James Larsen ’60

Jim was born August 9, 1937 to Walter and Hazel (Schoenberg) Larsen. He grew up with them and his sister, Linda, in Muskegon Heights, Michigan. They have all preceded him in death.

On August 14, 1957 he married his BMW (beautiful, magnificent wife) Mary Jean (Rokos). He earned a B.A. from Hope College then he and Mary Jean moved to Dubuque, lowa where he attended Wartburg Seminary. He earned a Masters of Divinity plus they welcomed their first child, Jeanine. Jim pastored Trinity Lutheran Church in New Era, Michigan and the family welcomed their second daughter, Karen. Four years later they moved north and Jim pastored Evangelical Lutheran Church in East Jordan.

In 1971 he left the pastorate for health reasons and the family moved to Boyne City where they remain. God restored Jim’s health and he helped found the Family of Christ Church in Petoskey in 1974 and he pastored there until his retirement. While he didn’t consider himself a visionary he had a heart for those who were suffering in body, soul or spirit. He came alongside the visionaries giving his time and talent to help establish and serve the following: Hospice of Petoskey (now McLaren Home Medical Group), Hospital chaplaincy (now Northern Chaplain Services), Nehemiah Homeless Shelter and The Bridge Petoskey.

He and Mary Jean also raised their third child, Jamie, as older parents. Jim was a jolly fellow famous, or perhaps infamous, for his Ole and Sven jokes. He was called a “pastor’s pastor” for his compassion and willingness to walk with people through both times of joy and sorrow. His favorite phrase was “Let’s see what God’s gonna do.” He didn’t have hobbies but he enjoyed visiting with people, playing cribbage and taking his grandson to the park to fish or feed French fries to the sea gulls.

He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Mary Jean, daughters Jeanine Larsen and Karen Larsen, Karen’s husband Bill Burgher, daughter-in-law Haley and grandson Aiden Larsen. Also surviving are nephew Kris Skelton and family of Salt Lake City and niece Laura Kendall and family of Denver. He was preceded in death ten months ago by his son and namesake, Jamie. The family would like to thank Dr. Shaw and the dialysis staff at the Kircher Dialysis Unit for their care over the past five years, as well as his faithful team of transporters.

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