William “Shorty” Larsen left us unexpectedly on February 17, 2019. He was 51 years old. He leaves behind a legacy of smiles, good humor, his love for family, and an amazing desire to help others. In his 51 years in this world, as the family thought about their son, brother, uncle, and friend, they realize what a treasure Shorty was to so many beyond family.
His mom, Grace, recalls how much he enjoyed coming over and cooking for her and his sister Carlene on a regular basis. She and Carlene related that he cooked so good that they couldn’t lose weight until Shorty went fishing for the summers with Tim Grussendorf. He loved fishing and being on the waters around Sitka and SE Alaska. He fished with Tim for 19 years. One of his recent, and final, gifts for his mom was sitting on her shelf. The inscription said, “Heaven is a little closer in a home by the water.”
The family talked about how much Shorty loved to hike, play basketball, and “cruising” around Sitka smiling in this town he grew up in and being that friendly, waving soul. The family recounts many times how they learned from others how he would pull over and help someone in need. Many times that person didn’t even know who he was – he just helped, such was his desire to be who he learned to be growing up under his Mom and Dad. He even replaced an alternator for someone who didn’t know who he was. She found out later and found the Larsen family to let them know what he did. That happened last week.
The impression he made upon the kids around him, when working in the middle school and at UAS led a friend to share how they noticed that whenever the middle school kids or MEHS kids saw Shorty, the kids would gravitate to this friendly, smiling, caring adult. The friend related that he realized that Shorty became a father figure to so many kids as he was a good listener. The words, “kind, gentle, good listener, caring,” are often repeated when family and friends talk about Shorty.
He even stood in for his brother for one Lamaze class – just one, after which he promptly declared he was not going to have kids. His sense of humor was infectious and it was evident in listening to his family and friends think about this caring friend to many. There were many examples of how he also used humor to show his family or friends to let them know he cares for them, such was his desire to let them know they were special to him.
He received the nickname “Shorty” early in life. His mom relates that when he was born, he was short and was not easy to see wrapped in his baby blanket so his siblings laughingly nicknamed him “Shorty” because they could not see him – and it stuck with him.
It was evident he loved family. He always made sure Mom took her medicine. He cooked for her and Carlene and would serve Mom first. As Mom simply stated, “he was always there for me.”
As the family relates – he never knew a stranger. He was always willing to help wherever help was needed. No one had a single bad thing to say about him.
Shorty grew up in Sitka, graduated from Sitka High School, and in 2005 attended Marine Mechanical Institute in Florida to become certified in marine engine repair work, something he loved doing and teaching to others. He loved his commercial fishing. He recently graced the hallways of SEARHC as an employee.
A Celebration of Life will be held this Sunday – on his birthday – from 1:00-3:00pm at the Sheetka Kwaan Naakahidi. Please consider bringing a food dish to share and please bring some fun stories of our friend, uncle, brother, and son Shorty – to share with others. On Wednesday, the family will have a private ceremony to spread Shorty’s ashes at his favorite fishing hole.
He lived life well and fully, complete with that ever present smile and great attitude of love for family and friends and a life of helping others. He is the son of Grace Katasse Larsen and Carl A. Larsen, Sr. (deceased). He was preceded in death by his father, Carl A. Larsen, Sr., and his sister, Carlene Rose Larsen. He is survived by his mother, Grace K. Larsen of Sitka; brothers Carl A Larsen of Juneau, Jr, Henry Larsen (Lynn) of Sitka, Andy Larsen of Hoonah, and Clarence “Buzz” Dick of Juneau; sisters Becky M. Larsen of Juneau, Carlene Larsen of Sitka, Beth Didrickson (Donnie) of Elma, Washington, and Aneanette Larsen of Hoonah; nephews Christopher Larsen, Kayne Larson, Olaf Larsen, Charlie Larsen all of Juneau, Eric Larsen of Hoonah, Jerrett Didrickson of Elma, Washington, and Adam Larsen (Leah) of Green Bay, Wisconsin; nieces Kylee Larsen (Chris), Elisa Larsen (Jackson) of Chicago, Illinois, and Annisha Strom of Fort Yukon. He has many great nieces and nephews.
Honorary Pallbearers are Carl A. Larsen, Jr, Christopher Larsen, Eric Larsen, Kylee Larsen, Kayne Larsen, Becky Larsen, Olaf Larsen, Charlie Larsen, Henry Larsen, Elisa Larsen, Adam Larsen, Carlene Larsen, Andy Larsen, Annisha Larsen, Beth, Donnie, and Jerrett Didrickson, James Bennett, Sarah Carlson, Tim Grussendorf, James Mercer, Ed Mercer, Jr., Terry Carlson, Clarence “Buzz” Dick, Tom Gamble, and Keith Perkins.