BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET)– As KX News reported this week, Senator Doug Larsen, his wife, and their two children passed away in a plane crash in Utah Sunday evening. Their deaths were confirmed through an email that was sent from Republican Senate Majority Leader David Hogue.

The unexpected tragedy impacted many in the community, including colleagues, and they would like to remember Larsen for his love of aviation and his great sense of humor.

The senator enlisted in the North Dakota Army National Guard on March 14, 1994, as a combat engineer and he was later appointed as a commissioned officer on August 18, 2001. All in all, he served for 29 years.

One of his North Dakota Army National Guard colleagues said Larsen will continue to live on through people’s memories.

“Colonel Larsen had a sense of humor that I think will resonate with many of us for a long time,” said Michael Green, Director of Aviation of North Dakota.

Many in the community remember Larsen as a strong activist in the state. Friends say they will remember him as a man who loved his country, representing District 34 in Mandan.

“A lot of us down at Aviation, it’s a really tight community, I mean, I’ve known Doug since 2001 along with a lot of the other employees down here and like every other death of a close friend it’s still pretty raw, pretty unreal, hard to believe. I just spoke with him a week and a half ago, so for that to be gone forever, it’s pretty tough,” Green said.

Green also noted Larsen loved flying the Black Hawk Utility helicopter at the National Guard and had recently earned his commercial pilot’s license, receiving his first job offer from a commuter airline with a goal of flying for a major airline. With a little over 1,700 flight hours, Larsen was known for his hard work and his undeniable love for aviation.

“Doug went through Army flight school in 2006 or completed it and spent a lot of time out here developing his skills as a pilot,” Green noted. “He was really eager to fly; whenever a mission came up, he was all about volunteering to go.”

On another note, Green says Larsen was a huge Minnesota Vikings fan. He recalls one memory when Larsen refused to answer his phone and actually turned it off because the Vikings lost a game and he didn’t want to pick up the call because he knew his non-Vikings friends would rub it in.