Sanford J. Larson was born in Chicago, Illinois on April 9, 1929. He is a graduate of Wheaton College in Illinois (B.A., 1950) and Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois (M.D., 1954; Ph.D. in Anatomy, 1962). After serving an internship at Passavant Memorial Hospital in Chicago (1954-55), he took his residency in neurosurgery at Northwestern University (1955-57, 1959-61).
He served in the U.S. Air Force Medical Corps from 1957 to 1959. In 1961, he was awarded a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship and also served as Clinical Assistant in Surgery at the Northwestern University School of Medicine. In 1962, he was appointed Director of Neurosurgical Education at Cook County Hospital, Chicago, Illinois.
In 1963, Dr. Larson was appointed Associate Professor and Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery, Marquette School of Medicine (now Medical College of Wisconsin), Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and was Professor and Chairman of that department until he retired in 1999.
He was a member of a number of professional organizations, including; The American Academy of Neurosurgery; American Association of Neurological Surgeons; The Society of University Surgeons; and served as President of The Cervical Spine Research Society in 1990.
Dr. Larson passed away on March 15, 2012 at the age of 82.