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Robert Vance Larsen

January 1, 1929 — April 8, 2015

Robert Vance Larsen

Robert Vance Larsen, 86, son of Vance Carl Larsen and Clara Shelton McKendrick, passed away April 8, 2015 in Payson, Utah in his sleep. He was born in Duchesne, Utah on January 1, 1929. From a very young age Robert had been fascinated with airplanes and always wanted to learn to fly. His very first airplane ride in 1943 with Casper Wolfe at the controls started him on the journeys which lead to him getting his private pilot's license before his driver's license. After many years of flying all types of planes for various jobs his ultimate dream came true and it culminated with a 25 year careeras a pilot with Western Airlines. During that career he piloted such planes as the DC-3, Convair 240, DC-6, 707, 720B, 737 and finished his career with the DC-10. On July 6, 1946 Robert enlisted in the Navy. While in boot camp at San Diego, California he had hopes and designs of serving on a submarine. Unfortunately, due to a decision one day to goof off with two other sailors rather than fulfill his work assignment at the end of boot camp, they were placed on report and thrown in the brig for three days and nights. While he was in the brig his orders came to report to submarine school. Being in confinement, he missed the opportunity. He would later say had he went to that school he most likely never would have had a flying career. He was instead assigned on November 19, 1946 to serve on an aircraft carrier, the USS Kearsarge where he served until October 10, 1947 when he was reassigned to the USS Midway. Robert completed his naval service in June, 1948. One night in March 1948 while on a 10-day leave from the Navy, Robert and a friend, Paul Harding, went to a drive-in cafe in Provo, Utah where he pointed to one of the car-hops working there and said to Paul, "do you see that cute little gal?" "What about her?" "That's the girl I'm going to marry!" "You're crazy, you don't even know her name," Paul said laughingly. Eight months later on November 8, 1948, Robert married that girl, Ruth Christina (Chris) Willden at her Aunt Ruth's home in Provo, Utah. Robert was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1937 by his uncle Rulon Larsen in the waters of the Strawberry River in Duchesne. After several years of inactivity Robert returned to church activity in 1959 and had been a faithful member ever since, serving in many capacities and callings. He and his wife Chris also had the opportunity to serve as Name Extraction missionaries from their home in Eagle Mountain, Utah. He lived a full life and loved to share his experiences with family and friends at every opportunity. He is loved and will be missed. Robert is preceded in death by his parents, sisters, and his oldest son, Robert Vance Larsen, Jr. and is survived by his wife Chris and children, Ruth Darlene Mahler (Gustav), Rulon, Steven (Debbie), Karen Harris (Randy), Leland (Arlynne), David (Tish), and 24 grandchildren and 48 great-grandchildren and his brother Mike McKendrick (Joyce). Funeral services will be held on April 16, 2015 at the LDS chapel on 4142 Lake Mountain Road in Eagle Mountain, Utah. Viewing from 9:00-10:30am with the funeral at 11:00am. Interment will be at the Veterans Memorial Park at Bluffdale, Utah by Camp Williams.
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