Alumnus Ben Larson ’06 dies in Haitian earthquake, status of others with Haitian connections reported, student group formed

Jan. 14, 2010

Luther College is sad to report that Luther alumnus Ben Larson ’06 has died as result of the earthquake in Haiti.

Ben, a student at Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa, is the son of alumni parents Rev. April (Ulring) Larson ’72, formerly a Luther regent and bishop of the ELCA La Crosse Area Synod, and the Rev. Judd Larson ’74 of Duluth, Minn.

Ben's sisters, Amy (Larson) Calhoun and Katie Larson Ode, are both 2001 Luther graduates. A cousin of Ben's, Elizabeth Larson, is a Luther senior student.

A notice sent to the Wartburg Seminary community from President Duane Larson reports that Ben; his wife, Renee Splichal Larson; and his cousin Jon Larson were in the same building at St. Joseph Guest House when the quake hit. Renee and Jon made it out, eventually found each other, then returned to St. Joseph Guest House in the attempt to rescue Ben, to no avail.

The Luther community extends its prayers and sympathy to Renee, the extended Ulring and Larson families, the Wartburg Seminary community, and all who mourn the loss of Ben, one who burned brightly with passion, service, joy, and creativity given in praise to God and service to others.

Luther College will hold a vigil for Haiti, including prayers in remembrance of Ben Larson, during its Friday, Jan. 15, chapel service, held at 10:30 a.m. in the Center for Faith and Life main hall. (Ben was a member of Nordic Choir and served as choir president his
senior year; Nordic Choir will sing in memory of Ben at the Jan. 15 chapel service.)

A vigil for loved ones of Ben Larson will also be held Friday in Minneapolis from 7-8 p.m. at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 2730 East 31st Street.

In response to numerous requests that the college is receiving regarding the people affected by the Haiti earthquake, Luther shares the following information:

Junette Maxis, a Luther junior from Haiti, is currently in the Twin Cities for an internship. Junette has heard from her brother; everyone in her family managed to save themselves from their work or their house.  She was raised at the House of Love, run by Food for the Poor in Haiti.

Lindsay Pruis, a junior nursing student, is currently in Haiti on a mission trip. She arrived in Haiti on Jan. 9. The trip is through Mission E4 and the Bethany Reformed Church Haiti. Lindsay is safe. She is with 40 other people. The guest house where they were staying in survived the earthquake relatively well. They have a roof over their heads and an armed guard watching over the compound. The team is providing medical care. Lindsay is upbeat and feeling called by God to use her Luther nursing education to help others. Lindsay was scheduled to return to the United States Jan. 17, but that intended departure date has now been moved back to Jan. 22. Web updates are available at

Josh White, a 1997 Luther graduate and physician, was featured in the most recent Luther Alumni Magazine for his medical work in Haiti. Josh just returned from his work in Haiti on Saturday, Jan. 9. As a result of the quake, he and the team will be heading back down on Monday or Tuesday, Jan. 18-19. More details about his work can be found at (The blog is run by the Livesay family who staff the clinic). When asked what we could do to help, Josh said pray for them and donate money to World Wide Village, Inc.

Luther student group formed:

In response to the Haitian devasation, the Luther College Emergency Committee was created by Luther student William Montoya. Montoya invites the public to a planning meeting Friday, Jan. 15, from 6:00-6:30 p.m. in the main lounge of Dahl Centennial Union.

For more information, contact Montoya at [email protected] or join the Luther College Emergency Committee (LCEC) Facebook group.

Ben Larson ’06