Melvin B. Larsen

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Melvin was born to Matilda and Ervin Larsen on June 12,1924. Raised with his two brothers, Eugene and Norman, on their family farm in Hampton, he was a vital member of the 1942 Nebraska High School State Championship basketball team. Upon joining the Navy, he was commissioned as an officer in the Civil Engineer Corps at Iowa State University. It was at ISU that he met the love of his life, Darlene Christensen. Mel was a member of the ISU track team, was an All-American long jumper and competed in sprint and hurdle events.
He earned both BS (1946) and MS (1962) degrees in Civil Engineering at ISU.
Professionally, he was a County Engineer for both Pocahontas and Henry Counties before becoming the Secondary Road Engineer for the Iowa Highway Commission in Ames, IA. He finished his career as the Bureau Chief for Local Roads and Streets in the Illinois Department of Transportation in Springfield, Illinois. Upon retirement, Mel and Darlene chose to return to Ames to join the Green Hills Community where Mel served on several boards. He also served through Rotary, the Methodist Church, and served his country as a Naval Engineer in WWII.
Mel will be remembered for his indomitable competitive spirit. His superhuman drive was an inspiration to many. In fact, he continued to compete in track and field through the Senior Olympics and Masters events until he was 91. Mel set national and world records for his age group in sprinting, hurdling, and the long jump, some of which still stand. He and Darlene enjoyed extensive travel together, believed in the power of education, were avid supporters of ISU, and deeply valued their family and their faith.
Melvin is survived by his children: Judith, Ron (Jane), Jacquelyn (Rob), Jennifer (Joe), Jenean (Mike), and Rick (Becky), 20 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by Darlene, his wife of 68 years, and their daughter, Julie Ann.

 

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