Julie Dean Larsen

April 13, 1959 – September 11, 2023

[The Episcopal News] Canon Julie Dean Larsen — vice chancellor of the Diocese of Los Angeles, member of the Corporation of the Diocese, member of the Coadjutor Bishop Search Committee, deputy to two past meetings of General Convention, and member of St. Margaret of Scotland Church, San Juan Capistrano — died Sept. 11. She was 64 and was diagnosed about a year ago with ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease).

Survivors include her husband, Chris Vogt; their daughter, Kallie; her mother, Judy Larsen; a brother, Todd D. Larsen; and a sister, Pam Rasmussen.

Service arrangements are pending, but will be held at St. Margaret’s Church, probably in October, her husband said.

Larsen was a key legal advisor to the late Bishop J. Jon Bruno and to Bishop John Harvey Taylor, both of whom appointed her as a vice chancellor of the diocese. She also brought her legal training and experience to her role as a member of the disciplinary committee of the diocese. As vice chancellor she taught canon law to postulants for Holy Orders, and she developed a program to help congregations that already had or were considering negotiations for cell towers on their properties.

“Canon Larsen was one of the most devoted servants of the gospel I’ve ever known,” Taylor told The Episcopal News. “To fix or respect a canon, to defend the diocese, and to make sure members of the ordained orders were held to the highest standard, she always went the extra mile, as Jesus commanded. During one of her last visits to St. Paul’s Commons, I remember seeing her in a conference room, dwarfed by stacks of paper, trying to find evidence of a 50-year-old insurance policy – and she found it. She stood at Bishop Bruno’s side in his darkest days.

Julie Dean Larsen, back center, waves during a lunch with other deputies from the Diocese of Los Angeles to the 2018 General Convention in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo: John Taylor

“And if I may be permitted a personal note, she was my caring, reassuring chaplain during the bishop search process in 2016. I’ll always miss her, and I’ll always smile when I think of her joyous face and easy laugh.”

Before going into private law practice in 2016 Larsen was a a senior partner of Kutak Rock LLP, a national law firm, where she represented the interests of and provided counsel to insurance companies and corporations in the United States and Europe. She taught at numerous American Conference Institute and Defense Research Institute conferences on risk management and valuation topics, including the use of decision tree analysis and statistical methods used in discrimination class actions. She retired from law practice in 2019.

She was elected to the Corporation of the Diocese in 2017, and in 2015 served on the Bishop Coadjutor Search Committee.

Larsen served as a lay deputy to General Convention for the first time in 2018. With characteristic humor and enthusiasm, she told The News that as a first-time deputy she was “more excited than an eight-year-old planning for Christmas.” She took a special interest in proposed changes to the Title IV process for clergy discipline, and drafted a resolution, later adopted by the convention, “which requires the study of model human resource practices to determine if they can be integrated with Title IV proceedings,” she explained.

She was reelected for the 2022 General Convention (transferred from 2021 and severely curtailed because of the coronavirus pandemic) and was appointed to the Agencies & Boards Committee. Her service at that convention was cut short when she took a fall and broke her jaw while walking with fellow deputies after the first day’s proceedings.

Although she had to return home for longer-term medical care, Larsen was subsequently elected to the Court of Review for Clergy; however there was an error in the election process, which had to be re-done. Larsen was then elected as the court’s lay alternate. She also was elected to the Disciplinary Board for Bishops.

Canon Julie Dean Larsen, vice chancellor, pauses for a moment as she prepares to monitor proceedings and answer any legal questions during the all-virtual Diocesan Convention of 2020. Photo: Janet Kawamoto

Larsen was philosophical about both her mishap and the election results. “I am sorry I missed three exciting days of convention,” she wrote in an email to The News. “Being elected and then un-elected to the court of review would have been something to see.”

She was an elected deputy for the upcoming 2024 meeting, to be held in Louisville, Kentucky in June. (An alternate deputy will take her place.)

An active and involved community member, she was a past director of the Camp Fire Girls of Los Angeles, chair of the Brownell-Talbot School annual campaign, president of the Beacon Hill Planned Community Association of Laguna Niguel, and member of the financial committee of the Mission Viejo Country Club.

Larsen was born April 13, 1959 in Fremont, Nebraska, and had warm memories of spending time on her grandfather’s farm. She held a bachelor of arts degree and a law degree from the University of Nebraska, which she attended as a Regents’ Scholar. She clerked for the Honorable John T. Grant of the Nebraska Supreme Court. She was admitted to practice in the Central District of California, the U.S. Court of Appeals (Ninth Circuit), the U.S. District Court (District of Nebraska), and the U.S. District Courts (Central and Southern District, California)

Her pride in being a Nebraskan was reflected in a scholarship fund she and her family support for in-state students in need at the University of Nebraska.

Vogt said of Larsen that many years ago, before their daughter was born, she had what he called a vision: “a walking, alert, awake memory – not a dream. And she was in heaven on her grandpa’s farm. A little girl was running around. And he called her Kallie.” After that, Vogt said, Larsen always believed she’d been to Heaven. “And it basically gave her complete peace in terms of this transition to death, because she’d already been there. And the experience was so positive and calming that there was no fear or trepidation or apprehension. She was going to see her grandpa on his farm.”

On Sept. 11, in an email notifying Bishop Taylor of his wife’s death, Vogt wrote that she “is now on her grandfather’s farm.”