Gene Larson


image of Gene Larson

Gene Larson

Gene Larson, born Eugene Larson Jr., passed away peacefully on Friday, March, 10th surrounded by his family after a short but intense battle with pancreatic cancer.

Gene was born in San Francisco, California on June 8, 1951 to father Eugene and mother Tjeerdske. With younger siblings Linda and Glenn, Gene spent a happy childhood in the Bay Area where he was a sailor, figure skater, and high school swimmer. He excelled in academics and was known to be an especially adept and graceful skier, an activity that combined his athleticism and engineering mind. In his later teenage years, Gene obtained his pilot’s license and motorcycle license. Learning came easily to Gene, but he loved to discover new skills, absorb new information, and read up on current events, habits that stuck with him throughout life. A lover of facts and always eager to share new knowledge with others, one of his catchphrases began “Did you know…” and he said it so often he was even gifted a personalized license plate displaying the phrase.

After graduating from Mills High School of Millbrae, Gene attended UC Irvine where he was a college rower and later transferred to UC Davis where he completed his Bachelor of Science degree and lived with roommates who became friends for life. An unofficial fraternity of sorts, Gene and his Davis roommates remained friends well beyond graduation, even reuniting for houseboat trips to Shasta. Gene was a serious student in college and the relationships he built in that time helped shape his life to come. It was at Davis where he met his lifelong love, Carol, a moment he often said, “forever changed his life for the better.”

Gene’s own dad passed away shortly after college, an event which bifurcated Gene’s path in life, as he shifted away from pursuing the family business to strike out on his own as a mechanical engineer.

image of Carol and Gene

Carol and Gene

A few years later, Carol and Gene were engaged on Christmas Eve, and they married on Valentine’s Day in 1976, a choice Gene cleverly said meant that he never forgot their wedding anniversary though his family knew it was really because he was a hopeless romantic. Gene and Carol settled in San Francisco where they spent their days working and their weekends playing, taking drives up the coast in their Alfa Romeo, lingering over lazy Sunday mornings with the paper and coffee, waving as the double-decker busses drove by their second story flat, and even flying to nearby cities for getaways when Gene was able to reserve a plane to pilot. Gene was known for arranging with Carol’s boss to surprise her on Friday afternoons, whisking her away for the weekend, a bag already packed in the car, the first streak of many “grand gestures” that Gene was known for throughout his life, a pure expression of his enduring and abundant love for Carol.

In 1982, Gene and Carol welcomed their first daughter, Jenni, an event Gene marked with cigars and schnapps, as one did in those days. Gene quickly became enamored with his role as a doting father. In 1984, Gene accepted a job with NC Machinery, so the new family of three and their dog, Pisces, moved to Sammamish, Washington, where they lived for the next 30+ years. Shortly after settling in Washington, they welcomed daughter Jess in 1985, rounding out their family of four, his “girls” to which he was so devoted. The years the Larsons lived in Timberline were some of Gene’s happiest. Gene was a hands-on father who read to his daughters every night before bed, frequently participated in school functions (even procuring a lion tamer’s costume for a field trip to the zoo with Jess’s class and driving a bus to preschool to help Jenni and her friends prepare for kindergarten), drove carpool, and engaged in epic tickle wars that would inevitably end in a bit of crying but a lot of fun. Gene was the soccer team assistant coach, the neighborhood volunteer Santa, the builder of many Barbie homes, the instigator of cul-de-sac-wide water fights, and an eager partner in elaborate school projects. He was the dad that every kid on the block dreamt of having but that the Larson girls were lucky to claim as their own.

In the late 1990s, Gene convinced Carol to join a partnership in a sailboat named “Winsome” that became the family getaway for years to come. Weekend trips to Poulsbo, Blake Island, and Ludlow, summer trips to the San Juans, and evening sails spent zigzagging across the Sound soon became the source of some of Gene and his family’s best memories; the water, the waves, and the Winsome being the backdrop of many happy family photos. In later years, Gene and Carol would own a boat of their own, “Wilson”, which was easily the highlight of their retirement years as they would disappear for weeks on end to spend time together (worrying their kids sick as they navigated areas without cell reception too caught up in their love of each other and the water).

The family grew over time. In 2007, Jenni and Ryan married with Gene acting as best man, and in 2008, Jess and Charlie married. Gene prided himself on gaining two sons in the marriages of his daughters and he loved the special relationships he cultivated with them built on long talks and special outings to sporting events, especially rounds of golf.

