MANDAN, N.D. (KXNET) — On Tuesday morning, family, friends and fellow soldiers gathered to pay tribute to Doug Larsen, his wife Amy, and sons 11-year-old Christian and eight-year-old Everett.
The family was killed in a plane crash earlier this month.
On Tuesday morning, it was a solemn gathering in Bismarck.
“We needed everybody here to help us get through,” Amy’s sister, Chantel Southam said.
People who knew them best showed up to remember Doug and Amy Larsen, along with their two sons, Christian and Everett.
“Christian was so smart. When they say he was smart, it’s not even touching how smart he was. I’ll miss how wonderful he was with his brother. Everett was a wild child,” Southam said.
The family was taken suddenly, killed in a plane crash two Sundays ago while flying home to North Dakota.
“If your questions turn to tears and frustration and anger, I want you to know that’s alright,” Trinity Lutheran Church Pastor Mark Narum said in his sermon.
Amy’s son and Doug’s stepson Dylan didn’t make the trip with his family, but he stepped in as a casket bearer for his mother.
“Without a question, he said, I want to do this for my mom,” Southam said.
Doug and Amy celebrated their 20th anniversary earlier this year. They also owned a building company and ran a hotel together on top of raising three boys. So, free time was a rarity for the Larsens.
“She found a way to bring a person back,” Amy’s friend, Jayde Bartley said. “She was very good at uniting people in her craziness.”
Some of Amy’s best friends Alesia Krueger and Bartley say they won’t forget Amy’s last Facebook post from Arizona.
“She posted on Facebook asking about the penal code wondering how many clothes she could take off and still be legal. She said, ‘My mother-in-law said I could just cover up in a towel.’ I said, ‘Well, you’ll get a chance next year’. That was the last thing I said to her,” Bartley said.
Alesia and Jayde say they have more stories about Amy they can’t share in this story.
“One time we broke her house,” Krueger said. “We broke her mantle.”
“It’s those things, those stories, the laughter that helps with all the tears and all the sadness,” Southam said.
A 21-gun salute as well as a helicopter flyover paid tribute to Doug’s nearly 30 years in the North Dakota National Guard.
He was just embarking on his new journey flying planes when the Larsen family’s lives changed forever.
“But they’re all together, that does give me a little comfort. They have each other,” Southam said.
The family tells KX News the Larsens had flown to Scottsdale to see Doug’s sister Peggy who was about to deploy with the Arizona National Guard.