mayor, high school principal and citizen of the year in Pequot Lakes, as well as a former Crow Wing County commissioner who represented the northern lakes area, died Wednesday, Aug. 2, at age 76 at St. Cloud Hospital.

Friends and co-workers fondly remember Larsen.

"The Larsens and the Oraskoviches formed our friendship of many years at Pequot Lakes School, back when it was one large building," Char Oraskovich said in an email, noting Ed was the high school principal and her husband, Jim, was then the elementary school principal. Jim eventually became superintendent.

Both men battled cancer, and when Jim died in January 2016, Larsen said at that time that their relationship had become stronger in the past few years and they had met met regularly to talk about their health.

"Ed worked to ensure that students and staff felt valued and growth oriented. Ed's support soon carried over to the Pequot and Brainerd communities," Char Oraskovich wrote, noting Ed got involved in the Greater Lakes Area Performing Arts in Pequot Lakes and was the Bean Hole Days king bean in 1988, as well as a member of the Lions.

Ed's wife, Judy, told the Brainerd Dispatch that Larsen battled non-Hodgkin lymphoma for seven years through rounds of chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant, but the cancer kept reoccurring.

"He just couldn't fight it anymore, but he fought a good battle for seven years," she told the Dispatch.

Larsen's career was in education. He was a science teacher, including in the Roseville School District, where he met his wife. He was director of an alternative school, as well as assistant principal and athletic director in Northfield before the Larsens moved to Pequot Lakes in 1983, where Larsen was Pequot Lakes High School principal for 15 years. During that time, he served three terms as Pequot Lakes mayor. Later, he served a couple of terms on the county board.

"Ed was a very caring person to all of us, staff and students. He was always there to help us out as best he could," Barb Wallace, Pequot Lakes High School secretary, said in an email. "He was the mayor of Pequot Lakes for a time when he was still the high school principal, which made him quite busy. Some phone calls and visits from the community were very interesting for me!

"My husband, Brad Wallace, remembers Ed was fond of saying that 'he saw Barb more than he did his wife, Judy,'" she wrote.

Tommy Smith, physical education teacher, also worked with Larsen.

"Ed hired me as the head football coach. His son, Doug, was a freshman at the time. We won our first game of the year in double overtime. It was the first game Pequot had won in three seasons. Ed was so happy afterward that he had tears in his eyes," Smith wrote via email. "He was a great principal and friend."

Math teacher Nikki Stark remembered that during her first year of teaching a call from a parent upset her.

"I went down to Ed's office to talk about it," she said via email. "He said, 'Don't take others too seriously, but remember to not take yourself too seriously either.' He had a way of just smiling at you and it made you feel better."

Funeral services for Larsen were Monday, Aug. 7, at Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Pequot Lakes.