Deceased May 8, 2016

View alumni profile (log in required)
Read obituary
50th Reunion Book 

In Memory

John died May 8 at age 91 after a long and distinguished career as a lawyer in Connecticut. During World War II John served on a U.S. Navy tanker in the Pacific. This service qualified him for the GI Bill, which enabled him to attend Amherst and later Harvard Law—of course, being highly intelligent and working his tail off played a role as well. But he often wondered how different his life would have been without this assistance.        

John was preceded in death by his devoted wife of 53 years. He met Henrietta at a Smith/Amherst mixer, and they wed in 1952, eventually having three children, six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. At Amherst John was in the Glee Club all four years, joined Phi Psi and remembers sleeping in the attic above the study rooms where an open window often brought snow inside. This never seemed to bother him as he was so happy to be at Amherst. I learned from his daughter Heidi that he proudly wore a reunion cap long after it should have been retired.

John enjoyed being a lawyer and practiced into his 80s. He was ever grateful for the assistance he received from his staff and took great pride in helping others. He served as a state representative, probate judge, county public defender and town counsel. Additionally, he was president of Deep River Rotary Club and chair and board member of various charities and of the Deep River Congregational Church. He co-founded the Essex Winter Series, was active in the Old Saybrook Racquet Club and did work for the Valley Shore YMCA. Reviewing the foregoing, one becomes aware of his sense of duty to his community, more than compensation for the good fortune he had. Makes the class proud.

Gerry Reilly ’49

50th Reunion 

John Larson
Thank you for serving as editor and Fred as publisher of the 50 Year Book for the Class of '49.
I consider myself an extremely fortunate person! I often wonder how my life would have been different if the benefits of the G.I. Bill were not available to me. Finding the resources to attend both Amherst and Harvard Law School would certainly have been difficult and perhaps unlikely for me to do.

The Amherst experience was one that I appreciated very much while there and still find exhilarating when my wife and I attend the Alumni College programs. They provide a different perspective on many topics that are not regularly a part of my still busy law practice.

It was at Amherst that I met my wife, Henrietta Driver Larson, a Smithie Class of '50 and our 46-year marriage produced three children and six grandchildren.

Even though I am still working, my wife and I have traveled extensively. One of the highlights for me was the opportunity last March to ski with my wife, children and grandchildren at Whistler.
To repeat where I started, I have been blessed!


John E. Larson