|Jack E. Larson, 87, of 1155 E. Knox St. Galesburg died at 1:39 PM Tuesday April 13, 2010 in Seminary Manor.
He was born June 18, 1922 in Galesburg, Ill the son of Oscar and Nellie Valentine Larson. He married Martha Houlton in San Angelo, Tx on June 24, 1944. She preceded him in death on November 11, 1997.
He is survived by three sons Jeffrey (Gyda) Larson of St. Charles, Ill, James Larson of Springfield, Ill and John (Peggy) Larson of Normal, Ill; six grandchildren Cathi, Ryan, Allison, Meagan, Adam and Kelsey, three great grandchildren, six great great grandchildren and his companion Mary Smith. Jack is preceded in death by his wife, a son Jack Larson, Jr., two brothers and a sister.
He graduated from Galesburg High School in 1940 and attended Knox College in 1942. During college he was a member of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity and worked part-time at Lindstrom's. He served in the Army Air Corp as a pilot from 1943-1945 during WWII. In 1945 their first son was born Jack Edward, Jr. Jack returned to Knox College and graduated August of 1946. He continued to work full-time with Lindstrom's from 1946-1979. In September of 1947, Dean Lindstom and Jack started a radio program together. Jack became the general manager in 1960.
In 1947, Martha and Jack added to their family twin boys James Bryan and Jeffrey Douglas and moved into their home at 1155 E. Knox St. In 1958 their fourth son was born. John Robert.
From 1972-1977, Jack served on the Knox County Board including 7 committees-Building Committee for County Jail and the Finance Committee for 3 years. In 1977 he served as a chairperson for the Galesburg Board of Election Commissioners-one term as President of the Association of Election Officials of Illinois. Between 1979-1981, he worked as the general manager for WDRL Monmouth Radio Station. From 1981-1982 he was semi-retired and joined WAIK Radio Station in Galesburg, where he had a three hour show called "Music with Memories" Monday through Friday. From 1982-1985 he had a similar program on WGIL.
Jack served as the Chamber of Commerce Director and he wrote an "Opinion" Column for the Register Mail for 13 three years. He was the Master of Ceremonies for many events and was a narrator for the Knox-Galesburg Symphony on Big Band Programs for 2001, 2003 and 2005. He was a member of the Education Survey Committee-Circa 1960. He was awarded "Book of Golden Deeds" for the Exchange Club in 1999 and recognized by Cosmopolitan Club for Committee Service. Jack volunteered for the FISH Food Pantry serving Knox County approximately over 200 hours a year, delivering all the bread to the pantry.
Jack served on the Public Library Planning Committee and was a member of the "Friends of the Library." He served as an assistant for the bereavement support group and Children's Grief Camp for Community Hospices of America. He also was a Reading Buddy at Nielson School, gave assistance to students in need at Lombard Middle School and served as a mentor. In honor of 50 years in radio Jack received a Key to the City of Galesburg by Proclamation from the Mayor. He served as President of the Knox-Lombard 50 Year Club from 2002-2006. He co-produced two benefit Christmas shows, was the MC for three "USO" shows. He produced and sponsored a benefit to purchase musical instruments for District 205 and Costa School students, rent-free from 2003-2005. In 2003 he served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Knox-Galesburg Symphony. He received a community service award for the Rotary Club of Galesburg and awarded a plaque for District 205 for support of Music Department in 2004. Jack was recognized as "Trustee and Servant Leader of the Greater Galesburg Area" by the Leadership Greater Galesburg in 2004 and 2005. In 2004 he served as a board member of the NOVA Singers. He was honored in 2005 by "The Paper" for Community Service, received a certificate for support of and dedication to students of District 205 Board of Education, was honored by the Orpheum Theatre, and was recognized by the Knox College Magazine "A Commitment to Community." Jack was pictured with Lombard 6th grade music students in the Register Mail in 2005. He was the MC for the Knox College Variety Show in 2005 and 2006. He was voted "Favorite Radio Personality" and "Top Community Activist." He was awarded the "Distinguished Leader Award" from the Leadership Greater Galesburg in 2006. He served as a board member on the Prairieland Hospice Foundation. Jack received the Knox College Service Award in 2006. The Knox-Galesburg Symphony paid tribute to Jack at the Orpheum in May, 2007. Jack also was the recipient of the Pioneer Lifetime Achievement Award from the Illinois Broadcasters Association in 2009. He was the first ever recipient of the Galesburg Area Adult Volunteer to Youth Award in 2009 and was the 2010 recipient of the Illinois "Governor's Volunteer Service Award" Senior Category, West Central II Region.
Funeral services are scheduled for 1:00 PM Saturday April 17, 2010 at the First Presbyterian Church. The Rev. David Parker will officiate. Visitation will be from 4:00-8:00 PM Friday at Hinchliff-Pearson-West Galesburg Chapel. Burial will be in Memorial Park Cemetery with Military Rites by Ralph M. Noble American Legion Post 285.
Memorials may be made to the Jack E. Larson Endowment Fund c/o the Community Foundation 575 N. Kellogg St. Galesburg Ill. Online condolences may be made at www.h-p-w.com.