Former Snowbird Paul Larsen of Shelter Island Dies at 100

Paul Larsen
Paul Larsen

Paul Frederick Larsen died peacefully at San Simeon by the Sound in Greenport on November 18, three weeks after he celebrated his 100th birthday at home on Shelter Island with his family.

Larsen and his twin brother Peder were born October 27, 1922 to Louis Heckman Larsen and his wife Anna (Leek) at home in Caldwell, NJ, where the twins and their older brother Richard grew up. They were one of the earliest pairs of twins to earn the Eagle Scout rank in New Jersey.

They both matriculated to Tusculum College in Greenville, Tenn. With the outbreak of World War II, the twins left college to enlist with the U.S. Air Force in 1942 and received their wings as pilots at the same time.

The Air Force then separated the twins for the first time in their lives, sending Paul to the Pacific theater and Peder to the European theater.

Paul Larsen served in the South Pacific with the 6th Emergency Rescue Squadron of the Army Air Corps, flying air-sea rescue missions piloting a “Flying Boat” or PBY with rescue flights ranging from the Philippines to Japan and Korea.

One of his last flights was to take media photographers up and over Hiroshima and Nagasaki to photograph the devastation.

He returned to college after receiving his discharge from the Air Force in 1946, graduated in 1949 and joined the family insurance firm of P. Larsen & Sons in Montclair NJ. He became a realtor in Montclair and expanded the family business to include real estate sales.

On February 5, 1955, Larsen married Doris Clegg at Central Presbyterian Church in Montclair. They settled in Upper Montclair, where they raised three daughters. Larsen was an active member of the Optimist Club of Montclair for many years. He was an avid boater, nature enthusiast, tinkerer and craftsperson with many interests and talents.

His family had for several years during his youth rented vacation homes on Shelter Island. In the 1930s, his family purchased land and in the 1940s constructed their own vacation home on Menantic Creek. In 1963, Paul and Doris Larsen purchased their home on Menantic Creek next door to the Larsen family home.

Many happy years were spent boating around and on the beaches of Shelter Island. In 1990, they retired to Venice, Fla. and Shelter Island. In 2015, they moved permanently to Shelter Island to be closer to their daughters and their families.

Doris died five years ago at the age of 96.

Larsen was also predeceased by his brothers, Richard and Peder.

He is survived by his daughters Alice Deupree (Marvin) of Montclair and Shelter Island, Linda McCarthy (Peter) of Shelter Island, Suzan Newcomb (Mark) of Harwich Mass.; grandson Lucas Deupree; granddaughters Morgan McCarthy, Kenna McCarthy and Lindsay Newcomb; nephew Peder Larsen and his family of Shelter Island and niece Deborah Larsen of North Port, Fla.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Larsen’s memory may be made to the Shelter Island Ambulance Foundation. The DeFriest-Grattan Shelter Island Funeral Home is serving the family.

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