Note: Charlie Larson was my grandmother's first cousin. Although I never knew him, I have heard stories about him all my life. He never married, so has no close descendants to find this account of him other than family in Sweden. He was thought of highly by many people in Odebolt in his time, and some may still remember him. He had a place in Odebolt's history, and so I am putting down what I know about him. - B. Horak, Webmaster
Odebolt lost one of its pioneer and best loved citizens on Saturday, December 7th, when Charles E. Larson passed away at the home of his sister, Lottie Johnson, in Wall Lake.
Charles E. Larson was born in Lidkoping, Sweden, November 12, 1862, and came to Odebolt, Iowa, August 20, 1888. The following ten years he worked upon the Cook Ranch and farmed north of Odebolt. For thirty-eight years he was engaged in the restaurant business in Odebolt.
He is survived by his sister, Lottie Johnson, of Wall Lake, a cousin. A. L. [Andrew] Anderson, recently moved to Odebolt, Mrs. Sigurd Carlson, a cousin, of Odebolt, a number of nephews and nieces, Gust Anderson, a cousin of South Dakota, and other relatives in Sweden.
"Charlie" as he was affectionately known to the people of this community for the past fifty years, whose earliest recollections were the extra good measure of ice cream and candy which he dispensed to them, was an institution in Odebolt. He was friend to all, and enemy to none. Charlie loved people, and he was loved by them.
Charlie knew how to live, and enjoyed life to his last days. The possession of earthly goods caused him no concern, and the lack or abundance of possessions meant nothing at all to him. The love of his fellow man, the love for the children of the town, and even the love of animals, who all found a benefactor and friend in kind old Charlie, were much more important to him than any earthly possessions.
Odebolt will not be the same without Charlie. We will all miss him.
(Charlie's restaurant was on Second Street in Odebolt.)
When I was in Attorney George Dresselhuis' office one day, I noticed a photo of what looked like Charlie Larson on his wall. I asked George if it was Charlie and he told me that yes, it was. When George first came to Odebolt in the 1930's his office was in a building that Charlie owned and Charlie lived upstairs. So George saw Charlie on a daily basis and they were friends. He said that Charlie was quite a character, had a thick Swedish accent, and told the following anecdote, in a very humorous sing-song "Dresselhuis version" of a Swedish accent, which is how he said Charlie talked.
One day Charlie came into the office on his way up to his living quarters and saw a delivery of law books piled high on George's desk. He waited patiently while George finished up some business and then said to George, "Vhat you alvays buying new books for? (He motioned to the shelves of law books.) You can't read all da books that you haf already!"
Charlie in front of his restuarant on the south side of 2nd Street.
There is also a story about Charlie's restaurant. He loved animals and there was always a cat in the store with him. Charlie had fruit, ice cream and candy and various other "special" items for sale at his restaurant. One day he had a nice basket of peaches. The cat decided that this would be a good place to have a nap and settled down on top of the peaches. A lady came in and inquired about buying some peaches. Charlie gently shooed the cat off the pile of peaches saying, "Move, kitty. Da lady vants some peaches." (Not the most sanitary of conditions, was it?)
My mother always told us that Charlie loved his cars and would often give rides to the young ladies of the town to give them a thrill. He was a kind soul and took a young boy, Eddie Roose, under his wing, and helped him get started in business, according to my father. Eddie is buried next to Charlie in Odebolt Cemetery, so he must have thought highly of him.
We also heard stories of Charlie's various trips. On one trip, someone asked him where he was from, and he replied, Odebolt, Iowa! The person said he had never heard of Odebolt. And Charlie said, with great indignation, "Not heard of Odebolt! Why dat's the Popcorn Center or the WORLD!"
- Barb Horak
Charlie's mother Greta (middle) and father Lars Larsson, in Skora, Vastergotland, Sweden.
Lars was born 22 Feb 1832 and died 21 Feb 1921