Funeral service today for North Dakota lawmaker, family

October 10, 2023

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Family and friends are remembering a late North Dakota lawmaker and his family, who died last week in a plane crash in Utah.

State Sen. Doug Larsen, his wife Amy and their two sons, 11-year-old Christian and 8-year-old Everett, died Oct. 1 when their single-engine aircraft went down near Moab, Utah. They were returning from a family gathering in Scottsdale, Arizona, and had stopped to refuel shortly before the crash.

Doug Larsen, who served 29 years with the North Dakota Army National Guard and flew Black Hawk helicopters, was piloting the single-engine Piper Cherokee plane. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash. A preliminary report is expected sometime around next week.

Funeral services were set for today (Tuesday) in Bismarck, with burial at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery south of Mandan.

Larsen, a Republican, was elected to the North Dakota Senate in 2020. He chaired a Senate panel that handled industry- and business-related legislation. He had recently earned his commercial pilot’s license, with hopes of one day flying for a major airline, Republican state Sen. Jim Roers told The Associated Press. Larsen had had at least one job offer from commuter airlines, Roers said.

Doug and Amy Larsen owned businesses that included a hotel and a company that builds homes.

Larsen, 47, was a lieutenant colonel with the North Dakota Army National Guard and mobilized with the military twice, according to the governor’s office. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, Bronze Service Star and Army Aviator Badge, among other honors. He logged about 1,776 total military flight hours, according to a Guard spokesperson.

Mourners have left flowers on Larsen’s Senate desk at the state Capitol since the crash. Fellow lawmakers gathering for routine meetings at the Capitol have also observed moments of silence for the Larsens and offered remembrances.

Federal Aviation Administration records show that Larsen’s Piper PA-28-140, popularly known as a “Cherokee,” was built in 1966. Its airworthiness certificate was renewed in June through 2030, indicating it had passed a safety inspection. The weather at the time of the crash was mild, with scattered light showers, wide visibility and gentle winds in the area around the airport, according to the National Weather Service.

District Republicans will appoint a successor to fill the remainder of Larsen’s term, through November 2024. His Senate seat is on the ballot next year. Larsen represented a district that encompassed Mandan, the city neighboring Bismarck to the west across the Missouri River.