In his career, Gene started off as a mechanical engineer in his earlier days at Williams and Lane and NC Machinery, later starting his own company Product Resource Corporation, before landing at SNC Lavalin where he spent the bulk of his career and shifted into renewable energy. Gene was passionate about marrying his engineering background with the changing needs of companies and the environment as “green” and “renewable” became buzz words and eventually a way of life; he was early to the scene and became known as one of the leaders in renewable energy solutions in his later years. Gene loved his work, looking at each potential power plant or job as a complex problem that needed solving and an opportunity to build relationships. He understood the engineering and the science at the foundation of the work he led, and he had the people skills to make deals happen. Ask him about his work and you’d likely get a longwinded but enthusiastic response as Gene was truly passionate about his career and believed in the work he was doing, something he passed onto his kids as both his daughters found meaningful career paths as well. Gene’s career even overlapped with his love of travel, taking him to faraway Warsaw, Poland and Auckland, New Zealand, and providing adventures for his family during those years of working abroad.

In addition to his passion for work and family, Gene was particularly committed to community service, volunteering as a long-time Lunch Buddy at Redmond Elementary, convincing his family to spend the holidays putting care packages and gifts together for those living in nearby transitional housing, running a sailing ministry for the family’s church, and supporting his daughters’ philanthropic efforts for Union Gospel Mission and Ronald McDonald House.

In his final years, Gene was a devoted husband to Carol during their 47-year marriage, and he became her primary caretaker during the last two decades as Carol underwent treatment for cancer. Upon learning of his own diagnosis in mid-January, his immediate response was to fight it, having watched his wife’s inspiring strength and resilience over the last 17+ years. Though Gene never had a chance to undergo chemo, he was prepared to fight the disease that eventually took his life and was a long-time advocate of Carol’s treatment. In remembrance of Gene’s role as caretaker and his efforts to support cancer research over the years, his family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be directed to The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center of Seattle in his name.

A memorial service is planned in Gene’s honor on Saturday, March 25th at 2:00 pm at Holy Spirit Lutheran Church in Kirkland with a reception to follow. All family and friends of the Larson Baldwin Wickers families are invited to attend the service. The family welcomes you to sign the virtual guest book by sharing a favorite story about Gene. Whether you are able to attend the service or not, Gene’s family also invites you to honor him in some way that would have brought a smile to his face and have listed suggested activities that they think would honor Gene below.

Play a round of golf and invite someone with whom you can share a laugh.

Enjoy a really good glass of aged red wine or something pink and fizzy. Take the time to make a toast before your first sip.

Strike up a conversation with a stranger while waiting in line or sitting on a plane and maybe make a new friend.

Take your dog for a walk to a park and throw a ball or Frisbee for them.

The next time someone asks you for a favor, say yes. Lend a hand to someone who needs help (i.e. mowing their lawn, carrying groceries, moving, etc.) and pay Gene’s selflessness forward.

Put on your Sunday best and take a loved one to a nice dinner.

And above all, when inspiration strikes, go for the grand gesture, the big idea, the dream.

26 Responses to “Gene Larson”

  • Jordan Patashnik says:

    I knew Mr. Larson as I called him growing up with Jess. Gene and Carol were always so welcoming to me whenever Jess and I had sleepovers or play dates. (which was quite often) Being in the Larson household there was never a dull moment. It was always filled with so much love, laughter and warmth. Gene would always tell his hilarious “Dad jokes” and when we would wake up breakfast would always be ready for us. I remember Jess and I would always sit in red chairs and watch Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and eat Jelly Bellys and Popcorn and Gene would ask us if we wanted a different movie because it was the only one we would watch over and over together. Gene will surely be missed. I am forever thankful that Jess and I remain close friends 20+ years later and will cherish the fond memories I have forever. Love to everyone always!
    Love, Jordan

  • Frank Kelly says:

    Condolences and deepest sympathy to Gene’s family.

    I met and worked with Gene on a project in Poland in the late 1990s. While Gene and I were largely on “other side of the table”; Gene always brought the highest degrees of respect, integrity and honesty.

    May he RIP.

  • Erikka Hawkins says:

    I knew Gene for a couple years as I groomed his senior dog before she passed and then he got a puppy whom I also groomed. Gene was a very kind man and I enjoyed having conversations with him every time he brought his pup in. He will be greatly missed around the shop!

