Wall of Honor to add Larkin, Rostermundt
The Parsons Wall of Honor ceremony is just days away, and the Parsons College Alumni Association and the Parsons College Foundation Board is inviting alumni, friends and family to the event, which is at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center’s Stephen Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts.
In addition to the ceremony, a weekend of fun activities starts at 3 p.m. Friday at the Fairfield Golf & Country Club — preregistration is recommended.
For more information, contact Dave Neff, president of the Parsons College Foundation Fund at 919-4640.
The Ledger will feature two of the 10 honorees each day in the lead up to the ceremony. Today, William Larkin and Merlin “Merlie” Rostermundt are honored.
William Larkin, ’66
Graduating from Parsons College in 1966, Larkin attributes his business success to the relationships he established during his college career. Larkin said he met people from various backgrounds and he had fabulous professors, who spent time with him and who were genuinely interested in his success.
“My four years at Parsons opened a whole new worldly outlook of possibilities,” he said.
Larkin’s journey started fresh out of high school when he was on his way to a Detroit community college and he decided to accept a football scholarship from Parsons. He said that decision opened up a new world for a “kid from modest means [with] average grades.”
While at Parsons, Larkin played three years of football, he was the president of the Letterman’s Club for two years, a Gold Key and Omicron member and he belonged to the Phi Sigma Epsilon fraternity.
After graduation, he was drafted into the United States Army and entered Officer Candidate School. He served as a transportation officer and company commander in Europe and Southeast Asia.
It was there that Larkin got his first taste of the transportation and logistics field. Following his service to the country, Larkin’s familiarity with logistics paid off, as it led to a near 30-year career with F.X. Coughlin — a global provider of integrated logistics services — from 1974-2003. Larkin became the executive vice president and principal of F.X.
Around eight years ago, Larkin spread his wings while simultaneously fulfilling his passion for sports. Larkin is the founder of PASS Charters, an air charter management firm, which provides services to the collegiate market. PASS Charter transports various sports teams of more than 40 colleges — including Notre Dame, Michigan State, Vanderbilt and Duke universities. In addition to PASS, Larkin is a minority partner in the ownership of two professional minor league baseball teams, the Connecticut Tigers and the Biloxi Shuckers.
Despite his busy schedule, Larkin also finds time to engage in philanthropic activities including nonprofit organizations Forgotten Harvest and Troops First, both of which he serves as a board member.
Larkin and his wife Cathie have one son. The couple divides their time between Naples, Florida, and Bloomington Hills, Michigan.
Dick Barton will present Larkin to the Wall of Honor.
Merlin Rostermundt, ’52
Some might call Rostermundt a renaissance man. Since graduating from Parsons in 1952, he’s been an educator, a banker and even the mayor of Ireton. After graduating from Manning High School, Rostermundt headed to Iowa State University on a basketball scholarship. However, Rostermundt wasn’t happy at ISU, and he transferred to Parsons on the same scholarship. Rostermundt lettered in three sports, and he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in zoology. During his college career, Rostermundt developed a string of stories about head basketball coach O.B. Nelson.
Immediately after graduation, Rostermundt joined the Fairfield High School faculty as a science and history teacher. He was later named assistant football coach, becoming the head men’s basketball coach. Four years later, he moved to Ireton and held the position of principal and head basketball coach at Ar-We-Va High School in Westside. It was during this time that he also began a 20-year stint as a high school and small-college football and basketball referee. He later accepted the role as principal for West Sioux Elementary School. He continued his educational pursuits and was awarded a Master of Education degree in administration from the University of South Dakota in Vermilion, South Dakota, in 1966.
After the passing of a friend and surrounding circumstances, Rostermundt switched gears — embarking on a business career. He became the chairman of the Ireton Development Corporation, was a member of the Ireton City Council for four years and he held the position of city clerk for 21 years. Rostermundt even served a term as town mayor. Rostermundt also served at the executive vice president of Security Savings Bank and he also served as president of the Ireton-Craig Insurance Agency.
Until recently, Rostermundt and his family spent their winters in McAllen, Texas. Rostermundt became very active in his golf community. He is also an active supporter of a number of local activities, including West Sioux High School events, and can be seen frequently at Friday night Falcons football games. He and his Manning High School sweetheart, who has been his wife for 66 years, have two daughters, one son and seven grandchildren.
Rostermundt’s daughter, Monica Verros will present him to the Wall of Honor.