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Giants remember Pro Bowl center Greg Larson


Gregory Kenneth Larson, age 84, formerly of Nisswa, passed away Thursday, June 20, 2024, at SummerWood Presbyterian Senior Living in Plymouth, Minnesota, with his wife of 63 years, Joey, at his side.

After graduating from the University of Minnesota with a business degree, he was drafted by the AFL San Diego Chargers and the NFL New York Giants. Greg decided to accept the Giants' offer and played with the team for 13 years, only missing three games despite enduring seven football-related surgeries, including two on each knee. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 1968, and retired from football in 1973. This year he was named one of the top 100 New York Giants of their 100 year history and remains 9th in Giants history for number of games played.

Greg was born to Evelyn (Lachowitzer) and Kenneth Larson in Minneapolis where he was raised with his younger brother Bruce. Greg attended Roosevelt High School where he participated in football, basketball and track, earning basketball state titles in his junior and senior years. Eventually, Greg was inducted into the Roosevelt High School Hall of Fame. Upon graduating, Greg attended the University of Minnesota and was an unrecruited walk-on player for the football team. After his stand-out year as a freshman playing both offense and defense, the University offered him a full scholarship to continue with the team. A three-year letterman, he was the team captain and All-Big Ten selection when the Golden Gophers won the national championship in 1960. He was ultimately enshrined into the M Club Hall of Fame in 2010.

Greg moved his family to the Brainerd Lakes area in 1974 and bought Sports Supply, a regional sporting goods business before starting over with GLSports. At one time, GLSports had as many as 100 employees whom he valued greatly. He worked side by side with his wife Joey all those years, eventually including his children to create a true family business. Greg and Joey sold that business in 2010.

Greg derived enormous joy from his wife and children. He married the love of his life, Josephine Blegen, in May 1961 and they had four children: Karin (Ken) Dayton of Wayzata, Barton (Natalie Rogness) of Hager City, Wis., Michael (Stacie Mans) of Arbor Vitae, Wis., and Christopher of Tampa, Fla.

Despite his success with football, Greg's greatest passion later in life was golf. He enjoyed the competition and won several club championships over the years, but what he enjoyed most of all was the lifelong friendships that developed through golf. Those who knew him, understood how he valued connections with people above all else. As the story of his life is told through pictures, Greg was consistently surrounded by family during get togethers, life long friends from grade school, high school and new friends that he made wherever he was in life. He truly was a person who made special connections with nearly everyone he met through life and was amazingly humble despite all of his gifts and successes in life.

In addition to his wife and children, Greg is survived by seven grandchildren, six great grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents, brother and a nephew.

Memorials preferred to Lutheran Church of the Cross (Nisswa), PHF Foundation Summerwood of Plymouth, or Optage Hospice (Roseville).

Arrangements by Nelson-Doran Funeral Home Brainerd, MN.