Hugh D. "Spike" Larsen, 81, Richardton, died Monday, Jan. 26, 2009 at Innovis Hospital, Fargo. Services for Spike will be held at a later date, closer to a date in April. His wishes were for cremation, and then to be inurned at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery, Mandan.

Hugh D. Larsen was born in Lakota, on July 29, 1927 to Alpha (Wattenford) and Daniel Larsen. He was the eldest of four children. Two sisters, Betty and Ramona came next with baby Harry coming along when he was ten. He was 16 when he joined the navy, and was on a ship heading for Japan when WWII was called off. He was proud to serve and be active in the veteran affairs in Richardton. He was a carpenter all his career life in and near Dickinson. He was a third-generation carpenter with his craft which dates back to Denmark, and every piece he turned out was a hand-made work of art. He would finish a job and make a final visit to get paid then return home laughing, saying his customer remarked, "Oh here comes Bob Hope to get his check." He instilled in his four children Laurelee, Hugh Donovan, David Daniel and Gwinette, a good work ethic; and his witty sense of humor was appreciated by all around him.

Hugh's childhood faith was Seventh Day Adventist. His grandfather in Denmark put the four sons Daniel (Hugh's father), Lawrence, Dave and George on a ship here to America to avoid military service. They never saw him again. In his younger adult years, as head elder in the church in Dickinson, he often preached on Sabbath morning. He also taught many Bible study classes. One of his favorite topics was prophecy and the book of Daniel. Hugh was also gifted in music. He wore his harmonica and played the piano. He was blessed with perfect pitch. After only four lessons, he could play Tchaikovsky. He could also memorize the sheet music and set it aside. Hymns could often be heard on the piano in the living room on Sabbath afternoon. Ramona recounts that the first thing he asked her for, upon entering St. Catherine's Nursing Home in Wahpeton, a few months back, was a Bible.

Many of the families Hugh built houses for became his very close friends, and they stepped in to become his extended family. They also provided critical assistance to him as he got older.

Hugh leaves behind his sister Ramona Lang, who with her husband Jerome, lives in Lincoln, Neb.; Sister Betty and his brother Harry preceded him in death. Daughter Laurelee Kay Rose lives in Portland, Ore.; son Hugh Donovan Larsen lives in Smithsburg, Md.; son David Daniel Larsen lives in Tacoma, Wash. and daughter Gwinette Debra Larsen lives in Kalispell, Mont. Former wife Marilyn Jean Roller lives in College Place, Wash. Bernie and Jim Staudinger and family live in Taylor and many close friends he leaves behind in Richardton.

So, many thanks to Jerome and Ramona Lang for providing critical assistance in Hugh's time of need, and to the Veterans Administration who really went the extra mile to care for him.

Arrangements are with Ladbury Funeral Service, Dickinson, www.ladburyfuneralservice.com.