Dr. Erik Larsen's life spanned over nine decades.
He emigrated from Denmark in 1924.
Despite economic hardships, he put himself through medical school and became a surgeon, serving on the front lines and in the first M.A.S.H. unit in Korea.
Erik donated his time and medical services to the community. He was bestowed the Ridder of Dannebrog, Danish Knighthood, by the King of Denmark in 1971 for his services to the members of the Danish Home in Chicago.
Erik Larsen was a remarkable man with a remarkable history.
Erik Larsen's Obituary, written by Theresa Larsen:
Erik Larsen, M.D., F.A.C.S.
April 8, 1922-June 6, 2016
Sixty-five years ago Captain Erik Larsen crouched in a rice paddy in North Korea and contemplated the end of his life. This was after his infantry was ordered to fall back when they were overrun by Chinese and North Korean soldiers. Following orders, Erik barely survived a landmine explosion in his jeep, a scramble down a steep ravine, and a dangerous swim across a river, all while dodging bullets. At that moment, on May 18, 1951, Erik was sure that he would die. As he said the Lord’s Prayer two thoughts entered his mind; one-what would happen to his family, his wife and young daughter; two-after many years of wondering about death he would finally know the truth about everything. On June 6, 2016 Erik Larsen, age 94, of Amelia Island, FL passed from this realm of existence into the uncharted; he now knows everything there is to know.
He is proceeded in death by his parents, Chris and Esther Larsen; his wife of 43 years, Ilse; his brothers, Kaj and Paul; and a multitude of aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, colleagues, and dogs; all of whom he loved dearly.
Erik is survived by his wife of 27 years, Lynda; his children, Candace, Pamela, and Richard; step-children, Cheryl and Jeanette; grandchildren, Jennifer, Christopher, Alexander, and Kimberly; and step-grandchildren, Andrew, Megan, Daniel, Henry, Joey, and Ava.
Erik Larsen was a Danish immigrant who arrived in the United States at the age of two. He knew that to get ahead in life he had to push for what he wanted and he did just that. With a great deal of work he put himself through college and medical school, always with a goal of helping others. He served the United States in the Korean War as a surgeon on the front lines and in the first M.A.S.H. unit where he received a combat medical badge and a purple heart. After the war he continued to assist those around him throughout his life, obtaining an F.A.C.S. (Fellow of the American College of Surgeons) in 1958 and a knighthood, the Ridder of Dannebrog, from the King of Denmark for services to the Danish community in Chicago, IL. As a general surgeon Erik did everything from open heart massage, circumcisions, and delivering babies, to amputations, appendectomies, and radical mastectomies; all while placing the welfare of his patients above any other consideration.
Erik’s favorite things were his red Porsche, his piano, bicycling, golf, and boating-not necessarily in that order. His only regret in life was never receiving his Eagle Scout badge. He earned all the merit badges required for this honor, but his scout master was drafted into WWII and the program was suspended. All of Erik’s paperwork and merit badge information were lost. He never received the Eagle Scout award that he worked hard for, but the values and skills he learned in the program stayed with him for a lifetime.
Erik always followed his dreams and never compromised his integrity. He died from congestive heart failure. Erik would say he had a bad heart, but those who knew him would say his heart was good in more ways than one.