Mary Ann Larson, 96, of Benson died on December 17, 2020, at Bethesda Grand in Willmar. Interment will be in the Swenoda Cemetery, Swenoda Township with a celebration of life to be held at a later date. Zniewski Funeral Home of Benson is assisting the family with arrangements. Mary Ann Genevieve (Goulson) Larson was born at home on September 9, 1924 in Swenoda Township, Swift County, to Thomas and Mathilda (Oddan) Goulson. She was baptized on October 12, 1924 and confirmed on May 8, 1938 at Mandt Lutheran Church. She graduated from Milan High School in June 1942 and graduated from Montevideo Teacher Training in June 1943. She graduated with distinction from the University of Minnesota, Morris on August 21, 1970 with a degree in elementary education. She married Lawrence Larson on September 29, 1945 at Mandt Lutheran Church, and they were married 74 years. They lived and farmed in Swenoda Township until moving to Benson in 1990. Mary Ann taught school for 39 years, including 25 years as a kindergarten teacher at Southside Elementary, Benson. Before joining Benson Public Schools, she taught at rural School Districts 49 and 94, one room country school houses. She particularly valued education and encouraged young people to complete their education. She put on countless Christmas programs for her students throughout the years. Mary Ann retired from teaching in June 1990. Mary Ann was an active member of Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church in Benson. She participated in women’s group (ORW), fitness group, and quilting group at church for many years. She had many hobbies and activities which she enjoyed, including baking, sewing, quilting, singing, attending concerts, and playing the piano and organ. She and her husband enjoyed two trips to Norway, and also visited Hawaii and Alaska. She loved to shop for a bargain, and she knew the value of a dollar, having grown up during the depression. She was kind and had great empathy for those around her. She was a member of several organizations, including Sons of Norway, retired Southside teachers, Westwood breakfast group, and Red Hat group. She especially loved baking cookies and cakes. Her scalloped potatoes with ham hotdish was legendary, and she never arrived anywhere without homemade food. Mary Ann is survived by two sons: Thomas (Mary) Larson of Chincoteague Island, Va., and William (Rich Space) Larson of Minneapolis; grandchildren: Jennifer (David) Hall and Stephanie (Mikael) Hanson; great-grandchildren: Arabella, Fredric, and Jocelyn; sister: Constance (Ronald) Hanson of Willmar; sisters in-law: Dawn Goulson of Montevideo, Anne Miller of St. Cloud and Louise Larson of Rochester; and cousins, nieces, nephews, and other relatives and friends. Preceding her in death were her husband, Lawrence; her parents: Mathilda and Thomas Goulson; and her brothers Richard and Hilton Goulson. Suggested memorials are Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church designated fund for Digital Outreach Ministry, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library (West Central Minnesota affiliate) promoting literacy, or Ophthalmology Teaching and Research Development Fund at the University of Minnesota Medical School.
Posted online on December 23, 2020