Pauline B. Larson

Pauline B. Larson
Pauline B. Larson

Pauline B. Larson, 89, of McFarland, passed away on Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014, after a very short stay at Agrace HospiceCare. She was born on March 8, 1925, in Breckenridge, Minn., the daughter of Iver M. Kalnes and Anna (nee Wangsnes) Kalnes.

Together with her family, Pauline settled in McFarland in 1934, a community she called home for 80 years. Her childhood in McFarland was centered around a loving family of her parents, two brothers and two sisters. The caring, values and traditions learned from her family, school teachers and the McFarland Lutheran Church carried Pauline throughout her life.

Pauline graduated from Madison East High School in the spring of 1942 and attended Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, that fall. During her first year at Luther, Pauline met her future husband, Curt Larson, who was in his junior year. At the end of the school year, Curt enlisted in the U.S. Navy during World War II, while Pauline returned to McFarland, at which time she enrolled at the University of Wisconsin and worked at Ray-O-Vac in support of the war effort.
Pauline and Curt were married on Feb. 18, 1945, at the McFarland Lutheran Church while Curt was on leave from the Navy. After the war was over, Pauline and Curt returned to Luther College and in 1947 they became the first married couple at Luther to graduate together.

Pauline’s life of a home-maker and mother began in the late 1940s and early 1950s with the births of her three children, Kurt, Maryanne and Ron. She created a nurturing home environment that was loving, supportive and educational, with a large dose humor. As her children grew, Pauline’s role as the “hearth” of the family continued as she became a grandmother and a great-grandmother.

Pauline was an extremely good cook and baker, with the aromas of freshly baked cookies, cinnamon rolls and wonderful dinners filling all four corners of the house. Friends of the children would ask how the house always smelled like cookies.

Since 1934, the McFarland Lutheran Church was a center of Pauline’s life. As a teen, she was involved in the Luther League and as an adult, she was a member of the Pricilla Circle, the Ladies Aid/Women of the Church and the Altar Guild. Pauline was a Sunday school teacher for many years and for a couple of decades, she was the co-director of the annual smorgasbord dinner where she would wear her beautiful Norwegian bunad. In 1975, Pauline was the author of the updated history of the church. The original church history was written by her father, Iver.

Besides the church, Pauline served her beloved community of McFarland in additional ways. She was a charter member of the McFarland Historical Society, was an officer on the local PTA and for six years (1965-1971) served on the McFarland School Board, the first woman in McFarland to do so.

Tradition was very important to Pauline. Her home reflected her pride in her Norwegian heritage with rosemaling, Norwegian textiles, photos, paintings, music and wood carvings. Her Christmas Eve dinners of lutefisk, meatballs and lefse, along with krumkake, rosettes and sandbakkels were passed down from her Norwegian-born mother. Pauline continued the Norwegian custom at New Year’s by opening the backdoor to let the old year out and then opening the front door to welcome the new year in. Her deep interest in her family history brought her to Norway on several occasions to visit aunts, uncles and cousins.

Pauline was an avid reader, loved her flower gardens, dabbled in re-finishing and needlework, was a very good rosemaler, and she was the family and local historian.

But first and foremost, Pauline was mother and grandmother (“Grammy Pink House”). She cared for each and every one of us tremendously. She took great pride in our accomplishments and great sadness in our sorrows. She was the ultimate caretaker, teacher and role model. She will be forever missed.

Pauline is survived by her children, Kurt Larson (Diane) of Kenosha, Maryanne Larson Spradling (David) of Pacific Grove, CA, and Ron Larson (DeAnn), of McFarland, six grandchildren, Heather Larson(Doug Alger) of McFarland, Sonja Larson-Bartee (Justin Bartee) of Foster City, CA, Christopher Spradling of Healdsburg, CA, Karl Larson of Brooklyn, NY, Lars-Erik Larson of St. Paul, MN, and Leif Larson, a student at Luther College in Decorah, IA, great grandson Iver Bartee of Foster City, CA, and many nieces and nephews.

Pauline was preceded in death by her parents and husband, brothers Irving Kalnes and Ras Kalnes, sisters Ruth Jacobson and Mary Roberts, sister-in-law Donna Kalnes, brothers-in-law Curt Jacobson and Robin Roberts, daughter-in-law Margaret Rossing Larson, nephew David Kalnes and step-grandson Eric Spradling.

Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, at the McFarland Lutheran Church with the Rev. Tim Dean officiating. Burial will follow in the Upper McFarland Cemetery. A visitation will be held at the church from 1 p.m. until the time of the service. A gathering of family and friends will take place at the church fellowship hall following the burial.

In lieu of flowers, please make contributions to the McFarland Lutheran Church, 5529 Marsh Rd., McFarland, WI, 53558, or Agrace HospiceCare, 5395 E. Cheryl Parkway, Fitchburg, WI, 53711.

Soli Deo Gloria!