Dorwin Ray Larsen was born April 9, 1934 in Union County, South Dakota, in a farm house near a group of unincorporated country stores known as Spink, South Dakota where his father Peder worked. Dorwin was the third son of Peder and Iva Fern Larsen. His brother Wallace was 3 years older and his brother Arvin was 2 years older. Dorwin passed away on April 18, 2019.
Dorwin was baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran Faith and was a member of Grace Lutheran Church, Hendersonville, NC.
In 1936 his father, Peder, decided to move his family to Centerville, South Dakota and start a new small grocery store which he named “Pete’s Food Market”. In 1946 Peder sold his grocery store and established a new business which he named “Pete’s Locker Service” consisting of a retail meat market, rental lockers, meat cutting room, and an animal slaughterhouse. As Dorwin was growing up, he spent many hours working in his father’s businesses.
Dorwin attended the Centerville Public Schools and graduated from Centerville High School in the spring of 1952. While attending CHS, he participated in all sports and dramatics such as class plays and speech contests.
After graduating from CHS, he enrolled in South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City, South Dakota. On August 21, 1956 Dorwin married Louise Ann Johnson in Centerville, South Dakota. They lived in Rapid City, SD while Dorwin finished his engineering degree. He graduated in the spring of 1957 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He accepted a research design job with Caterpillar Tractor Company in Peoria, Illinois. They then moved to Washington, Illinois after Dorwin accepted his job with Caterpillar. Dorwin earned a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois.
On October 6, 1959 their first son, Wayne David was born. On August 14, 1964 their daughter, Carolyn Marie was born. On May 17, 1970 their son Eric Paul was born.
In December of 1969, Dorwin accepted a position in a new Excavator Engineering Design Division located at the Caterpillar plant in Aurora, Illinois. They built a new home in Oswego, Illinois near the Aurora plant. In 1974 Dorwin was promoted to Assistant Chief Engineer in charge of worldwide design control of Caterpillar’s hydraulic excavator product line.
In 1986 Caterpillar established a joint venture with the Japanese Mitsubishi Company. Dorwin accepted a position in this new “Shin Caterpillar Mitsubishi LTD. Company as the Managing Director, General Manager of Hydraulic Excavator Development Center located near Kobe, Japan. They moved to Japan with their son Eric who was a junior in high school.
After working for Caterpillar Tractor Company for 40 years and serving as the Managing Director on the joint venture for ten years, Dorwin decided to retire. Louise and Dorwin moved to Flat Rock, North Carolina in 1996. They had a new home built in Kenmure.
Dorwin is survived by his wife, Louise, two sons, Wayne, (Susan), Wylie, TX, Eric, (Christine), Seattle, WA. and one daughter, Carolyn, (Francois), Westford, MA, 11 grandchildren, one sister-in-law Jeanette, Sioux Falls, SD and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers, Arvin, Wallace and his wife Gladys, one sister Karen and her husband John Stuntebeck.
A memorial service will be held at 2 pm on Thursday, April 25, 2019 at Grace Lutheran Church with Pastor Ken Langsdorf and Pastor Greg Williams officiating.
Memorials may be made to Grace Lutheran Church or the charity of the donor’s choice.
Grace Lutheran Church - Directions
1245 6th Avenue West