Teacher, traveler and author: Virginia Larsen dies at 81

Published 8:16 am Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Virginia Larsen, professor emeritus from Riverland Community College, told an Austin Daily Herald reporter that for much of her life, she always considered herself an introvert.

Virginia Larsen

However, as friends – and she had many — would tell you, she was never withdrawn.

Like a force field, Larsen, 81, drew people to her and she loved nothing better than to listen to the stories of her fellow humans, and loved, as much, a string of animals over her lifetime.

Email newsletter signup

Larsen died Saturday of a relentless cancer. But before she died, she was able to write two books, “The Book of Lurch,” and “Saving Grace,” and was in the midst of finishing another, which included recollections of the people and animals she had befriended over the years.

Born in a small North Dakota town, Larsen could not wait to travel the world, which she found ways to do throughout the years. Her taste for the wider world, she said, “was insatiable.”

Language was always Larsen’s gift. She spent 27 years teaching French, German and speech; before then, she taught in North Dakota and in Germany.

A fellow professor emeritus, Sue Grove, remembers Larsen as “being intellilgent and quirky from the very start,” she said. “I ended up following in her footsteps at Riverland — teaching French and speech as she had.” Grove recalled attending weekly coffees, when Larsen would always bring something unusual for “show and tell.”

“Whatever the item was, we all left with a smile or a good laugh,” Grove added.

“It is really hard to believe she is gone,” Grove said, but added, “Never forgotten.”

Read Virginia Larsen’s obituary here: https://www.austindailyherald.com/2018/05/virginia-claire-larsen-81/