  • Meghan W says:

    I never had the opportunity to meet Gene in person, but I know his spirit, intelligence, joy, and character lives through his children. What a beautiful legacy and father. A blessing to all who came into contact with him, just like his daughter Jenni.

  • Tim Ellis says:

    A number of us worked with Gene on the TeMihi geothermal power station in Taupo, New Zealand from 2012-14, supporting his passion for renewable energy. It was a pleasure to work with Gene and he was a true gentleman of the industry. Our sincere condolences to his family and friends.

  • Patti Catalano says:

    We were lucky to know the Larsons as fellow Timberliners and our two oldest children were in class with Jenni and Jess. I was so saddened to hear about Gene’s passing. You’ve captured Gene’s love of life so well here. He and Carol were an integral part of Timberline and Redmond Elementary and it would be impossible to think back on our years here and not include them in some of those memories. One year Gene was our Santa who made a memorable visit to our house. Santa Gene told the kids maybe we would have snow for Christmas and the next day we had a blizzard – The Blizzard of 1990 – which is forever etched in our mind as THE Blizzard.

  • Abey Emmanuel says:

    I have known Gene for several years and we worked on quite a few projects. He was fun loving and very kind. May he RIP. May his family have peace and comfort in this time of need.
    God bless his soul

  • Steve & Chari Green says:

    Gene and Carol were our close neighbors in Timberline and our girls played together often and went to grade school together. Carol & Gene are such giving and caring people and would help anytime needed. Carol and I would stand at the bus stop together and had fun in pre-school carpools. Our girls had lots of sleepovers. I’m glad our girls reconnected and are still friends. Gene will be deeply missed. Gene made a great Timberline Santa and gave many smiles to many faces. Praying for you and your family during this time of loss. Hugs

  • Steven L Daniels says:

    Gene was a fellow engineering student, golf buddy, and college housemate. Sharing college life with six other “brothers” created a close fraternity that created life-long friends. Fifteen years later, we engineers became colleagues, working together designing and constructing power plants on four continents. Both of us were blessed with supportive and loving wives that helped us succeed in raising wonderful children while we were traveling the world. Numerous family outings were shared with wonderful food and good wine as common attractions. A consistent theme through all of this was Gene’s enthusiasm and passion for life. He was infectious with his desire to motivate and create the best outcome for those around him. I feel blessed to have shared his friendship and will miss him very much.
    —Steve Daniels

  • George Sayers says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about this news. Gene and I worked together in the UK, Poland and US over 20 years ago and we still kept in touch.

    One of the favourite guys in my career and always supportive and encouraging. I was hoping we’d get together in London over the past couple of years but it’s not to be. So Godspeed my old friend, I’ll miss you!

    Love to Carol and the girls and my sincere condolences to you all.

  • Greg Tardanico says:

    Having had the pleasure of working along side of Gene for many years, I (and many others) had the good fortune to share snippets of life.

    What always positively struck me was his zeal and passion for life, his unabashed love for Carol, his constant caring spirit for humanity and his insatiable curiosity.

    Gene was a positive influence and a gentleman…the ability to poke fun at himself yet be serious enough to command business.

    I will miss hearing his infectious laugh and stories.

    Rest in peace!

  • Paul Rood says:

    Dear Carol,

    Gene was a joy to know and work with. He was always enthusiastic, positive, optimistic, and cheerful. He was a high note in my career.

    With sympathy,

    Paul Rood

  • Raj Paul says:

    Heartbroken to hear this news! Deepest condolences, Carol & family!

    I had the opportunity to work with Gene for several years in US and projects internationally in Canada, Poland and New Zealand that Gene was directly or indirectly involved with. He was a gentleman, very knowledgeable, humble, kind and passionate in everything he did. He was always good to me!

    I especially remember our long drives from Auckland to project site at Taupo, New Zealand. The 4 hrs drive each way was full of stories.. adventures, sailboats, travels and a lot about his favorite subject, fantastic life with Carol! He would often repeat the story of ‘did I tell you about my gold tire lockets that I got made to memorialize how I met Carol at tire store?’ The drive back also involved stopping at unique family owned restaurants with ‘you have to try this! this is the best in the world!’ I met the very kind and lovely Carol In NZ for the first time. It was very clear to me within minutes what & why Gene meant by ‘She is my angel”

    A few months ago we caught up at the Rooneys bar in Woodinville for our Snc-Lavalin monthly meet ups. He was so full of life, positivity, cheerful as always! And yes, lots of old stories and happiness with Carol around! And we laughed about Gene shaving his beard years ago to craft EGL (Eugene Larson), but mirror reflection meant he actually crafted in reverse by mistake. I had no idea that it was going to be the last time I was going to see him!

