After an unyielding and courageous battle with pancreatic cancer for nearly seven years, our beloved husband, father, and grandpa Steven Earl Larson passed peacefully into heaven on Thursday, February 18 with his sweetheart Ann Marie by his side. He was neither defined nor deterred by this disease and never gave up his “be positive” attitude. Instead, he stayed focused on his faith in Jesus Christ and his love for his eternal companion Ann Marie and his family.
Steve was born in August 1956 and raised in Murray, Utah to his hard-working, loving parents Floyd and Earlene as the oldest of three children. His brother Michael and sister Karen definitely knew more than a little about what a tease he was. He loved to ride his bike around town and up the canyons, play baseball, football, and the trumpet, and worked full-time to save money for college. He graduated from Cottonwood High School in 1974 and went on to earn a Metallurgical Engineering degree from the University of Utah. He remained an enthusiastic, loyal Ute fan throughout his life and could often be seen wearing a red shirt and hat. One time he had the chance to win tickets to a certain rivalry game, but lost out when he couldn’t remember the Utah fight song. Oh well, go Utes!
From a ‘65 Ford Galaxy, to a ‘17 Jeep Wrangler, cars were his favorite hobby. He had a knack for engines, could fix almost anything, and we loved his ability to diagnose issues with a simple description or drive around the neighborhood. He not only enjoyed racing (as a participant and spectator), 150-foot burnouts, off-roading, and donuts, but also calm Sunday drives in the canyons. Combined with his love of loud music, you could often find him rocking out to The Beatles in the garage. He restored a ‘37 Plymouth and painted it red (obviously) and later rebuilt a ‘39 Chevy on a ‘63 Corvette frame—because he was more of a hot rod guy than a muscle car guy—and painted it red too.
One of his first jobs was working at Smith’s Food King as a checker. That’s where a certain beautiful, young woman caught his eye. On their first date, he took Ann Marie up Emigration Canyon and in his eager pursuit to impress her, he got stuck in the snow. But, he must have made a big impression as they were married in August 1978 and were later sealed for time and all eternity in the Salt Lake Temple, on a record-breaking hot September day. Whether it was a soap note on the mirror, a bouquet of beautiful flowers, a night out at Desert Star, or a trip to Tuacahn in St. George, they constantly surprised one another with gestures large and small to show their love and devotion. They made Friday night date nights and visits to the temple a top priority. He liked to say, “happy wife, happy life” and while he wasn’t perfect, he showed perfect love and bravely fought cancer, just to spend a little more time with her. When faced with a difficult surgery decision he once said, “If it can give me more time with my sweetheart, I’ll do it.”
As a father, he was a perfect blend of strength, humor, and tenderness, with the uncanny ability to make his children never want to disappoint him. We laughed and loved a lot through our adventures to the cabin that he helped build alongside his in-laws. His kids have unique memories of personal time with him that speak to how he treated each relationship with a different, specific approach. With Ashley, he bonded through oldest child personality traits, including being a tease, a gentle, steadfast leader, and a peacemaker. Through Lindsey, he learned patience and as her biggest supporter always encouraged her to pursue her passions. As the only son, Justin pushed the limits of adventure and brought out his fun side with many “I’ve been wantin’ to see that” moments. With his Haley Bear, he loved to watch airplanes fly overhead and teach her all about cars and classic rock. He encouraged all of them to keep up their grades and “keep up the good works.” They all share a love of Dad jokes, perfectly-timed puns, the importance of an education, fishing, boating, enjoying Star Wars, and finding a testimony of Jesus Christ. He also loved each of their spouses as his own kids and showed them the same love and kindness.
As a grandpa, he was a little more relaxed, but his devotion was the same. Whether it was driving the grandkids around in the dune buggy, making them laugh with his duck noises, or just a chance to talk one-on-one and get a hug; nothing brought him more joy than spending time with them.
Throughout the years, there were tough times with jobs, but he always did what he needed to do to provide for his family from trapping muskrats to hauling rocks on the side to make ends meet. With each new pregnancy came a job loss and new challenges and adventures—including a two-year stint in Alabama building solid rocket boosters for a NASA contractor. He took great pride (and good humor) in being a real life rocket scientist and found his favorite job at Lockheed Martin over 25 years ago. It was there that he had some of the fondest memories and most cherished relationships. Even though he lived far away, he didn’t mind the drive to enjoy the associations and sense of accomplishment. As his family, we will be forever grateful to his work family who not only saved his life several times but valued his contributions, cared for him, and continued to reach out to him throughout his illness. His work there may have been top-secret, but his love and admiration for each of you was not.
As a covenant-keeper, he accepted many callings in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including bishop of the Riverton 12th Ward from 2001 to 2006. He always spoke of that sacred responsibility with love and great reverence. He thoroughly enjoyed the interviews with 8-year old children who were going to be baptized because he loved their sweet testimonies, faith, and watching them take that first step back to their Heavenly Father. Another favorite calling was in the Jordan River Temple. The loss of his beloved mustache was a worthy sacrifice for serving the Lord in the baptistry and he often spoke of sacred experiences and tender mercies there. He accepted callings with an eager heart, always willing to go where the Lord wanted him to go—even if he didn’t get his dream calling in nursery. His granddaughter once asked him how he would like to be remembered, he simply, but profoundly replied, “for his testimony of Jesus Christ”. As he reflected near the end of his mortal journey, he happily expressed, “It’s ok. I’ll just go do missionary work!” on the other side of the veil—where we know he will bring many souls to their Savior.
