A Funeral Mass for Bernard Arthur Larson, 95, of Mesa, Arizona will be held Wednesday, July 11th, 2012 at 10:00am at the Ranney-Bainbridge Chapel in Herman, Minnesota with celebrant Father Ron Schmelzer and Marilyn Backman as organist. Pallbearers will be Doug Larson, Bruce Larson, Thomas Ritchey, Dave Riedner, Duane Wilts and Steve Lennox with interment at St. Charles Cemetery, south of Herman. Visitation will be held at the chapel one hour prior to the Funeral Mass. [In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations to the Hospice of the Valley, Arizona.] Bernard Arthur Larson was born on December 17, 1916 in Herman, MN to Frank Orrin and Mary Ann (Bagan) Larson. He was baptized and confirmed at St. Charles Catholic Church of Herman, Minnesota. Bernard attended school in Herman, graduating from Herman High School in 1934. After attending Teacher Training School for one year in Wheaton, MN, he taught rural school at the Blume and Lentfer schools near Herman. Then he taught elementary school in Sebeka and Tracy for two years. Bernard attended Moorhead State Teacher's College to earn a Bachelor of Education degree. While attending a summer school session in Moorhead, Minnesota, he met Gladys Gertrude Linnihan, a rural school teacher from Red Lake Falls, Minnesota. They were united in marriage on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 30, 1939 at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Red Lake Falls by Rev. Fr. Lemire. During WWII, Bernard taught three years in the Army Air Force Radio School in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He also served in the U.S. Navy, joining at Fort Snelling, shipped to the Great Lakes Naval Station in Chicago, and to Gulfport, Mississippi for advanced training, then returning to Chicago at Navy Pier to serve our country until his honorable discharge in 1946. Bernard was hired by the Bloomington School District in 1947, where Bernard and Gladys made their home and adopted and raised their two daughters, Mary Jo and Wendy Ann. During his 39 years of service he was promoted from elementary teacher to coordinator and to assistant superintendent of schools. As assistant superintendent he held successive titles, in charge of elementary education, K-12 East pyramid, secondary schools and support and legislative liaison. In 1972, Bernard received his PhD in education from the University of Minnesota. Dr. Larson was once described by the chairperson of the Bloomington School Board as one of the educational giants . During his tenure he was known for being tough-minded, principled, loyal and always placing the district's children first. Ms. Frances Burns, columnist for the Bloomington Sun Current, once wrote he had charts, graphs, statistics and algorithms to prove whatever he favored . His colleagues remembered him for his sense of history, his humor, and his idiosyncratic approach to interviewing job applicants using the Bender Gestalt test and asking seemingly irrelevant questions. In his annual interviewing trips to Minnesota colleges he met and selected over thousands of elementary school teachers; during his busiest year interviewing over 1,400 candidates and hiring over 140 new teachers. He was proud to have hired a teacher, Leila Anderson, who was to become the last Bloomington school superintendent for whom he worked. Dr. Fred Freese, a long-time principal that he hired described his friend Dr. Larson as the man who had the most influence on my life. Dr. Larson was honored with a life membership in the Minnesota Elementary Principals Association where he served as editor of its journal, on the ethics committee, and on the salary formula committee. Bernard and Gladys retired to Leisure World in Mesa Arizona in 1987, spending many summers in Minnesota until the last few years. In retirement he explored his passion for the study of genealogy. Bernard and Gladys traveled across the country gathering information to complete a family history book tracing his mother's and father's families back to Ireland and Norway and the U.S. descendants of their immigrant grandparents. Bernard is survived by his beloved wife of 72 years, Gladys; his daughter Mary Jo Larson and son-in-law John Chiesa of Arlington, Massachusetts; his daughter Wendy Ann of Seattle, Washington; his granddaughter Natalie Larson and his great grandson Noland Timoteo Larson; his brother Donald Larson of Herman, MN; and numerous nieces, nephews and great-nieces and great-nephews. In the last years of their life, Bernie and Gladys benefitted from the friendship and assistance of Marilyn and Jim Helhowski which allowed them to remain in their Leisure World home. Bernard was proceeded in death by his parents Orrin and Mary Ann Larson; brother Vincent (Minnie) Larson; sister Eileen (Michael) Gugich; an infant brother Philip Larson; and a sister-in-law Marge Larson.