WICHITA — Archie Roland Larison was born Jan. 4, 1920, in Windsor, Mo., to Walter and Elsie Hewitt Larison, and passed away Aug. 16, 2021.
He was the sixth of seven children: Wilber Larison, Doris Larison Whitehair, Irene Larison Gilmore, Velma Larison, Fred Larison and Margaret (Marge) Larison.
Archie joined the Missouri National Guard at age 18. Prior to the war, he was a shoemaker who made shoes for the Russian army. He enlisted in the Army Air Corp Nov. 11, 1942, where he quickly reached the rank of corporal. During World War II, Archie was a member of the gilder platoon in the Pacific theater, and when it was dissolved, he was transferred to the motor pool because of his typing abilities. He was honorably discharged Dec. 31, 1945.
After the war, Archie returned to the Kansas City area and became a certified watchmaker and trained gemologist. He married the love of his life, Shirley Ellen Clifton, May 31, 1947, and they had two children, Ronald Wayne (Mary) and Clifton Dennis (Vickie). The couple settled in Osage City, where Archie worked for Underwood Jewelers. In 1962, Archie and Shirley established Larison jewelers. Archie retired from the business in 1995.
Archie was very active in his community. He was an active member of the Methodist Church, Osage City, and served as head usher for many years. He would wake early to serve both services every Sunday morning. He used to joke that he was so stubborn he needed to hear the message more than once. He was always the last to leave after cleaning the church, and made sure everyone made it safely to their cars.
He served the Boy Scouts of America as a troop leader, Eagle Award Chairman and as District Chairman for the Jayhawk Council, and was active in the Boy Scouts for over 60 years. Archie was a Mason and Shriner. He was an active member of the Osage City and Lebo Masonic Lodges for over 73 years. He designed and helped construct a single-story lodge in Osage City so elderly members of the lodge could more easily attend. He was a member of Ararat Shrine in Kansas City, and provided countless hours of service toward raising money for Shriners Hospitals.
Archie’s spirit of service to the military and children’s charities has had a ripple effect with every generation following him. His example of selfless giving and hard work has been the central pillar for every Larison family member. He has three granddaughters, one grandson and eight great-grandchildren. Together, Archie’s descendants have a combined military service of 32 years. Both of his sons served in the Air Force. His son Ron served from Vietnam to the Gulf War, providing communications support. His son Clifton was responsible for engineering the control panel on the NASA Space Shuttle.
The family also continued the legacy of scouting, earning four Boy Scout Eagle Awards, two Girl Scout Gold Awards, and a combined 72 additional years of scouting service between them. They continued to be active in the Shrine and have a combined total of 57 years donated to the Shrine and other children’s charities. Archie’s work ethic and example of perseverance have inspired his grandchildren to become small business owners, teachers, directors at large technology corporations, doctors and Air Force Logistic Specialists.
To say that Archie has made a difference in this world would be an understatement. He was a true American hero to all who were lucky enough to know him.
At age 90, Archie moved to Wichita and resided in the independent living facility at the Kansas Masonic Home. At age 101, he was surrounded by family when he peacefully passed away. A true soldier, he now fights in God’s Army.
Funeral services will be 2 p.m. Friday, Aug. 20, at the Methodist Church, Osage City. Visitation will be 1 p.m., prior to the funeral, with graveside service following the funeral at Osage City cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to Boy Scouts of America, Jayhawk Area Council, 1020 S.E. Monroe St., Topeka, KS 66612, or to Shriner’s Hospital for Children in St. Louis, Attention: Development Office, 4400 Clayton Ave., St. Louis, MO 63110.