Students remember Ogden teacher who died in Willard Bay

OGDEN, Utah -- Weber Innovation High School students and graduates are remembering a well-known teacher who died in Willard Bay this week.

The body of 46-year old Brandon Larsen was recovered Wednesday morning, after authorities said he went missing while stand up paddle boarding on Sunday.

"You're in shock someone like that can just disappear," said Naomi Elmer, who just graduated from Weber Innovation High School this year.

Elmer said the high school is an early college online school. She and fellow graduate Shade Nelson said it's a small, close-knit school.

According to the Weber School District, Larsen taught business and computer programming, and had worked for the school district for more than a decade.

"He started a little club for his kids because he loved them, he loved their interest," Elmer said, referring to interest in computer programming. "He wanted them to be passionate about it, he wanted to help them as best as he could."

Their school community learned Wednesday morning that Larsen, described by family as a father and veteran, passed away in Willard Bay.

At first, park staff found a chair, sandals, beach towel and car keys on the beach Sunday evening, but didn't know who the items belonged to.

"A lot of people will leave stuff behind,"James Morgan, Willard Bay State Park Manager explained . "We didn't know at the time anything of it."Tuesday morning, staff realized a vehicle later figured out as belonging to Larsen, had been sitting in the lot a couple days.

The discovery sparked a search by authorities and Larsen's family. Utah State Parks said crews found Larsen's cell phone in a dry bag in the water.

Wednesday morning, in the same area as where the cell phone was recovered, Morgan said a search party member found Larsen's body.

"We were able to locate him from shore," Morgan said. "One of the people involved in the search contacted us and we went, were able to recover him."

At this point, Utah State Parks said they're investigating Larsen's death as an apparent drowning.

"We know that there was a storm that came in Sunday evening that might have been a contributing factor," Morgan said.

The paddle board is still missing, and Morgan said anyone who may have seen Larsen or his white and green inflatable Dave Scadden Paddlesports paddle board should call Utah State Parks.

As their investigation continues, Larsen's school community is heartbroken over the loss of the man they knew as a devoted teacher.

"He was a phenomenal teacher," Nelson said. "He was just that type of guy that would go out of his way to talk to anybody at school."