Geoffrey Larsson died at his home in Wellfleet on Sept. 25, 2021 after three and a half years fighting cancer. He was 66.
Geoff was born on Dec. 11, 1954, somewhere in New Jersey. He spent his first two years in an orphanage before being adopted by Ivar and Audrey Larsson. He grew up in Oakland, N.J. and spent his childhood summers with his family in Wellfleet.
After he graduated from high school, he settled in Wellfleet, working for many years as a cross-country semi-tractor trailer driver before driving for Triple A in Eastham. That ended when he fell sick with colon cancer in 2018.
As a young man, Geoff became fascinated by Native American culture and devoted himself to the study of the Mohawk way of life. When he was in his mid-30s, he began to attend the annual powwow of the Mohawk tribe in Charlemont, just west of Greenfield.
He so impressed the Mohawk elders with his understanding of Mohawk ways, said his partner, Andrea Slade, that he was invited to join the tribe. In Andrea’s account, one tribal elder, Peter Searching Owl, said to Geoff: “I feel that you are very sincere with what you are doing. I would like you to join the tribe.”
Peter became Geoff’s mentor, and over the years Geoff learned to drum and to dance in tribal rituals. “He even did a burial once,” Andrea said, “and he played awesome Native American flute.”
Geoff’s Mohawk name was “Swift Heron Hunting,” given to him because as an amateur photographer he was “always hunting pictures of herons.” Andrea reflected on how he used to bring his camera, named “Nickie Nikon,” with him on their walks, with the goal of “trying to get them slurping down fish.” As Geoff’s partner, Andrea was given the name “Andrea Redflower.”
Geoff’s two brief marriages provided him with three children. He adopted his first wife’s son, David, and they later had son Christopher together. His daughter, Joanna, was born in his second marriage.
Geoff was a good-hearted soul with a friendly word for everyone he met. “He almost made it a pilgrimage,” Andrea reported, “to go down to the pier to talk with the fishermen every day.”
The chemotherapy treatments that Geoff endured were extremely toxic. Andrea described his doctors’ amazement at his ability to sustain the treatment regimen for more than three years. On Aug. 10, the doctors said there was nothing more to be done, and gave him just days. He died six weeks later. “He was a trouper,” Andrea said.
Geoff is survived by his sons, David and Christopher Larsson; his daughter, Joanna Hampton of Greenfield; and his partner of 18 years, Andrea Slade of Wellfleet.
A Mohawk memorial ceremony officiated by Peter Searching Owl will be held in Wellfleet on a date to be determined.