William Burton Larsen

June 11, 1948September 7, 2021
Obituary of William Burton Larsen
“It all comes down to this, whatever you do to help others is all that really matters.” - William B. Larsen while writing his own obituary. William Burton Francis Larsen was born on June 11th, 1948. Grace and Burton Larsen were his mother and father. Valeska and James McManus and Emily and Bernard Larsen were his grandparents. His family instilled a strong work ethic. Bill (known to many as LB, BL, Larsen, Doc or even Dr.) graduated in 1966 from Valley Stream Central High School, a place filled with friends and experiences he loved. He graduated in 1970 from the University of Notre Dame with a degree in Government. The Golden Dome lit up his life. While at ND, it was suggested that he try education and student teaching. His student teaching experience at John Marshall Middle School in South Bend, Indiana was the spark that ignited his amazing 51-year teaching career – a career that ‘blew wide open’ windows of learning for thousands of students. He taught high school in Uniondale, NY for 20 years and went to the University of Tennessee to earn his PhD in English and Film. He taught for 31 years at UT. It took him a lifetime to realize how much he loved to teach. “Do what you love and you’ll love what you do”… As a senior at Notre Dame, for the first time in his life he was able to get closer to his brother, Paul – one of the funniest people he ever knew. He had cousins of Irish ancestry – Murphy, McLoughlin, McManus – two [Michael and John Murphy] with whom he shared some great times – just not enough! He is survived by his sister and best friend, Nancy – the kindest, most caring person he ever knew and two beautiful and accomplished nieces, Claire Andreas (Architect) and Jane Larsen (French and ESL Teacher). To all of his colleagues throughout his 51-year teaching career: “Thanks for the memory.” To all of the thousands of students who learned from him and shared their lives with him: “You must be the best judge of your own happiness.” - Emma To all of the many people from all walks of life who have been a wonderful part of his life: ”Friendship is everything. Friendship is more than talent. It is more than the government. It is almost the equal of family.”- Don Corleone It was Bill’s request to not have traditional services or a celebration of life. For those who wish to honor Bill, remember him in Catholic Mass, light a virtual candle at St Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC, wear the color blue on his birthday or consider a donation to Friends of the Smokies. Condolences and memories can be shared at or mailed to Berry Highland Memorial, 5315 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37919 for delivery to the family. The family especially asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Bill's name to either of the following: Paulist Fathers Office of Mission Advancement, 415 West 59th Street, New York, NY 10019. Phone: 212-586-2074. Website: Click on Make a Donation – in memory of Dr. William Larsen. Cinema Studies Enrichment Fund (CINEM) S010020957. Please note on the check that the donation is a gift in memory of Dr. William Larsen. Make check payable to UT Foundation and mail check to: UT Foundation, 137 Alumni Memorial Building, 1408 Middle Drive, Knoxville, TN 37996. Tears express our sadness in losing his physical presence in our lives. He would want to be remembered with joy and laughter and a little exasperation thrown in because he could be such a skutch. He would want you to go see a movie or read a book and escape into the world of that medium to realize the many life lessons they present. He would want you to take what you learned from him and pass it on to others, see opening phrase, repeat. End scene, with love.

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