Gilbert Andrew Larsen, 78
G. Andrew (Andy) Larsen, 78, passed away at home in Cedarburg on Sept. 22, 2017, after a 30-year challenge with Parkinson’s disease. He was preceded in death by his parents, Gilbert and Thelma (Jeffers) Larsen. Andy was born and grew up in Fond du Lac, where he attended public schools. A graduate of Carleton College in Minnesota and Yale School of Forestry, Larsen and his wife served as Peace Corps volunteers in Brazil from 1963-65.
As executive director of Riveredge Nature Center for 35 years, Andy was recognized locally, nationally and internationally for his environmental education programs and land-use management. He was a founding member of the Wisconsin Environmental Association, the Prairie Invertebrate Conference and other research and outdoor education associations. He also developed teacher education programs for Tirimbina Rainforest Center in Costa Rica. As Educator of the Year, he was recognized for his extensive work with students of all ages, including his “adult ecology class” which provided hundreds of volunteer teachers at Riveredge as well as nature centers in the Milwaukee metro area.
He may be remembered for his weekly column, “The Nature of Things,” in the Milwaukee Sentinels’ “green sheet” and his early morning radio spots with Walter Anderson, WTMJ. Andy enjoyed time spent maple sugaring and summer days in Bayfield, his family home. He also enjoyed photography, worldwide ecology trips, winter camping and canoeing with his family.
Larsen leaves his wife of 55 years, Judy; daughter, Elizabeth “Libby” (Scott Hilker); son, Eric (Maria Hennessey); grandchildren, Tyler Giddings, Lukas Hilker, and Merritt and Ellie Larsen; sister, Mimi Larsen Becker (Larry); sister-in-law, Janet D’Ambrosio (James); and nieces, nephews, and hundreds of friends who have been influenced by his love and passion for the beauty of the natural world.
There will be a celebration of life from 1-5 p.m. Nov. 18, at the Mequon Nature Preserve. The family thanks the Aurora at Home Zilber Home/Hospice and Dr. Paul Nausieda for their compassion and care. Donations are welcome to the Wisconsin Parkinson’s Disease Association, Bayfield Regional Conservancy, Riveredge Nature Center or your favorite charity.
The Eernisse Funeral Home of Cedarburg is honored to assist the family. Online condolences may be left at www.eernissefuneralhome.com.