Robert Wood Larson 1934-2024

Bob Larson (90), a resident of Big Pine, passed away on February 12 at Northern Inyo Hospital following complications from advanced Parkinson’s disease.

Bob was born in Turlock, CA on January 6, 1934 and raised in Salinas, where he attended Salinas High School and Hartnell College.  An all-conference athlete on Hartnell’s basketball and track teams, he met his future wife, Iva Brooks, there before volunteering for the draft.  Bob was stationed in Germany, where he was selected for his Company’s basketball and track teams.

Upon returning to California, he and Ivy married, and he enrolled in San Jose State College to earn a high school teaching degree, majoring in Physical Education and minoring in Industrial Arts. Bob taught for 31 years, 30 of those at Salinas High School, where he coached and taught wood shop, general crafts, and plastics classes before retiring in 1990.

During those years, Bob enjoyed spending weekends hiking and fishing in the Santa Lucia Mountains of Monterey County, improving trails at Toro Park, and mountain biking at Fort Ord.  Family camping trips to Arroyo Seco, Kings Canyon, and Anza-Borrego were annual events.

In 1991, Bob inherited a house in Big Pine from his aunt, Enid Larson, which he moved to full-time in 2013.  In 1900, Bob’s great grandfather, Wood Larson, purchased 160 acres in Bishop to homestead.  Before moving there, Wood suffered a stroke and died while visiting his mother-in-law’s boarding house in the mining town of Bodie.  Wood is buried in the cemetery there, along with his mother-in-law, Araminta Jane (Grandma) Johnson.  Wood’s son, Owen, joined his mother in Bishop on the ranch, raising four children there, including Bob’s father (b.1906).  In 1925, the family was forced to sell their land when the city of Los Angeles secured the water rights upstream, making it impossible for them to continue ranching.  Enid (b. 1905) missed the Owens Valley and eventually returned, purchasing property in Big Pine, which she left to her nephew, Bob.

Bob hiked many miles exploring the mountains surrounding Big Pine, including leading neighborhood group hikes and family outings.  He filled his carefully curated yard with native plants, interesting geological specimens, and art made of found objects.

Bob and Ivy (d. 2006) are survived by two children, Robert Wood Larson III (Krista) of La Mesa and Joan Larson Wagner (Jeff) of Big Pine. They also have three grandchildren:  Robert Wood Larson IV (La Mesa), Abby Wagner (Alexandria, VA), and Grace Wagner (San Diego).

Donations to the Parkinson’s Foundation ( may be made in celebration of Bob’s life.

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