Roland James Larsen was born on July 25, 1946, in Princeton, B.C. to Genevieve and Norman Larsen. He was their second child, his older brother, Larry, being their first. Roland was born without his right forearm but he grew-up and adapted to all tasks. The family lived at Copper Mountain BC where his dad worked.
When Roland was 5 years old, his father and older brother, drowned while on a day of fishing at Summet Lake. After this tragedy, they moved to the Preeceville area, where his maternal grandmother lived. Roland’s mother remarried in 1956 and, with her new husband Walter Sawkiw’s different jobs, they moved around. As he grew-up Roland attended school in Winnipeg, Stenen, Sturgis and Bredenbury. During this time, Roland became an older brother with the birth of siblings, Greg and Joanne.
Roland left school and home early in life finding jobs with farmers and ranchers in Southern Saskatchewan. He also found work on a road construction crew working on projects at Frontier, Moose Jaw and Bengough. It is through the contacts he made there that he wound up with a job on the Turks and Caicos Islands building roads and an airstrip for the Dupont family for a few years. He and Kip Dupont became good friends and this opened many possibilities for him, but his dream was a place and a ranch of his own.
Roland returned to Saskatchewan in 1972 and purchased a piece of land in the Rockford area and began making his dream come true. During this time, he worked in the bush for Willie Jakubowski. He also logged trees on his property to have them processed to build a home, which he did with the help of Josie Alberts. Later, Roland was able to purchase another quarter.
His other dream of a family came true with the birth of his daughters. He worked hard to support his family, hunting and trapping, installing water and sewer systems near Saskatoon, Lynn Lake and Brochet, setting his truck up to haul cattle as well as doing long haul furniture moving.
Roland worked at Lady Lake Pasture for Wayne Lowe for a time and then he went to Smoky Burm Pasture. After this he got a job close to home at the Hazel Dell PFRA Pasture where he worked for 33 seasons as a pasture rider until his retirement due to health issues. In 1987 Roland met Lynn Kardynal when she required his services of breaking and training a horse. A relationship began, and after a long courtship, they were married in August of 1996 on the ranch. Together Roland and Lynn purchased one more quarter of land together to add to the ranch. The home quarter was sold in 2021 and Roland and Lynn moved to town. The other two quarters were sold separately in previous years. Roland trained and broke many horses for others over the years. A couple of part-time riders at the Hazel Dell Pasture, Dale Fehr and Paul Plante, became Roland’s partners in these endeavours. Roland met both men as they worked side-by-side at the pasture for a season or two. Roland built a cabin in the yard to use as a guest house for a riding stable. This cabin became a rental for hunters and snowmobilers and used for various get-aways. He later dreamed up a rodeo act, which was then sponsored by the Painted Hand Casino. Roland became the “One Armed Bandit”. He travelled to rodeos all over Saskatchewan and Manitoba and rode in many parades in both provinces with his faithful partners; his ponies, Teddy and Bobby, and even his beloved Jack Russell Terriers. He developed a comedy tractor act that he performed at Western Days a couple of seasons. Roland lived a full life in his 77 years saying he was blessed.
Roland is predeceased by his mother and father, Genevieve and Norman Larsen; brothers, Larry Larsen, Greg Sawkiw; uncle and aunt, Donny and Eileen Anderson; aunt, Mabel Dyck; and his second parents, Don and Doreen Mitchell. Roland is survived by his wife, Lynn; daughters, Laurie Anne Hammerstrom, Lynn (Mark) Degano, Sheri (Colin) Masko, Crystal (Nathan) Draper; step-son, Devin Kardynal; and step-daughter, Cara (Bart) Schnieder; grandchildren, Shayna (Steven) Geistlinger, Travis and Teya Hartley, Corbin , Kalen, and Colin Schneider, Sarah Masko, Wyatt Degano, Claire Masko, Owen Draper, Rhett Degano, Danae Draper; greatgrandchildren, Sterling and Oliver Hartley; and his sister, Joanne Smart; as well as nephews and nieces.
With Roland's love for children, having never lost the child within himself, he always supported and encouraged their efforts saying, "ain't no such thing as can't". He applauded "grit and try" believing and living that in his own life, and that if you put your heart and mind to a dream you can make it happen. To that end, memorials in memory of Roland may be made to the Lion's Western Weekend for Kids Events and to the Music and Athletic programs at the Preeceville and Sturgis schools.