By Tom Hintgen
Otter Tail Coorespondant
Cal Larson, in January 1967, took the oath of office as one of two at-large State House members representing Otter Tail County. In those days he served with legendary public servants such as Sen. Cliff Ukkelberg of Clitherall and Rep. Henry Henning of Pelican Rapids.
Fast forward to 2021 and Larson, now 91, looks back on a very satisfying state legislative career and also a satisfying career in private industry in Fergus Falls, in the insurance business.
On Aug. 14 this year family members and friends honored Larson, one year after his 90th birthday celebration was delayed due to COVID-19. The event this year was held at Zion Lutheran Church at Franklin Lake near Pelican Rapids, not far from Larson’s summer home at Lake Crystal.
Larson served in the state House from 1967 to 1974. He reentered politics and served as state senator from 1986 to 2006.
In the mid-1960s Larson followed in the footsteps of the legendary Roy Dunn of Dunvilla who, after many years, chose not to seek reelection. In 1972 redistricting took place and Otter Tail County residents no longer were represented based on county lines.
In 1974 Larson started a 12-year hiatus from legislative duties to be closer to his wife Loretta and their two children, Laura and Peder.
After the two children graduated from high school and college he successfully ran for the State Senate in 1986.
The Badger native, Concordia College graduate and U.S. Navy veteran supported a bonding bill that led to the establishment of the Minnesota Veterans Home in Fergus Falls. He gave wholehearted support to Maplewood State Park east of Pelican Rapids and Glendalough State Park near Battle Lake.
“In the 1960s, I served with some great public servants,” Larson said. “Those lawmakers helped me mold a philosophy of doing what you think is in the best interest of your constituents and don’t worry about political repercussions.”