Jess Larson – Major General, United States Air Force

Age 82, the first administrator of the General Services Administration, a Washington attorney and a retired major general in the Air Force Reserve, who was president and chairman of the Air Force Association, died of cancer February 25, 1987 at George Washington University Hospital.

Mr. Larson, a resident of Arlington, was born in Mill Creek, Oklahoma, and he attended the University of Oklahoma. As a young man he helped run family ranching and dairy businesses. He also was mayor of Chickasha, Oklahoma, where the family businesses were headquartered, and he studied law in a Chickasha law office. He was admitted to the Oklahoma bar in 1935.

From 1935 to 1939, he was secretary to the commissioners of the Oklahoma State Land Office. He later practiced law in Oklahoma City.

A member of the National Guard, Mr. Larson was called into federal service as an artillery officer in the Army during World War II. He served in Italy and received the Legion of Merit and the Purple Heart. Toward the end of the war he was ordered to Washington. He later transferred to the Air Force Reserve, from which he retired in the mid-1960s.

In 1946, he became general counsel of the War Assets Administration, which was charged with disposing of surplus defense property. He became administrator of the agency in 1947. In 1949, President Truman nominated him to head the Federal Works Agency. Less than a month later, he became administrator of the GSA, which was formed that year. He continued in that position until 1953. Mr. Larson then established a private law practice in Washington. He was with the firm of Alvord and Alvord for many years and was of counsel to the firm of Stoel, Rives, Boley, Fraser and Wyse at the time of his death.

From 1964 to 1971, Mr. Larson was president and chairman of the Air Force Association. For this work the Air Force conferred on him its Exceptional Civilian Service Award. Mr. Larson was a member of the Oklahoma Aviation Hall of Fame, the Metropolitan Club, the Army & Navy Club and the National Democratic Club. His first wife, the former Germaine Moreau, died in 1964. Survivors include his wife, Zdenka Sokitch Larson of Arlington, and two brothers, retired Army Col. Robert W. Larson of Springfield and K.P. Larson of Las Vegas. He was buried in Section 34 of Arlington National Cemetery.

June 22, 1904-February 25, 1987.


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