Robert Y. Larsen

Robert Y. Larsen

After attending Yale University School of Fine Arts and Rhode Island School of Design, Bob settled in Needham in 1954. Lieutenant Larsen bravely served America throughout the Korean War in the Army Infantry. For the past 15 years Bob proudly marches in uniform in Needham’s Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day and July 4th parades.

Bob’s community volunteerism is lengthy – highlights include service on Needham’s first Sign By-Law Committee and the Cultural Council. He assisted at the Needham High School all-night party drawing portraits of graduating seniors – an activity he still recalls as one of his favorites. He served on the Memorial Park Gazebo Committee, for which he created a lithograph to assist fundraising. He still introduces our elementary school children to the wonder and beauty of drawing, and even today, as a vital member of the War Memorial Committee, he designed our “Fallen Brave” insignia.

Bob’s artistic talent is recognized along the Eastern Seaboard – he is a past recipient of the Paul Manship Prize for excellence in drawing, and his work has been displayed in shows at the Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts, the Academic Artists Association, and the Copley Society. Bob has freely shared his artistic time and talent with Needham – his portraits of great Needham contributors like Raymond Bosworth, Stephanie Kalin and Sid Dimond hang in our library and Historical Society. For the past 35 years, he has designed the cover of the Exchange Club’s Needham Phone Book, and his thought-provoking cartoons chronicle and comment on our Town’s history.

Bob understands the importance of civic engagement and self-government, and this year he will dutifully provide his 45th year of service on our Town Meeting. When asked about his motivation for volunteering on so many activities over so many years, he humbly says it is a simple matter of “doing it, and if you want to help, it comes naturally.” He truly believes that whatever small service he may have given to Needham, it is he who has received so much more in return.

Bob is a past recipient of the Superintendent’s Award for Distinguished Service, the Exchange Club’s Extraordinary Award, and the Needham Business Association’s Distinguished Citizen of the Year Award. Whether around Town or at a community event, you will always find this bow-tied, bespectacled, generous and loving soul helping out and putting a smile on our faces.