Per ‘the Bear’ Larsen took one last trip to dimensions unknown on November 22, 2014 after a brief, intense scuffle with cancer.
Born in White Plains, New York to Patricia and Harry Larsen, Per discovered the geographic love Per Trygve Irgens Larsen • December 10, 1953—November 22, 2014 of his life at age one when his parents built Spruce Setter, one of the first second-home ski lodges on Little Spruce, and he, along with brothers Rikk, Peik, Leif, and sister Siri, terrorized the skiers of Stowe. Rikk remembers 4-year-old Per defending his younger brother Leif as he barreled into a ski bunny (because he hadn’t yet learned to turn), confidently yelling, “Watch where you’re going, lady.” Per continued to express his love of skiing for 60 years, which, incidentally was the number of days he skied last year.
He was a force to be reckoned with on and off the slopes, racing through his school years and taking over the Matterhorn when bartenders ruled the booze ‘n’ cruise scene in the heyday of party days in Stowe. After graduating from Choate, Per matriculated at Hampshire College but the ski weekends stretched longer and longer until they were one continuous blur of powder and ice. In the late 70s Per became an official ski bum resident of Stowe and later Sugarbush; he loved to inspire timid skiers to black diamond intrepidness and challenge the most foolhardy into brash boozing silliness. He started Telemark Spruce Contracting, building his own home in Moscow in 1980 and commencing a life-long tradition of open hospitality, fabulous meals and celebrations there.
In 1992 Per met the true love of his life and married Debbi Kehoe a year later. Story has it that Bernard at Chez Henri pointed out Per and commanded Debbi to dance with him. She brought with her a love of travel, her own tradition of Open Easter Brunch, the Orphan’s Thanksgiving, stellar Christmas trees and the Kehoe Design and Sign business. Per embraced them all with a gusto that was unstoppable. Deb and Per’s license plates were an annual cipher to be puzzled out (each contained the ending of a word that began with ‘deb’ or ‘per’ as in per-fect, deb-auchery, per-vert, deb-onaire, per-missive…). Their pond was the BBQ place to be after Moscow's 4th of July parade.
Per’s larger than life persona extended to his generosity within the community. Per started the Zipper Open and Miguels-Den Golf Tournaments as fundraisers for the community; a plethora of arts, educational, library, animal and sports organizations benefitted from Per’s philanthropy through the years.
Per is survived by his four siblings, Rikk, Peik, and Leif Larsen and Siri Mortimer, 58 (and counting) nieces and nephews spanning three generations, a dozen inlaws, and one mother-in-law he nicknamed ‘Sweetheart.’ Add to this the innumerable friends that he considered family and you have one big Pappa Bear of a Per.
A Celebration of All Things Per will be held on December 10, 2014—Per Larsen’s final birthday celebration.