Austin Larsen

November 1, 1923August 28, 2013


Austin Ellis Larsen, age 89, passed away August 28, 2013 in Salt Lake City, Utah from an extended illness. He was born November 1, 1923 in Vineyard, Utah to Ariel Ellis and Vera Austin Larsen. He was raised on a modest farm where, as the eldest of five siblings, he started working at the age of five.

Austin realized early on that education was the way to a successful and fulfilling future and credited his education for being able to attain what success he enjoyed in life. After graduating from high school in 1941 he attended BYU for two years and it was then that he decided to become a veterinarian. He transferred to Washington State University where he received his B.S. and ultimately his D.V.M. in 1949. He then returned to Utah where he set up a large and small animal practice in Kaysville, Utah and continued his education at the University of Utah, receiving an M.S. degree in 1956 and a Ph.D. in Microbiology in 1969. Because of his strong belief in education, Austin decided to become a Benefactor of Washington State University in 1998 as well as establishing the “Dr. Austin Larsen Endowed Scholarship” awarded annually to a deserving veterinary student.

In 1952 Austin moved to Salt Lake City where he was director of research at the Fur Breeder’s Agricultural Coop. He developed vaccines for mink and was a world-renowned expert in diseases an methodologies relating to the mink industry. After completing his Ph.D. degree he accepted a dual appointment at the University of Utah, School of Medicine as Director of Vivarial Science and Associate Professor of Cellular, Viral and Molecular Biology and was made Associate Professor Emeritus upon his retirement in 1988. At the time of his death he was still employed as a Consultant for the Utah fur industry.

Dr. Larsen was one of the founders of Gull Laboratories, a medical diagnostic company. He served as consultant to the V.A. Hospital animal research facility, Schering Laboratories and Albion Laboratory as well as various other pharmaceutical companies. His memberships include the honor roll of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Society for Microbiologists, and American Society for Experimental Pathology, American Society for Laboratory Animal Practitioners, National Society of Sigma Xi and the Fur Farmers’ Research Institute. He published over 50 scientific papers.

Austin had joined the army reserve while attending BYU. After one month in veterinary school he was called to active duty during World War II to serve in the Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP) and finished his freshman year of veterinary school in this program. He was then sent to a specialized training program in two general hospitals to serve as a specialized medical technician. He was assigned to a troop carrier/hospital ship for two years and traveled throughout the world. At the end of World War II he married Jean Woodward and subsequently had four fine sons. This marriage ended in divorce.

In 1974 he married Joan Ensign Brown. He taught her how to hunt and together they became an unbeatable team and were active in organizations that reflected their interests in habitat conservation. Austin was a Ducks Unlimited Sponsor in Perpetuity (Diamond Level), Founder and Board of Directors of the Utah Wetlands Foundation, Founder and Director of the SE Colorado Habitat Foundation, Benefactor and Director of Water for Wildlife Foundation, member Safari Club.

He was an avid hunter and served as a member and Past President of the Chesapeake Duck Club, member and Past President of the One Shot Antelope Hunt, member and Past President of the Colorado Two Shot Goose Club, Past Shooter of the Grand National Quail Hunt, Grand National Waterfowl Hunt, One Box Pheasant Hunt, Wyoming Two Shot Goose Hunt and the Colorado Dove Hunt.

He is survived by his wife, Joan, and sons Reed, Nick (Cari), Brent (Carla) and Ron (Sheri) and step-children Drew Brown (Patricia), Nancy Kidder and Cory (Liliana) Brown as well as 19 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren, brother Paul (Lorna) Larsen, sisters Genniel (Robert) Dixon and Ruth Eschler. Preceded in death by a brother Dean (Jean) Larsen, brother-in-law Harold (Ruth) Eschler and a step-daughter Heidi Brown Hilton.

Austin cherished his family and many friends and enjoyed times spent with them at his cabin in Mountair Canyon and at his beach home in San Carlos, Mexico. Together with Joan he enjoyed hunting fishing, family activities, reunions with friends and traveling the world together.

Funeral services will be conducted at 11:00 am, Saturday, August 31, 2013 at the Forest Bend LDS Chapel, 7784 South Highland Drive. Viewings will take place at Wasatch Lawn Mortuary, 3401 Highland Drive, Salt Lake City on Friday from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm and on Saturday at the Forest Bend Ward house prior to services from 10:00 am to 10:45 am. Interment will be in the Lehi City Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Austin’s name to Water for Wildlife Foundation, 545 W. Main, Lander, Wyoming 82520.


  • Visitation Friday, August 30, 2013
  • Funeral Service Saturday, August 31, 2013

Austin Larsen

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Lizbeth Denkers

September 3, 2013

Joan, I just learned last night of Austin's passing. I am sooo sorry for your loss!!
How grateful I am that I got to spend that wonderful evening with you both last summer at your lovely home. It felt as though all those years since I've been gone just melted away! You both have long had a special place in my heart!!
I love you, my friend, and am sending huge hugs your way!
I will try to call when I return from Virginia in 2 weeks.
Please extend my deepest sympathies to your family!

September 3, 2013

Sorry for your loss, spent many years with him at the U of U. Rick Mortensen

Carol Newcomb

August 31, 2013

Our deepest symphaty to you all at this time of sorrow. We pray for your comfort in the days ahead.

Brent Wonnacott

August 31, 2013

Nick, So sorry for your loss, may God be with you and your family through these difficult times. Even though you knew this day would come, it is a very emotional time and tough to handle.

Ruth & Carroll Dolson

August 30, 2013

We cherish the many memories at the Chesapeake Duck Club with the two of you! Austin was "special" in the success of many organizations for habitat and we respected him for his knowledge and foresight. We will truly miss him.
Love, Ruth & Carroll Dolson

Chris and Howie Norton

August 30, 2013

What a privilege it is to be your neighbors. Doc, you were a joy to visit with and that smirky smile lit up the neighborhood. We look forward to the time when we can visit with Doc again! Joan, may Heavenly Father bless you in this time of loss. Our prayers are with you and we are here if you need anything. We love you!

Bill & Joyce Hayes

August 30, 2013

Our deepest sympathy for your grave loss.