Memorial services will be held tomorrow in Detroit for UDR Chairman Robert Larson, who passed away March 11.
In a brief statement issued by the Highlands Ranch, Colo.-based REIT, UDR president and CEO Tom Toomey recognized the deep loss felt by co-workers, family, and friends. “Bob was a mentor to so many industry leaders over the last 50 years,” Toomey said. “We have been truly fortunate to have shared in his insight, knowledge, and friendship. He will be missed by everyone at UDR. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”
UDR board member James D. Klingbeil, the company’s vice-chairman since October 2000, succeeds Larson as UDR Chairman.
“I always think of Bob in light of one thing: He always did it right, whether he was telling me I was wrong or pointing out what was right, he had a natural way of making you look at things in the right way, with the right perspective,” Toomey says. “He lived his life that way in all the things he did, from running companies to public service to setting up trade organizations to being with his family.”
In addition to serving as UDR’s chairman, Larons, a Bloomfield Hills, Mich., resident, also chaired New York City-based merchant banking firm Lazard Real Estate Partners and Detroit-based real estate investment firm Larson Realty Group. Larson also represented funds managed by Lazard Alternative Investments as a director of Atria Senior Living Group and of Commonwealth Atlantic Properties, as well as serving on the Nantucket Funds Advisory Committee.
Larson was also a director and past chairman of the ULI Foundation and a trustee of the Urban Land Institute, with the Detroit chapter of ULI honoring him in 2007 with its lifetime achievement award. He was a member and chairman emeritus of the Advisory Board of the Wharton Real Estate Center at the University of Pennsylvania and a member and chairman of The Real Estate Roundtable.
A native of Minneapolis, Larson received a degree in government and international relations from Northfield, Minn.-based Carleton College. Beyond his lifelong commitment to real estate, Larson was recognized as a staunch community and public service advocate, pouring time, resources, and personal energy into civic commitments on local and national stages. Larson was past chairman of the board and a senior trustee of Cranbrook Educational Community; a director of Downtown Detroit Partnership; a director and executive committee member of the Detroit Zoological Society; a trustee of the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation; an honorary trustee of Children’s Hospital of Michigan; and a trustee emeritus of Carleton College.
“Whether in Bob’s personal relationships, his involvement in the community, or in his professional life, making a difference was what mattered,” Larson’s wife Bonnie said in a statement. “He had a zest for life and lived it with extraordinary style, grace and dignity. The generosity of his spirit is the foundation of his rich legacy and will be cherished by all of those who knew him.”
Memorial services to celebrate Larson’s life will be held on Friday, March 19, at 2 p.m. at the Detroit Institute of Arts, 5200 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, Mich.