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Karl Gustave Adrian Larson, 80, of Aspen, Colo., chairman of HVACR wholesale distributor Gustave A. Larson Co., died March 4 in Palm Springs, Calif. He was born Jan. 11, 1932, in Madison, Wisconsin, to Gustave and Mildred Larson. He was president, CEO and then chairman of the Gustave A. Larson Co. from 1960 until 2012. Before that, Larson actively served in the United States Navy from 1955 until 1960, where he achieved the rank of Lieutenant Commander when he retired from the Naval Reserve in 1978.
Larson is survived by his wife M. Madeleine Larson of Aspen, Colo.; sons Arne G. Larson (Donna) of San Antonio, Andrew G. Larson (Amy) of Boulder, Colo., and Scott Karl Larson (Antonella) of Milwaukee; and grandchildren Lindsay and Kelsey (Arne and Donna), Kyle, Julia, Connor and Tyler (Andrew and Amy), and Stephanie, Samantha and Silvia (Scott and Antonella).
He was very engaged in charitable and industry boards being on the board of the Milwaukee Ballet, University of Colorado Engineering School Board, and deacon at First Congregational Church. He also was very supportive of medical research at the Cleveland Clinic, National Jewish in Denver, and CU Children’s Hospital. His contributions to the HVACR industry are countless, including his tenure as NHRAW Refrigeration Council chairman, regional trustee and president.
Larson was an outdoorsman and sports enthusiast - snow skiing, biking, golf, climbing and vintage car racing. His major accomplishments include being a varsity ski team letterman at the University of Colorado, completing many major ski marathons such as the Vasaloppet in Sweden and Birkebeiner in Norway, and climbing Capitol Peak in Colorado.
A memorial service to celebrate Larson’s life was held recently in Palm Desert, Calif. Future memorial services will be held in Aspen and Milwaukee (dates and times to be determined).
The family has requested that gifts in memory of Karl Larson be made to the University of Colorado Foundation, in lieu of flowers. Gifts will be used for the Karl Larson HVAC Research Fund. Its purpose is to provide support for students at CU Boulder doing research into heating, ventilation and air conditioning in the Larson Lab in the College of Engineering and Applied Science at CU Boulder.
Over the past 18 years, dozens of students have been beneficiaries of financial support through the Larson Family Fellowship and nearly 1,000 engineering students have passed through the Larson Lab on their paths to professional careers in the building industry.