    Rest in peace, my good old friend! The legacies of structures and powerplants we built together will be here for the years to come!

  • David Lund says:

    I echo all that is said about Gene’s kindness and good nature to all. In business Gene balanced the fast paced sometimes stressful environment while keeping close touch with everyones wellbeing. Gene’s positive optimism shined through representing the best of human kind. He taught me many lessons that business is personal and life being too short to let disruptions bother you. Gene certainly took every ounce of every day to seize the opportunity, and in some slight comfort to us all he didn’t waste our time together knowing it might be over sooner than you expect. We miss you pal, and I am blessed to have known and worked with you. You are always there in our thoughts. Love and deepest condolences to Carol and the Larson family. David Lund

  • Scott Hendy says:

    Gene was my roommate and one of the six other college friends sharing a house in Davis. Different backgrounds and majors it was incredible how close we all became sharing house chores, intramural sport teams, starting an annual trip to Shasta Lake on Memorial Day weekend, and life long friendships. We had a very special reunion of all 7 couples just this last June in Ashland.

    I’ll never forget that backpacking trip in college on the Feather River when Gene and Carol hiked in to join Steve and Leslie and Sandy and I. Carol had a very small day pack and Gene had a huge overloaded backpack with all the supplies for both of them, including a bottle of wine. That was when we first learned how special Carol was to Gene.

    Gene was an incredibly friendly and positive person who will truly be missed by many family, friends and acquaintances.

  • Greg & Patty Maciaszek says:

    We’re so sorry to hear of Genes passing he surely will be missed, sending our prayers to Carol, & the family.

  • Dave Rowe says:

    I’ve known Gene and Carol as down the street neighbors in Timberline. Lori and I moved here in December, 1983. In 1984 when Gene and Carol moved in, the primary builders of Timberline homes were the Buchan brothers. When they became less than 50% owners of all the properties, the homeowners association had to be taken over by homeowners. At our first homeowners meeting Gene and I became part of the group of 3 board members. Many decisions needed to be made regarding covenants, homeowner’s project approvals, and how the commen areas would be developed. Besides being neighbors Gene and I got together as the board to “manage” the Homeowner’s Association. Of course there was wine and snacks to sustain us. Over the years we would have chats as we were out for walks or driving by and Gene was out working on his landscaping, which was a frequent activity for Gene. He would have mounds of gravel, top soil, or mulch delivered; taking up most of his driveway. I was always amazed at how quickly those mounds disappeared. I remember a few times when Gene was out working in the front, he had water balloons in his wheel barrow or bucket. When someone would drive past too fast, Gene would throw a water balloon at their vehicle to remind them to slow down. I’m glad to have known Gene.

    I’d like to pass on a message to Carol and the family, or anyone that has lost a loved one.

    When I lost Lori to lung cancer in January, 2021, a few months later I heard a song by Willie Nelson. The name of it is “Something You Get Through”. The primary lyrics/message: It’s not something you get over, it’s something you get through.

  • Karen Lepere says:

    As the official Timberline Santa Claus, Gene made so many good memories for our kids. The first year he arrived, our oldest son, Andrew was in 2nd grade & beginning to question the veracity of Santa Claus; however, Gene changed that when he visited our house. Andrew heard the bells & knock, opened the door, & swirled around looking absolutely gobsmacked! His eyes were as big as saucers with his mouth agape—in that fleeting moment, all doubt had vanished. “It’s the real one!” — Gene & my eyes met , & I could tell he’d seen & heard Andrew’s utter joy. Nevertheless, Gene didn’t miss a beat. He belted out a “ho-ho-ho” as he moved into the living-room, sat down with our 3 kids, & asked about Christmas wishes. While our girls were in awe, Andrew could hardly contain himself— he was over the moon excited. Later, Gene shared his joy in seeing Andrew’s unabashed joy.

