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Mildred Ethel Larson

Mildred Ethel Larson, age 95, formerly of Waverly, died Friday, July 18, 2008, at Good Samaritan Fort Collins Village in Colorado.

She was born Sept. 5, 1912, on a small farm in Waverly, the only child of Frank and Dora (Krause) Wandersee.

At the age of 14, Mildred won a raffle for a new Essex automobile at the 1926 Wright County Fair in Howard Lake. Since Mildred was too young to drive, her parents sold the car they had been driving and used the new one.

After completing high school, Mildred studied piano for three years at the Macphail School of Music in Minneapolis, from which she graduated in the early 1930s. After learning that there was a need for a good piano teacher in the small towns around Roseau, Minn., Mildred moved there and taught piano for five or six years.

While in Roseau, she met a young teacher, Milton E. Larson, who taught school in a one-room schoolhouse outside of the nearby town of Warroad. They were married Aug. 27, 1939.

Milton and Mildred built their first house in Robbinsdale. Then, Pearl Harbor was attacked and they soon found themselves living in Champaign, Ill., where Milton taught at Rantoul Air Force Base. Later, they moved to Port Orchard, Wash., while Milton worked as a machinist at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.

About a year after World War II ended, Milton and Mildred were agin living in Minneapolis, and their only child, Robert, was born Dec. 21, 1946.

They continued to live in Robbinsdale until 1957, after which they lived in Flint, Mich. for five years, and St. Petersburg, Fla. for two years as Milton advanced in his teaching career. In 1966, Milton became a professor at Colorado State University, and the family moved to Fort Collins, Colo. Throughout Milton’s 40-year career in education, Mildred provided invaluable support, which helped him to achieve his goals.

Mildred was a member of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Fort Collins, Colo. for more than 40 years.

After Milton died in 1987, Mildred continued to live in their house until she was more than 92 years old, although severe macular degeneration of the retina caused her to be legally blind during those years. Help from neighbors and some members of her church allowed her to continue living by herself until 2004, when she moved to Good Samaritan Fort Collins Village.

Mildred liked music, flowers, birds, and travel. She and Milton visited most parts of the US, as well as parts of Europe and China.

Mildred is survived by her son, Robert A. Larson of Portland, Ore., and Robert’s longtime companion and Mildred’s good friend, Nancy Webster; cousins; nieces; and nephews.

A funeral service took place Tuesday, July 29 at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Fort Collins, Colo., followed by interment at Grandview Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Larimer County Humane Society in care of Bohlender Funeral Chapel, 121 W. Olive, Fort Collins, CO 80524. Online condolences may be made at bohlenderfuneralchapel.com