Wayne R. Larson of Cedar Rapids passed away Wednesday, March 14, 2018, at UnityPoint Health-St. Luke's Hospital. Family and friends are invited to attend a Celebration of Life gathering planned for 11 a.m. Saturday, March 31, at the home he shared with his wife Doris on Cottage Grove Avenue. Private inurnment will take place on a later date at Wilcox Cemetery, Jones County, Iowa.
Wayne was born at home on Dec. 5, 1924, in rural Whittier, Iowa, the oldest son of Neal and Retta (Armstrong) Larson. He began helping to support his family at the age of 8 by riding a mail jitney from Viola to Cedar Rapids, selling fresh eggs to the ladies who lived on Beaver Avenue and working alongside his father and grandfathers on the family farms. He attended all 12 grades, graduating from Viola School, where he was active on the baseball and basketball teams. He shared stories of driving a horse and wagon team to neighboring farms collecting classmates for school during the harsh Iowa winters. Following his graduation, Wayne purchased a truck with the money he earned working before and after school milking cows, and ran his own livestock and grain delivery business. Eventually he moved to Cedar Rapids, taking a job washing windows at Quaker Oats before enlisting in the U.S. Army Air Corps, serving in Okinawa, Japan, during World War II. Upon returning from the war, he was employed by United Airlines at the Chicago Midway, Youngstown, Ohio, and Cedar Rapids airports.
Wayne married Doris Livingstone, whom he was introduced to on a blind date, on June 23, 1949 and became the father of Rick Larson and Debby Larson. After starting his family, Wayne became a partner in the Cedar Rapids Airport Limousine service. He loved big band music and enjoyed telling stories of driving big band musicians to local dance halls and the Hotel Roosevelt.
Wayne was a natural salesman and in 1954 he became a real estate broker, joining his friend Earl Miller at Miller & Company Realty. Active on the Cedar Rapids Board of Realtors for more than 50 years, he also was relied upon by many Eastern Iowa lending institutions as an independent real estate appraiser. At the age of 75, he retired from the real estate business but continued to stay active, working part time for Pat McGrath Chevy Land until 2010.
Wayne was an avid Iowa Hawkeye fan. He and Doris enjoyed attending home games at Kinnick Stadium with friends. They also were members of the Golden K Kiwanis in Cedar Rapids together.
Wayne was preceded in death by his parents; a sister, Norma; and brother, Rayford.
He is survived by his wife, Doris; his son, Rick; his daughter, Debby; sisters-in-law, Jean Livingstone Brown, Lois Livingstone Wild and Catherine Dawn Larson; three nieces; and six nephews.
Wayne will be remembered for his untiring work ethic and his friendly, generous nature. His sister-in-law described him as "the most unselfish person she had ever known."
The family wishes to extend their gratitude to UnityPoint Hospice and the loving staff at Garnett Place in Cedar Rapids.
Memorials may be directed to the Viola Methodist Church and Camp Courageous, Monticello.