Cover photo for Gregory Larsen's Obituary
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Gregory

Gregory Larsen

d. February 15, 2024

Gregory James Larsen, age 71, passed away February 15, 2024 surrounded by his wife and children. He was born in 1952 to Bette (Williams) Larsen and Donald Frederick Larsen, Jr. in Green Bay.


Greg attended Wayland Academy, UW Green Bay and the University of Alabama/Tuscaloosa earning a degree in business with minors in economics and marketing.


He married Mary Elizabeth Smits at Old St. Joseph Church at St. Norbert College October 25, 1980. They made their lifelong home in De Pere where they had three wonderful children, Sarah, Alex and Jenny and enjoyed 43 years of marriage together.


Greg joined the Larsen Company in 1976 working in sales and marketing. As a fourth generation Larsen, he was proud to carry on the tradition started by his great grandfather William Larsen who founded the vegetable business in 1895. He enjoyed all aspects of the business, even the carrot tasting in the quality assurance lab. His promotion to National Vice President of Canned and Frozen Brands followed by Vice President of Sales Operations reflected his dedication and leadership within the company.


Beyond his professional endeavors, Greg was deeply involved in community service. He served as the President of On Broadway, Inc. during a transformative period, overseeing initiatives such as the establishment of the popular Wednesday Farmer's Market on Broadway and the redevelopment of the historic Larsen plant site into a vibrant social hub. He oversaw the acquisition of the 22-acre parcel at the heart of the district where the plant and offices were located, which was designated for retail, office and residential development. Because of his vision and his tireless efforts to improve the quality of life in the Broadway district, Greg was inducted into the national “Main Street” Hall of Fame. He also served as President of the Heritage Hill Foundation and President of the St. Mary's Hospital Foundation. He and Mary were supporters of the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra, YMCA, Botanical Gardens and National Railroad Museum.


Greg's passions extended beyond career and community. He was a superb cook, an expert skier, and voracious reader. He enjoyed tennis, swimming, biking, camping and other recreational activities with his children and grandchild. His most relaxing times were boating with the family and watching the birds and the sunsets at the cottage on the Bay. Greg had a special affinity for animals and the family had many dogs over the years. All were precious to him, whether they were purebreds or rescues that the kids brought home from college. They were all pampered and spoiled and showered with affection. He cherished walks with Mary and the pups, especially in the autumn. The kids called him a “dog whisperer” and frequently teased him that he should have been a veterinarian.


Despite his battle with Alzheimer's, Greg's spirit remained strong. He faced this challenge with courage and grace, inspired by the memory of his mother Bette Larsen and beloved brother Donald III (Ric) Larsen who also fought this disease. Also preceding him in death: his father Donald Larsen Jr., mother- and father-in-law Betty and Norval Smits, and beloved brother-in-law Sean Smits.


He is survived by his wife Mary, their children: Sarah, Jennifer and Alexander Larsen and precious granddaughter Skylar Elizabeth, truly the “apple of his eye.” 


He is further survived by brother Eric (Kathryn) Larsen, sister Shelly (Kent) Preston, brothers-in-law Michael (Susan) Smits and Patrick Smits, and other relatives, nieces and nephews and special lifelong friend, Joseph Morgan, who was always there for him and shared many adventures.


The family wishes to thank Greg's caregivers and hospice staff for treating him during his final days with compassion, dignity and respect.


Donations in Greg's name can be made to: On Broadway, Inc. or the Alzheimer's Association. Arrangements for a memorial service and burial to be finalized at a later date. The family is being assisted by Cotter Funeral Home of De Pere.


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Gregory Larsen, please visit our flower store.

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