Robert Albert Larson, 83, a Whidbey Island resident for over 50 years, died at the home of his daughter on Jan. 9 after bravely battling cancer for nearly a year and a half.
Bob was born on Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11, 1918, two hours before the end of World War I. He was the eldest of four children raised in Bremerton by his father, Oscar, and mother, Florence. He attended Bremerton High where he continued to develop his natural talents as an athlete. After graduation in 1937, he worked as a machinist apprentice and played minor league Baseball.
During World War II he commanded a bomb disposal unit and was promoted to the rank of first lieutenant. He was very proud of the fact that he never lost one of his men. After the war, Bob attended the University of Washington where he was a captain of the baseball team lettering all four years. There, he met and later married his wife Patty. He graduated in 1947, and began his career as a teacher. Shortly thereafter Bob became a father and he moved his family to Lagoon Point on Whidbey Island.
During his years as an educator, he taught a myriad of high school subjects. Marine biology and P.E. were two of his favorites. As a coach he amassed an impressive record during his career by capturing several state championships in baseball, football, and tennis. With Bob’s help, many of his students were able to obtain scholarships to colleges that they might not have been able to attend. He coached both boys and girls tennis in a time when women’s sports were often overlooked.
Over the years tennis became Bob’s real passion. He was a devoted father and full-time grandfather, and he introduced both his daughter and granddaughters to this wonderful sport.
Bob’s leisure hours were also spent fishing and enjoying the great outdoors. He was a conservationist long before it was a popular cause. Bob was a community leader and vocal advocate for the protection of the environment. He was a very caring and giving person in many other ways.
Survivors include his daughter Robin Hildebrand and granddaughters Jana and Heather Hildebrand of Bellevue, and his sister Dorothy Spillane of Seattle.
Services will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 19, at Whidbey Island’s Naval Air Stationchapel. There are high security restrictions in effect. Memorials may be sent to American Cancer society at 1-800-ACS-2345 or www.cancer.org.