Some of us, if we’re really sentimental, still have our first baby blanket or the tiny, cozy cap we wore home from the hospital after our birth.Louis Larsen has something else. At 92, he still has the receipt for his birth at Swedish, on Sept. 23, 1924. The typed bill, yellowed by age and stamped “paid,” came to $47.50.
“It’s pretty fascinating,” says Larsen. “My mother saved it. She eventually gave it to me, and I still have it.
“My parents were immigrants from Denmark, and the doctor who delivered me was from Denmark,” he says. Larsen still remembers his name: Torleif Torland.
A 1962 World’s Fair VIPAside from time in World War II and a brief stay in Spokane, Wash., Larsen has lived in Seattle all his life – and received his health care from Swedish.
While he and Dolores, his wife of 69 years, raised three sons, Larsen had a long career in the visitor and outdoor recreational industries, starting as director of sales and marketing for AAA in Washington.
When Seattle was selected for the 1962 World’s Fair, Larsen became the assistant director of exhibit sales and oversaw $10 million in advance ticket sales. During the fair, he was the director of events. Among his duties: escorting dignitaries, celebrities and politicians, including:
- Astronaut John Glenn, a national hero in 1962 after he orbited the Earth
- Elvis Presley and Nat King Cole
- The Rev. Billy Graham
- Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II
- Politicians Robert Kennedy, Hubert Humphrey and Adlai Stevenson
Larsen finished his career as executive vice president of the Northwest Marine Trade Association, which sponsors Seattle’s annual boat show.
Life-changing surgeryAfter he retired, Larsen had a second career as a designer and craftsman. He did office interiors and made 1,600 replicas of Northwest Indian boxes for dignitaries at the 1999 WTO meeting in Seattle. He hired a few family members for that job and says it worked out well. “I made enough to buy a truck and a camper, and I took a nice trip,” says Larsen.
In 2010, he says, he had life-changing surgery at Swedish. Ralph Aye, M.D., a thoracic surgeon, repaired problems Larsen had with his esophagus and a hernia.
“It changed my life totally,” he says. “Before that, I sat up to sleep, and I was eating Prilosec day and night. I lived a life of heartburn. Now, a glass of wine, Mexican food, Italian food – it doesn’t matter, I can eat it all. Surgery made a huge difference.”
30 years with the same doctorHow has health care changed over his lifetime? “It’s a whole lot easier now,” says Larsen.
His primary care provider for the past 30 years has been Marc A. Cordova, M.D. With an enduring relationship like that, says Larsen, “your doctor gets to know your family.”
Words to live byAt 92, Larsen still drives. He says he’s been fortunate to have such longevity and health.
Any tips for the rest of us?
“I try to live a happy life,” says Larsen. “I try to be positive. And I try to laugh a lot.”
Note: Dr. Cordova retired in September of 2017
If you’d like to build an enduring relationship with a Swedish health care provider, find one in our provider directory.