Robert 'Bob' Larson, Oregon housing and community services debt manager, dies at 57

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Robert “Bob” Larson, who died on April 27 at the age of 57 after a yearlong battle with cancer, is remembered as a dedicated public servant who continued to work until his passing.

Mr. Larson served as debt manager of the State of Oregon’s Housing and Community Services Department for over 25 years and was central to the department’s single-family bond program and its conduit program, since its inception.

Throughout his time there, Bob handled several hundred housing transactions benefiting Oregon homeowners and renters totally in excess of $8 billion.

"I had the pleasure of working with and knowing Bob for more than 26 years — he was a consummate professional; one of the most diligent and conscientious individuals with whom I have ever worked,” said Howard Zucker, partner at Hawkins Delafield & Wood LLP. “Bob was a man of great integrity. I have never heard anyone say an unkind word about him. Even as Bob was battling his severe illness, he preserved his equanimity and maintained his sense of humor. He was extremely courageous in his struggle. All who knew Bob were better off for it. The world was a better place because he graced us with his presence. I will miss him greatly.”

Tom Caine, president of Caine Mitter, a full-service independent financial advisory firm that specializes in the financing of affordable housing by public agencies, worked with Mr. Larson for more than 25 years.

“During that time, he successfully managed the State’s affordable housing bond programs through good and bad economic times,” Caine said. “This was exemplified by his strong leadership and quick response to the disruption in the both the mortgage and bond markets during the financial crisis in 2008 and the subsequent great recession. He has left a strong legacy for others to carry on the state’s programs.”

Douglas Goe, partner and vice chair for Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe’s public finance department in the Pacific Northwest, also worked with Mr. Larson.

"I had the privilege of knowing and working with Bob for more than 25 years, he was the quintessential public servant in the best sense of those words,” Goe said. “He was hard working, very bright, paid attention to detail but also was practical in solving a variety financing challenges for the State of Oregon’s Housing and Community Services Department. Throughout the years, I always admired Bob’s smarts, and tireless work ethic, but in the last several years as he was battling severe health problems I was most impressed with his good humor, and demonstration of grace in dealing with adversity and how he continued to participate in working group calls and bond closings even though he was receiving treatments that would confine most of us to bed rest and inactivity. He never complained or uttered an unkind word.”

A funeral mass celebrating Mr. Larson’s life will be held at St. Edwards Catholic Church in Keizer, Oregon, on May 17 at 1:30 pm.

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Obituaries Affordable housing bonds Oregon Housing and Community Services Department