Ray B. Larson

Born: Wed., Nov. 7, 1923
Died: Thu., Feb. 26, 2015


Visitation

3:00 PM to 7:00 PM, Fri., Mar. 06, 2015
Location: Cleveland Rd. Location


Funeral Service

11:00 AM Sat., Mar. 07, 2015
Location: Cleveland Rd. Location


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Music by The Piano Brothers


Ray B. Larson

November 7, 1923 – February 26, 2015

I left this life on February 26, 2015 and embarked on my final great adventure. I’ve had my share of adventures…living with the head hunters, walking with grizzlies, and visiting the mountain gorillas, not to mention 94 combat missions as a fighter pilot in WWII.

 

Along with my wife, Margaret (“Peg”) Larson, I leave one sister, Elizabeth (Tom) Walters of Newport News, VA; five children: Roger Larson of Vero Beach, FL, Steve (Sharon) Larson of Westcliffe, CO, Carol Bell of Morgantown, IN, Katherine Larson of Dexter, MI, and Linda (Ron) Witchie of Granger, IN; eight grandchildren: Nikki Larson of Sturgis, KY, Julie (Kevin) Stewart of Fishers, IN, Sarah (Derek) Clifford of Nashville, IN, Emily (Matthew) Thompson of Juneau, AK, David Bell of Vestaburg, MI, Elizabeth (Tyler) Cragg of Marquette, MI, Austin & Blake Witchie of Granger, IN; and 7 great-grandchildren to carry on my name and hope for the future. My extended family includes four daughters and their husbands: Jenny (Al), Meg (Tim), Becky (Dave), Amy (Mike), and eight grandchildren: John (Ali), Mariah, Sarah, Charlotte, Kevin, Alison, Leah and Clarke, who have been a wonderful addition to my family and a great source of enjoyment for me.

 

I was born in Chicago on November 7, 1923, and moved with my parents to Elkhart in 1926. I graduated from Elkhart High School in 1941, entered Purdue as an engineering student and enlisted in the Army Air Corps the day after Pearl Harbor. I served in the pacific theater and took part in 5 major landings.

 

At the end of the war I went back to finish Purdue and married Ruth Anne (“Fran”) Sears in 1947. In 1948 I became a management trainee with RR Donnelley in Chicago.

 

I joined Lamport Fox Ad Agency in South Bend in 1952. In 3 years I became VP of Business Development. Then Dr. Scholl asked me to introduce duct tape to the world.

 

In 1957, 3 investors asked me to start Wells Electronics. Over the next 10 years we started 4 more successful companies: Syscon International, Dynablast, Weltek International and Wells Plastics of California. I hold two U.S. patents.

 

In 1974 I co-chaired the fund drive to raise $14,000,000 for the construction of Century Center. I have also served on the boards of: South Bend Chamber of Commerce, Community Foundation of St. Joseph County, Junior Achievement, United Way, Michiana Regional Museum of Art, South Bend Symphony Orchestra, IUSB Foundation, Friends of Snite Museum of Art, Project Future, Crime Stoppers, Fernwood Endowment Committee, Logan Industries, and The Business Development Corporation.

 

As Chairman of Wells Electronics in 1983 I retired to spend time with Fran who was dying of cancer. After her death I became a management consultant serving more than 100 start-up companies in the following 29 years. I enjoyed mentoring local companies and small business start ups.

 

In 1987 I was lucky enough to find Peg Clarke and married her in 1988. In our 27 years together, we have traveled the world and sailed on many seas. My “bucket list” is empty. It’s been a great ride with lots of unbelievable experiences.

 

A funeral service will be held at 11 AM on Saturday, March 7th at Welsheimer Family Funeral Home, 17033 Cleveland Road, South Bend, IN. Visitation will be from 3 to 7 on Friday, March 6th in the funeral home.

 

In lieu of flowers, a memorial donation may be made to The South Bend Symphony, 127 N. Michigan St., South Bend, IN, 46601, The Community Foundation of St. Joseph County, P.O. Box 837, South Bend, IN, 46624 or Fernwood Botanical Gardens, 13988 Range Line Rd., Niles, MI, 49120. Family and friends may leave e-mail condolences at www.welsheimer.com.

 

 

Charitable donations may be made in Ray's memory to the following organizations:

Fernwood Botanical Gardens
13988 Range Line Road, Niles, MI, 49120

The Community Foundation of St. Joseph County
P.O. Box 837, South Bend, IN, 46624

The South Bend Symphony
127 N. Michigan St., South Bend, IN, 46601

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Condolence Booklet

Allen Kester Jr.
   Posted Sun March 01, 2015
Rest in peace Ray. It was great knowing you. We had many good times together back in the 1950's. You will be missed by many. My condolences to your families.

Curt and Debbie Miles
   Posted Mon March 02, 2015
My short time of knowing Ray was filled with good times while I worked on his pool and many other assorted jobs around his home. He was a wealth of information and always had something positive to add to my work techniques. I will truly miss his wit and his unique way of calling Peg when he needed her. Debbie's and my condolences to you Peg and to your family on the passing of Ray.

Millie Walters
   Posted Wed March 04, 2015
Dear Peg, Steve, Roger, Carol, Katherine,and Linda
My deepest sympathies to you in the passing of Uncle Ray. I admired that Uncle Ray never let anything stand in his way, he pursued his dreams and got to see many great places. I will never forget the stories of all the sailing adventures Peg and Ray had with my Mom and Dad. I am thankful to have heard the stories. The last time I had the pleasure to see Uncle Ray was a family gathering in VA. I am sorry I will not be able to attend the funeral service. You all are in my thoughts and prayers.

Don and Martha Ryman
   Posted Wed March 04, 2015
To the family of Ray Larsen: We send all of you our deepest sympathy for your loss. Please know you are in our thoughts, as is Ray.
Don and Martha Ryman.

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