    Two years later, our youngest child, Elizabeth, was in Gene’s “dance” carpool along with Jessie & a couple of other girls from the neighborhood. Evidently, the girls had all had a recent visit from Santa & were sharing their experiences. Later, Carol related to me that Gene just drove along, listening, & chuckling to himself—she said he so enjoyed listening to their recounts. Every year we reminisce about those Santa visits. Gene brought so much joy to our home & gave us all such wonderful memories.

    I have say, when the Larson name is mentioned, Steve & I think of all good things. Whether in the neighborhood, at school, or a chance meeting at a local store, both Carol & Gene have radiated nothing but kindness in all the years we’ve known them. Our hearts are breaking for you all.

  • Ken Mercurio says:

    I met Gene when we became roommates at UC Davis, in the house with the five others who have remained friends. As is evident from the summary of his life, printed here, Gene was a giant of a man in every way. From the start, we appreciated his sense of humor and ability to lead interesting discussions on a wide range of topics. It was always fun to catch up with him and Carol during the annual houseboat trips on Lake Shasta, as our families grew.I was always amazed at how creative and devoted he was to his family and his jobs. On occasion, he would describe some of his business trips, and crack us up with how he would blend diplomacy and fun (his drinking stories!). Gene graciously entertained my sister-in-law’s son all day when my daughter got married at Snoqualmie Falls (children were not invited), and Nick said it was the most fun he’d ever had. I was glad we had our roommate reunions in 2019 and last June, so we could all catch up with Gene and Carol, to whom he was unequivocally devoted. I’m sure going to miss Gene. He was the best, always happy, generous, and fun. What a tragedy he has left us too soon.

  • Vickie Cozby says:

    Deepest condolences to Carol, their loved ones and family. Gene’s smile, laughter and that twinkle in his eye that seemed to always be there will be deeply missed by everyone that was blessed to know and have him in their lives. What a beautiful life and love story he lived…will cheers to being lucky enough to have known and work with him for so many years. Something fizzy in a rose-colored glass in honor of your positivity and cheerful nature ~ Rest in peace Gene!

  • Mark McClurkin says:

    Gene was always that helpful, optimistic, and generous character at work, who tirelessly moved things forward. But he also brought a youthful exuberance to the task. Gene is the older brother I never had, which by good fortune and chance came about when we both took an assignment in Warsaw almost 20 years ago. He and Carol instantly became an uncle and aunt to our 2 young daughters. His and Carol’s enthusiasm for our family is simply a reflection of how much they care and love their own. I could say that he will always be looking over my shoulder, but I prefer to think of him looking directly at me with his joyful, youthful and hopeful face.

  • John Hearst says:

    We had the honour and pleasure of working alongside Gene on a project in New Zealand. He was greatly admired and liked by all. A true gentleman.

  • Brent Brewder says:

    It was truly an honor to have had the opportunity to know Gene as a colleague and friend. He will truly be missed.

    I don’t remember all the places we traveled together but most memorable was Poland and New Zealand. I can’t think about those projects without seeing Gene’s smiling face.

    Gene’s enthusiasm and kindness made our work so much more enjoyable. His thoughtfulness regarding the people around him was felt by all. I know he had many friends all over the world that will be missing him.

    Gene knew how to live life to the fullest!

    My thoughts are with Carol and the kids in this moment. No matter where we were in the world, his thoughts were always with you. I’m sure he will continue to look on with pride and joy during your best of times and sitting by your side when you need him close.

  • Steve Morton says:

    My oldest and fondest memories of uncle Gene was letting the race car charge all night so we could drive it around the property in the mornings at grandma and grandpas house in Oregon. We’d put out food for the deer first thing and then a little while later we drove the car until the batteries died. Seth and Sarah both loved him too, we’re all gonna miss him.

  • Pramen and Sangeeta Singh says:

    Always a pleasure meeting and transporting him on his trips in New Zealand. He was a true gentleman so sad to hear of his demise. Will always be remembered. Rest in Peace

  • Keith Canedo says:

    I worked with Gene for many years but what I will always remember is his giving heart. As a volunteer supervisor for the Seattle Ronald McDonald House, whenever we had a need for the Family Meal Program, Gene would always step up.

    Together with Carol and others in the Larson family, gave of themselves by preparing and serving home cooked meals bringing comfort and support to hundreds of resident children, caregivers and families going through a difficult time.

    Thank you, Gene, for your leadership, joy, and compassion for others. You will inspire me for the rest of my life.

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