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The Iowa Supreme Court Mourns the Passing of Former Justice Jerry L. Larson

April 25, 2018

News Release

The Iowa Supreme Court Mourns the Passing of Former Justice Jerry L. Larson

Des Moines, April 25, 2018-The Justices of the Iowa Supreme Court, former colleagues, and friends remember Iowa Supreme Court Justice Jerry L. Larson, Harlan, today as a dedicated public servant whose long career combined a profound respect for the rule of law, an unwavering support for fair and impartial courts, and a great fondness for his hometown and the Shelby County Courthouse. Justice Larson served from 1978 to 2008 and was the longest-serving justice in the history of the Iowa Supreme Court.

“The Iowa court family is saddened by the passing of former Justice Jerry Larson, “Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady said. “I had the honor and great pleasure to serve with Justice Larson for my first 10 years as a justice on the supreme court. He was a great mentor and better friend with a keen legal mind, a quick wit, and a deep love of the law. Our sympathies go out to his entire family.”  

Justice Larson was appointed a district judge in 1975. He served on the district bench until his appointment to the Iowa Supreme Court in 1978. In September 2007, Justice Larson surpassed Justice Theodore Garfield (1941 - 1969) as the longest serving justice in the history of the Iowa Supreme Court. During his 29 years as a justice, Justice Larson wrote 991 opinions. As a member of the Iowa Supreme Court, Justice Larson played a key role in developing the court’s rules for expanded media coverage of Iowa’s courts. These rules have served as a model for other states.

Justice Larson was born and raised in Harlan. He received his bachelor’s degree in 1958 and law degree in 1960, both from the University of Iowa. While at law school, he was an editor of the Iowa Law Review. Following his graduation from law school, he was a law clerk for U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge M.D. Van Oosterhout. Later, Justice Larson practiced law in Harlan with his father and served two terms as Shelby County Attorney before his appointment to the district court bench.

Justice Larson has four children, twelve grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. One of his sons, Jeffrey Larson, is the chief judge in the Fourth Judicial District and one of his daughters, Susan Christensen, is a district judge in the Fourth District. His daughter, Rebecca Larson, is an elementary teacher in Bettendorf, Iowa, and his son, David, is an attorney in Avoca, Iowa.

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