Richard "Dick" Larson
Affectionately known as "D'pa," Dick Larson died peacefully on Friday afternoon, Aug. 16, 2019, at UnityPoint-St. Luke's Hospital. He was 94 years young. He was known around Cedar Rapids for triggering smiles wherever he went and for thanking people by teaching them the Quechua Indian word "Pagaracho," a term from his childhood which means "May God repay you." D'pa was much loved for his easy humor, kind heart and quick, gentle wit.
A memorial service will be held on Oct. 19, 2019, at Salem United Methodist Church, Cedar Rapids. The visitation will begin at 1 p.m., service to follow at 2 p.m. The family is being assisted by Iowa Cremation.
Born on July 13, 1925, to Reuben and Grace (Richardson) Larson in Guayaquil, Ecuador, South America, Dick spent his early childhood in the jungle at the headwaters of the Amazon, in what is now Dos Rios. As he grew older, he attended boarding school in the city of Quito in the Andes mountains. His parents were pioneer missionaries and co-founders of HCJB Radio, "The Voice of the Andes" radio station in Quito, now known as Reach Beyond-HCJB. During his high school years, he wrote scripts for the Spanish Galleon radio show and helped with its production.
Following his marriage to Doreen "Jody" Ogston in 1947 and graduation from college in the United States, he and his wife returned to Quito for several more years before ultimately making their home in Wheaton, Ill. He spent his career in Chicago working as a writer and producer/director of scholastic films with Coronet Educational Films Inc. He and Jody spent their retirement years in North Port, Fla., moving to Iowa in 2010 to stay with their daughter and her family in Cedar Rapids. Dick loved the Lord Jesus Christ and felt strongly about pursuing the privilege of prayer.
Dick is survived by his four children, Scott (Gail) Larson of St. Louis, Mo., Vicki (Mike) Brooks of Cedar Rapids, Joseph W. Larson of Niagara Falls, N.Y., and Meg Diehl of Austin, Texas; 11 grandchildren; 19 great-grandchildren; and his sister and brother-in-law, Peggy-Jo and Bob Carlson of Wheaton, Ill.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Jody; his children, Richard and Jennifer; his son-in-law, John Diehl; and his infant brother, Robert, who is buried in Ecuador.
To all the folks who prayed for D'pa while he was in the hospital and to the wonderful doctors and medical staff at UnityPoint-St. Luke's Hospital who helped him through his final week, the family says a heartfelt "Pagaracho!"