The passing of former President George H.W. Bush last fall hit Chet Larson, Fargo, especially hard. After all, he’d met Bush three times.
Two of those times were at a hotel in Washington when Chet was the assessor for Liberty Township near Enderlin, N.D., and a member of the National Association of Towns and Townships (NATaT), which was holding meetings there.
The third time was when the picture you see here was taken in the White House in 1991. Chet then was vice president of the NATaT, which was holding its annual conference in Washington.
“As you can see, I had a beard back in those days,” Chet, who today is beardless, says.
“President Bush was easy to visit with, and he was very open-minded,” Chet says.
And he even asked Chet for some help.
One of those attending the conference, and who the president would mention in a talk, was NATaT’s president Lother Walter, from Norwood, Minn., southwest of the Twin Cities. Bush asked Chet how to pronounce his name.
“I told him to just call him ‘Butch,’ which is what everyone knew him by,“ Chet says, “and he did, in his address to the conference.”
Chet, by the way, received a national honor in 1995 when NATaT presented him with its National Leadership Award of Excellence. It was presented to him by then-North Dakota Gov. Ed Schafer.
Chet is now retired, but he’s been one active guy over the years. He was a charter member of the Enderlin Lions Club, served on the Enderlin School Board, was commander of the Enderlin American Legion Post and held many offices on the Liberty Township Board.
He and his wife Karen have three children. Their daughter Susan Thompson served the city of Fargo in the municipal court for 40 years, first as an accountant and eventually as head clerk; their daughter Kathy Carlson has been an art teacher in Moorhead elementary schools for more than 30 years; and their son Chuck is a lead engineer for Northrup-Gruman in Chicago. The Larsons have seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
And Chet has the memory of shaking the hand of President George H.W. Bush.
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