INDIAN ROCKS BEACH – The city of Indian Rocks Beach has lost one of its most tireless workers and volunteers. Larry Torgerson, 76, died on Oct. 12, 2012. He had been in failing health for some time.
To say he will be missed would be a huge understatement. Residents and city employees alike are abounding with stories of how Larry and his wife Kate chipped in to help whenever and wherever they were needed.
“He and his wife were available for any kind of work,” said Joan Johnstone, a city administrative assistant. “He helped out with the Beauty and the Beach events, sold T-shorts, did pumpkin carving, served pizza, anything that was needed.”
In fact, said Johnstone, Torgerson and his wife were selected grand marshals of the 2004 Holiday Parade because of their tireless volunteer work.
Carol McGlaughlin of the Historical Society remembers Torgerson as a man who would do anything and everything to help.
“He always said ‘anytime anybody wants me I’ll be there’,” she said. “He was involved in Action 2000, the arts center and the old IRB civic association. He helped raise $120,000 for scholarships. Anytime you asked Larry to do anything he was always there for you,” McGlaughlin said.
Torgerson was born in Wapetah, N.D. and raised in Detroit Lakes, Minn. After he finished school he travelled around the United States until moving to Las Vegas and getting involved in the automotive business. He then moved to San Diego where he met his wife, Kate. They moved to Florida in 1970 because of his love of boating, fishing and the water. At first they moved to Seminole, but that wasn’t close enough to the water so they moved to Indian Rocks Beach where they kept their boat and they have been there ever since. He owned a business, “Larry’s Tires and Service,” but eventually sold that and went into real estate. But his passion was helping. And many people benefitted from that passion.
Randy Schwab, IRB’s Public Services supervisor, said it will be tough to fill Torgerson’s shoes.
“He was always there, always helpful, always had ideas to do things,” he said. “When he came up with ideas he ran with it, not like some people who don’t get involved. He was a good worker for the community and we’re going to miss him. We wondered who we’re going to be able to get when Larry slowed down because he was always available.”
Ralph Montgomery worked with Torgerson for many years. He recalled that Torgerson was the first person people turned to.
“He was a real go-to guy and active in many organizations,” he said. “Through him we got the seeds of activities because he knew other people who were the go-getters in town. It was Larry who had the brain child of Oktoberfest and ran with it. We’re going to miss him and his enthusiasm. Kate was also very active and always with him reaching out and getting things done. Larry was a ‘get her done’ type of guy.”
“He just loved the community,” said Torgerson’s wife, Kate. “He loved the people he worked with, the city employees are great, he just wanted to be there to help. He was the leader.”