Exeter - Herbert Paul Larson, 96, died at Riverwoods in Exeter on Wednesday, January 9, 2013. He had lived at Riverwoods for eight years and before that had been a 35 year resident of Portsmouth, N.H.
He is survived by his wife of 71 years, Roberta Gray Larson, and three children: Sandra Larson Carr of Silver Lake, NH. and her spouse Lawrence Carr; Eric Larson of Dorrington, Ca. and his spouse, Nancy Larson and Wendy Larson of Kensington, NH and her spouse, Margaret Ball. Herbert also enjoyed three grandchildren: Julie Carr of Jersey City, NJ, Sean Carr of Stoughton, Ma. and Matthew Larson of Vacaville, Ca. He was the proud great grandfather to Olivia and Charles Lawal, Madeleine and Jack Carr and Hunter and Cooper Larson. He he also survived by several nieces and nephews His brother, Dr. Richard T. Larson of Ft. Worth, Texas predeceased him as did his sister , Doris Larson, who died in childhood.
Herbert was born in Marshalltown, Iowa. His mother, Helen Kent Larson, was a school teacher and his father, Edwin Odin Larson, ran a grocery store. Young Herbert was an industrious boy working at the grocery store and delivering newspapers in his youth. When the Great Depression arrived, he and his family moved to Oklahoma and lived with their cousins as the families navigated together the economic storms of the times. Herbert continued to find what work that he could as a teenager and also pursued his high school studies diligently. He was able to enroll at the University of Iowa after high school and completed his Batchelor’s degree at the University of Oklahoma in 1940. He was interested in a career of service and also a career that had good security. He was accepted at the FBI Academy and trained to become a Special Agent of the FBI. His first assignment was in their Washington, DC office. He attended Georgetown and St. John’s Law Schools.
While working at the FBI office in Washington, DC in 1940 he met an attractive young fingerprint clerk, Roberta Gray. He married Roberta on December 4, 1941. Immediately after their marriage , Pearl Harbor occurred and WW11 began for the US. The young couple was transferred to the West Coast and settled in Seattle, Wash. for the war years. Herbert was involved in protecting the US from Japanese invasion during those tense war years. Once the war was ended the couple returned to the East Coast and settled into the New York area where Herbert spent a full career in the New York office of the FBI as a Special Agent. He maintained his devotion to and connection with the bureau for all of his life and was, upon his death, the oldest member of the New England Chapter of Retired Special Agents.
Upon Herbert’s retirement from the FBI, Herbert and Roberta moved to Portsmouth, NH. Roberta was a New England born lady and her Mother and brother both lived in the area so it was a homecoming for her. For Herbert , a midwestern boy, it was a new lifestyle but he adapted well. One of his first ventures was as a New England lobster fisherman! He and a friend bought a boat and some traps and fished the plentiful cold waters of the Atlantic for the famous New England lobster. Herbert also began a second career in the Security Department at the University of New Hampshire in Durham. He worked there for six years and during that time used his considerable experience to write their security protocol manual and became the head of their Security and Safety Department.
Once Herbert was fully retired he tried some new skills. He took oil painting lessons and made many lovely paintings of the beauty and nature of his adopted New Hampshire coastal town. He also took up the sport of croquet and spent many happy afternoons playing the game in full whites on the court at Strawberry Banke, in downtown Portsmouth as well as in private settings in Hampton and Rye. Herbert’s keen eye, steady hand and attention to detail made him an exceptional player of the sport. He and Roberta also made time for important volunteer work in their lives. They both taught in an Adult Literacy program for many years and did the annual accounting for the local Crop Walk; and Herbert was very involved in the life of his beloved North Church in Portsmouth serving as a Deacon.
Herbert lived a long, full and worthwhile life. His values were evident in all that he did; he valued his church and his country, his family and his friends. He believed in personal responsibility and hard work; loyalty and integrity. He had high standards for himself and for all those around him. He was a devoted husband and a tender and supportive father. He was ever the gentleman, polite and appreciative of all who helped him through life. He will be remembered for all of this and more, and missed very much.
Private services will be held at the convenience of the family and a Celebration of Herbert’s Life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the New Hampshire Food Bank - Dept. F, P.O. Box 9510, Manchester NH 03108-9510 or to the North Congregational Church Memorial Fund, 355 Spinney Road, Portsmouth, NH 03801. Visit: www.jvwoodfuneralhome.com to sign the on line guest book, send a private condolence or sympathy card.