His family would like to express their heartfelt gratitude for the many healthcare workers who have watched over him with such care and devotion. Dr. Devenport, Bonnie, Dr. Stinnett, Dr. Ott, Dr. Z, Dr. Nibley, Anita, Dr. Curtis, Utah Cancer Specialists, and Symbii Hospice, because of your great effort, experience, and care, we have witnessed many miracles.
Last year he lost both of his sweet parents Floyd and Earlene Larson and was also preceded in death by his brother Michael and father-in-law Keith. He is survived by his sweetheart of forever, Ann Marie; his children, Ashley (Shane), Lindsey (Brett), Justin (Tracee), and Haley (Kelsey); 10 grandchildren (with one on the way); his sister Karen (Matthew); his mother-in-law Yvonne; brother-in-law Frank (Heidi); and sister-in-law Jodie (John).
There will be an in-person service for immediate family on Tuesday, February 23 at noon. Extended family and friends may join via Zoom (webinar ID: 935 4987 7324 https://zoom.us/j/93549877324) and are invited to attend the graveside dedication at 1:30 PM at Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park South Valley, 13001 South 3600 West Riverton, Utah.
You’re our rock and our hero. We love you forever and always. Until we meet again.
Life Story Info
My greatest sympathy to Steve's family during this time of grief. I worked with Steve for many years at ATK, when he worked for Lockheed and I worked for the Navy Office. Steve was one of the nicest guys and always said hello to me. His quiet demeanor and expertise in the rocket motor world will be greatly missed. I am so sorry to hear of his passing.
This is a sad day but I feel so blessed to have had Steve in my life. We worked together at Lockheed Martin for many years. He had a natural talent for engineering and I admired him for that. We spent many hours talking about life in general. It is fortunate to have a friend and coworker such as Steve at your side. He will be missed but never never forgotten.
Thank you Steve, for everything you have done for all of us.
Steve was a wonderful person to know and work with. I enjoyed the talks I had with him whether it was work issues or cars. Steve was always enthusiastic about everything he did and had a great sense of humor. I was always amazed how he could build hot rods, add an extra garage, go fishing with his family as well as other family outings , and still have a day job. I will miss him. Ann and family, Iris and I are deeply sorry for the loss. You will always be in our thoughts and prayers.
Steve was a great friend and mentor. There was always something new to learn from him. He loved to share his experience and knowledge and was one of the most humble and kind hearted people I’ve known. He loved to say “you fly, I’ll buy” for donuts and loved to share with others. I’ll always remember his B+ attitude - I don’t know that I’ve met a more positive person in the face of difficult trials. We’ll miss you Steve!
We are so sorry for your loss. We loved him and we love your family. He was Jeff’s favorite home teaching partner, and he enjoyed his sense of humor. We were blessed to be your neighbors for many years! We watched him build the third car garage and work on his cars. He always had a friendly smile. We offer our deepest condolences.
I had the honor of working with Steve for a very short time, but even then, his kindness and expertise left their mark. As a brand new engineer, his knowledge and willingness to answer any and all questions with patience and understanding was extremely helpful. We will all miss his positive attitude, humble nature, and lightheartedness. Sending love and prayers y’all’s way. -Kelsea
Steve was a great man and friend and I will miss him. Over the 22 years I knew him we had many great conversations and laughs (and lunches!). I worked with Steve for 20 years making rocket motors. He was a respected expert in his field yet maintained a humble spirit. I learned much from him. He was an incredible example of a godly man in all aspects of his life. I am blessed to have called him a friend. Another really cool thing he did for me was to introduce me to the sport of drag racing. July 2009 he invited me to join him at Rocky Mountain Raceway for a Nitro event...I have been hooked ever since. Ann and family, you are continually in my prayers. -Craig
Steven and I were one of many Steves who worked on the Trident 2 missile system for decades. I will miss this truly great man. A true gentleman, kind supportive friend, fantastic coworker and courageous in difficult times. He taught us all a great deal about what really matters in life. He returned to work many times throughout the 7 year bout with cancer amazing all of us with his positive attitude and desire to continue supporting his wife and family. Most of us would have thrown in the towel or given up taking the easy way out. Steve demonstrated his great love for family and friends by clinging to life. He lived life to the fullest. He blessed all who knew and interacted with him. -Sarge
What a beautiful tribute for Steve! He will be greatly missed. His example and dedication to the gospel will be remembered always in our lives. We love you all and pray that your lives will be enriched by the precious memories of your quality time with Steve. So grateful for your friendships and the love you always show to us. God bless you all at this time. What a tender legacy of faith.
Dear Ann and Family,
We are deeply saddened to hear of Steve's passing. He was such a gentle and kind person who had an amazing gift for uplifting others. We're indeed grateful for the memories we have of Steve, and for his influence in our lives. May god bless each of you and comfort you during these trying times. Your in our thoughts and prayers.
Steve and Ann Larson are two of the nicest people you could ever be acquainted with.
We have been fortunate to be able to "rub shoulders" with them for many years
and we have loved having them as part of our "family." Our only son is married to Lindsey.
We will miss you Steve, but know that you will be doing many important things on the other side as well as watching over your family.
Until we all meet again, we will think of you often and follow your example. We will be there for Ann and the rest of your family whenever needed. "Well done my faithful son."
With Love, The Hortin's