Mary Elizabeth (Perkins) Larson passed peacefully on Nov. 10, 2019, in Billings, at the age of 90. An only child, she was born May 12, 1929 in Gebo, Wyoming, to Gerald and Hannah Perkins.
She grew up where her family lived in Thermopolis, Wyoming. She attended local schools, graduating with honors from Thermopolis High School. She went on to graduate from the University of Colorado School of Nursing. All of this while surviving the Great Depression.
It was in Thermopolis where she met and married the love of her life, Jim Larson. The first five years of their married lives found them on the move as Jim’s work with Commonwealth Electric took them through North Dakota, Nebraska and finally Billings. With their growing family, they wanted to stay in one place. Flipping through the yellow pages, Jim stumbled across Yellowstone Electric and, over the years, he advanced from electrician to business owner, all the while with Mary at his side supporting him.
They started their family and had three children: Steve Larson, Callie (Larson) Jackson and Pete Larson. Mary loved being a mother, but occasionally took a job as a nurse.
Mary was a lifelong supporter of her children’s activities. If music was involved, you could be certain that Mary would be in attendance. She was known as the Little League scorekeeper. She and Jim attended countless football, basketball, track and gymnastics events. They had season seats for Billings West basketball long after their children were off to college.
Mary loved music, whether it was giving piano lessons to neighborhood children or attending the Symphony. School programs were always on her agenda. She was known to gather a group of her friends and sing the night away — sometimes disrupting her children’s sleep. She was a character.
Once her children were grown, Mary and Jim transferred their attendance at these music and athletic events to that of their grandchildren. They attended elementary, high school and college performances: from the Children’s Chorale to college recitals in Colorado; from post season high school athletics to the University of Oregon football in Oregon. Retirement afforded them the time to travel and enjoy these events, regardless of distance.
Mary and Jim enjoyed traveling and journeyed through the Panama Canal, Northern Africa, parts of Europe, and attended both summer and winter Olympics in Los Angeles and Canada. Jim’s participation with the IBEW/NECA took them on numerous travel adventures. Stories abound regarding family camping adventures.
She was a lifelong member of the Episcopal Church. Mary was the organist for a time, but was most dedicated to the Women’s Guild and helping with receptions, the Altar Guild and as a greeter.
Mary was a loyal friend to many and is sorely missed by them and her family. She is preceded in death by her husband of 60 years, Jim Larson; her parents; and a great-grandson, Sam Booher Larson. Survivors include three children, Steve Larson (Barbara), Callie Larson Jackson (Bil), Pete Larson (Lori); five grandchildren, Drew Larson (Brittany), Kenzie Larson Dettman (Matthew), Cassie Jackson, Hannah Jackson, Carter Jackson; two step-grandchildren, Jill Fox and Scott Fox; two great-grandchildren, Adalyn and Riley Larson; and two step-great-grandchildren, Aubrie Fox and Gary Fox.
May we find comfort in knowing that Mary has been reunited with friends and family who have passed before her. As we wish Godspeed for Mary, a toast with a glass of her favorite Oregon chardonnay may be in order.
Mary’s service will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30, at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 1241 Crawford Drive, Billings.