Ted Larsen

signed by Phil Johnson

1928 - 2016

Pietisten lost a great friend when Ted Larsen died. Here are a few passages from his obituary in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, from June 14, 2016:

“Today we lost a giant of a man, who bestrode the narrow world like a Colossus. Loving husband, father and grandfather, inventor, idealist, veteran, founder of an entire industry, and accomplished jokester, Ted Larsen died of pneumonia and complications due to Alzheimer’s, in the early morning of June fifth at the age of 88, his suffering finally at an end.”

“Ted loved inventing, tinkering, and discussing ideas. All of his inventions were ideas to save lives and help people. As one of the founders of Detector Electronics Corporation, the products he invented pioneered the Optical Flame Detection industry, which has saved countless thousands of lives. Another one of his inventions revolutionized the Industrial Explosion Protection industry. He earned 38 patents.”

“[Ted’s] business activities took him around the world at least three times. His travels took him to London, Moscow, Beijing, Tokyo, Mumbai, Abu Dhabi, and dozens of offshore oil rigs in the North Sea. ‘Fires don’t have any borders,’ he said. His products are protecting assets including Air Force One, the Alaska Pipeline, and hundreds of industrial applications all around the world.

Detector Electronics was awarded the ‘E Award for Excellence in Exports,’ as well as the ‘E-Star Award for Excellence in Exports.’ Ted was named ‘World Trader of the Year.’ He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and the Korean Conflict.”

Ted befriended us at Pietisten. He and Dagmar regularly attended our Annual Meetings. At one such meeting in the home of Art and Barbara Bowman, Ted promptly pledged $200 per month for two years to hire a part-time secretary. Nobody had even been asked yet.

To think of Ted is to smile. “Hello, I’m Ted Larsen,” he’d say with hand outstretched. Exchanging greetings with him was a laugh. There are two especially important things I want to mention.

First, I refer you to Ted’s article “Federated Perspectives” in Pietisten published Christmas 2007. Please pull it up online. It is worth it and you will enjoy it.

Second, I want to tell you about my last meeting with Ted in Colonial Acres of Covenant Village. I found him sitting in his wheelchair, watching a documentary about a market in South America. I pulled up a chair beside him. Though suffering from dementia, as usual, “Hi. I’m Ted Larsen.”

We chatted softly for a short time and I said, “Wanna get out of here?”

“Let’s go!” he responded.

I wheeled him into the hallway where we found a nice spot. He reached into his shirt pocket and pulled out folded papers. It was a neatly typed copy of “The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe. Ted launched into a reading of “The Raven” like I have never heard. I can’t imagine it could be performed better. It took my breath away. Ted, our fine gentleman friend, began to wear down after a while not quite finishing the poem. No matter. I was dazzled.

Thank you, Ted. Rest in peace or action, your choice. Blessings upon all whom you loved.

Phil Johnson is Editor Emeritus of Pietisten.

See all articles by Phil Johnson