Grant Larson

Freshman Sen. Grant Larson listens to discussion of a proposed bill in the Wyoming Legislature in 1994. He served 16 years, two as president of the senate.

Wyoming Sen. Grant C. Larson died Friday morning, Sept. 11, 2020, at his family home in Jackson. He was 87 years old.

Larson prepared the following himself, when he learned he was ill:

Sen. Larson was born on June 2, 1933, in Provo, Utah. He was the son of G. Clyde Larson and Afton Pack Larson. He moved with his family to Richfield, Utah, in the spring of 1937. The family spent many days at nearby Fishlake. Grant developed his love of fishing and the outdoors there. Although this was in the middle of the Great Depression, it was a very good time for Grant and his family.

With the outbreak of World War II the family moved to Salt Lake City, where both parents worked at the Remington Arms Factory. During this period Grant had a lot of unsupervised time and developed a very independent nature, which he held all through life. Brother David Larson was born in Salt Lake City in 1944, and brother Karl Larson was born in Salt Lake City in 1946. As a much older brother, Grant spent a lot of his time taking care of his brothers, especially David when he was a newborn, because both parents were working at that time.

As the end of the war approached the family moved back to Provo, where Grant finished school. In 1947 Grant made his first visit to Jackson Hole with his grandfather, E. Fred Pack, who owned the Teton Mercantile and who often took him on fishing excursions. Grant loved Jackson Hole, and in 1950 he got his chance to return when his family moved to Jackson to open the Silver Spur Cafe, which the family operated for nearly 20 years. After the death of his father in 1968, they sold the restaurant.

After graduating from Provo High School in 1951, he attended the University of Utah on a scholarship, where he pledged with Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and graduated in 1955. While at the university, Grant met the love of his life, Maralyn Holman, and they were married in 1954. At the time of his death, they had been married for 66 years. They had three children: Terry, Karin and Kevin.

After graduating from college, Grant entered the U.S. Air Force and became a pilot. He was stationed just outside Nashville, Tennessee, where he and Maralyn lived for several years. After being released from active duty, he continued flying with the Air Force Reserve out of Hill Air Force Base in Utah. He was called back to active duty in 1962 for the Cuban Missile Crisis. He remained on active duty for a while, but then decided to get back to Jackson and take care of his businesses. He had many hair-raising experiences while flying. He left the Air Force having earned the rank of captain.

Grant and wife Maralyn operated many successful businesses in Jackson over the years, including The Valley Shop, which was next to the old post office for over 20 years.

Like some other well-known Teton County politicians, Grant had a severe stuttering problem when he was young. It presented quite a problem for him, switching between so many schools because his family moved a lot. He finally overcame his stuttering, and his family often commented that once he learned how to talk without stuttering he didn’t ever shut up.

Sen. Larson was elected Teton County commissioner in 1992 and served two years. In 1994 he was elected to the Wyoming Senate, where he served for 16 years. He served as president of the Wyoming Senate in 2005 and 2006, and chaired many Senate committees. At the time of his death, Sen. Larson had devoted over 50 years of his life to public and community service.

Grant served on the board of directors of the Jackson State Bank for over 30 years, including a time as chairman of the board. He was president of the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club and Jackson Hole Golf and Tennis Club. He served 13 years on the Jackson Hole Airport Board and three years on the Wyoming Highway Commission. He was also a director of the U.S. Ski Association, the Jackson Hole Community Foundation and many other organizations. He always believed, as does Maralyn, that public service is the obligation of every citizen.

While in high school in Provo, Grant was an avid skier and ski racer. He won the Utah County Ski Championship two years in a row, and after high school he briefly helped manage a Provo Canyon ski area, then known as Timp Haven and now known as the Sundance Ski Resort. Grant later enjoyed being with his kids in their activities: Terry in ski racing, Kevin in football and Karin in her artistic abilities. He and Maralyn rarely missed a race or a ball game or one of Karin’s art exhibits.

Grant loved to travel. He and Maralyn took many trips in their motorhome. They travelled from Acadia, Maine, to the San Juan Islands of Washington on their motorhome trips. They even drove the entire 1,200 miles down the Baja to Cabo San Lucas on not-so-good roads. In addition, they travelled to Europe many times with friend Stan Klassen and his groups.

Grant had a great love of Jackson Hole and the outdoors. He spent many hours with family and friends on Jackson Lake and Lake Powell. He enjoyed golfing, fishing, hunting, skiing and snowmobiling. He took many fishing trips to Alaska and British Columbia with friends and family. He was most proud of the 8 pound, 14 ounce cutthroat he caught on the Snake River above Dornan’s.

Over the years, Grant and Maralyn owned vacation homes in Maui, Hawaii, Flathead Lake, Montana, and St. George, Utah, and a houseboat on Lake Powell. They spent many happy days together with friends and family at all of these retreats.

Grant was preceded in death by his parents, a sister Lucille and son Kevin. He is survived by his wife Maralyn, son Terry and his wife Jackie, and daughter Karin, all of Jackson. He is also survived by brothers David and his wife Judy of Jackson, and Karl and his wife EvaLee of St. George, Utah, and many nieces, nephews and grandnieces and grandnephews. And his and Maralyn’s beloved collie dog, Hollie.

Grant was buried at the Aspen Hill Cemetery on Tuesday, Sept. 15, following a graveside service attended by family and a few close friends. A celebration of life gathering will be held in Jackson in Grant’s honor at a future date.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Senior Center of Jackson Hole.

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