Carol Ann Larson

 

Carol Ann (Claude) Larson was born on December 16th, 1935, to Wayne and Luella Claude of Rochester Minnesota. Carol was the oldest child with 3 younger brothers: Larry Claude of Nekoosa Wisconsin, John Claude of Walker Minnesota, and Tom Claude of Rochester Minnesota.

Carol and Ken met at a house party and dated for eight months, going ice skating, skiing, dancing, clam digging, movies and the theater. They married on May 16th, 1959, and had 4 children; David Larson, Tom Larson, Meredith Roe and Cynthia Larson; 6 grandchildren; Sarah DeBoy, Eric Larson, Elizabeth Roe, Christopher Roe, Ashley Larson, and Timothy Larson and one great grandchild, Ryleigh Grace Larson.

Carol started parochial school at the age of four and went all the way through 4 years of nursing school at the prestigious St. Mary’s school of nursing, that was attached to the Mayo clinic where she was at the top of her class. After school Carol, along with two of her good friends, came out to Seattle where she started her nursing career at Harborview Medical Center as a surgical nurse and ended her career, almost 50 years later, at Overlake Hospital in the mother/baby unit where she could partake in the happy part of nursing.

Throughout the years Carol kept busy raising the kids, nursing the whole neighborhood through broken bones, choking children, a baby delivery in the back of the car on the way to the hospital, dislocated shoulders and diagnosing colds, the flu, chicken pox, etc.… you name it and she probably helped someone with it!!  Carol was a Cub scout and Girl scout leader, on the PTA, a soccer coach, a softball coach, and an umpire. Carol also loved her garden and always had new ideas to implement in the yard. She was often busy in civic affairs, volunteering and tutoring at Hopelink in their GED program.

Carol, along with Ken frequently went to their grandchildren’s sporting events, even when it was raining. Carol was a good and involved mom who would give the kids enough space to make their own choices and sometimes mistakes. She also encouraged them to reach a little further, a little higher than they perhaps thought they could. She herself lived by a good moral compass which she taught to the kids along with the Golden Rule!

Carol was a talented and prolific knitter, crocheter and seamstress. She was also well known for her talent in the kitchen. It didn’t matter if she was cooking dinner or baking dessert, she knew what she was doing. In fact, Carol was good at just about everything she put her mind to!

Carol was preceded in death by her parents and eldest son David, and she will be missed very much by her whole family and the many friends, coworkers, and acquaintances she met along the way. Carol touched many lives in real and authentic ways and her absence will be felt for a very long time!

Mom was an amazing lady.  She was wickedly smart. While growing up we all knew not to bother her during the TV show Jeopardy. She used to get at least 90% of the questions right. I’m not even kidding!  We used to encourage her all the time to go on the show but she knew once the camera started rolling she would freeze up.  She was kind and compassionate which she demonstrated throughout her life in so many ways.

Mom was very talented with a needle whether it be sewing, crocheting or knitting.  She made such beautiful baby blankets and precious baby clothes to give as baby gifts to many.  Mom knitted each grandchild a special sweater, they were all so adorable. My favorite sweater being a baby blue with Big Bird from Sesame Street.

Mom volunteered a lot; she was involved in Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts when we were younger, transitioning to sports as we got older.  I still can’t figure out how she got the four of us to all of our practices and games. Mom wasn’t very athletic, not having the opportunity to participate in sports growing up. but she didn’t let that stop her.  During the early 70’s Kirkland began allowing girls to participate in organized sports.  Mom was all in, she coached 10-12 year old girls soccer.  Mom’s favorite saying as a coach was, “do as I say not what I do!”

She educated herself by buying books on coaching, rules and strategies.

Mom was very involved in the Kirkland Girls Softball Little League Program. Mom and Linda Fosse were the coaches in 1974 that led the girls softball team from Kirkland to the first World Series for girls in New York and placed second. After the World Series the girls program thrived.

The volunteers, coaches and players came together to build a softball field at 132nd and 132nd in Kirkland.  It still stands today but with several improvements over the years.

I’m going to miss you mom.  I miss picking up the phone just to talk about nothing and everything. You are forever in my heart.

 

Hi Mom,

I hardly know where to start. As I sit here trying to summarize your 86 years of life, I realize there’s so much more to you than I got to experience as your youngest child. I didn’t get to see the woman you were when you were tutoring people at Hopelink, helping them get their GED so they could achieve their dreams. But I heard about it! I heard how you connected with the folks in the program better than any of the other volunteers, and even became friends with some of them that lasted well beyond their program.    I didn’t get to experience you in the mother-baby unit at Overlake hospital, but I got to hear from your coworkers that they relied on you to be able to handle and take care of the “hard cases” with confidence, skill and compassion. They had a lot of respect for you and your talent. So did all the neighborhood! From the pregnant neighbor in labor, the various cuts and bruised kids to the next-door neighbor running her choking daughter over. They all knew where to go in an emergency.

Mom, what I did get to see was your quietness, your direct and honest astute observations.  I watched you be brave and heard stories about your brave acts. I’ve also witnessed your strength! But what was the most consistent about you was your kindness and generosity. You taught these things to us kids without knowing and probably without even trying. You were our model and we watched you interact with the world and the people in it.  Anyone who knows you has easily seen this within you.

Your generosity often took the form of the gifts you would sew in earlier years or knit in more current years. Your nephew Chris remembers the sweaters for Christmas and the one you made for his daughter, Sofia. It was her favorite for a long time!  I remember the hats with pompoms or the ski hats without. The white “popcorn” afghan that my toes did not stick through was a winner! But I must admit that my favorite blanket was the rainbow blanket that you crocheted me almost 40 years ago. I still have and use it.

You know what else I know about you mom? You were always there to talk to. Even though at times I was afraid to tell you what was going on, I knew when it was important enough or I was in enough pain, I did know I could come to you. The even greater thing about that was, I wasn’t the only one who knew that! You were there for MANY people. You were a solid, calm person that was open enough that people felt comfortable enough to come talk to you. You had a gift, and I will miss that a great deal!

Another gift you gave me was your love of books and reading. Although I confess to do more audio books these days than actually holding a book. I can’t remember a time when you didn’t have a book sitting next to you. I think you were a voracious reader because you were so curious! You seemed to love to learn. You were an excellent student! From the time you started parochial school at 4years old, all the way through nursing school at St. Mary’s, you were at the top of your class. To hear your brother tell it, Lourdes was not an easy school, and I didn’t get the feeling that he was just talking about the nuns! From where I sit mom, you excelled at most things you put your mind to. (Maybe not riding the motorcycle in the back yard, but you also weren’t afraid to try it either!) That’s another thing I remember about you, your bravery. You would see us kids doing something and you would want to do it. You took tennis lessons when Meredith and I were playing tennis. When I started skiing, you were the only one in the family that didn’t ski, so you took lessons! Do you remember skiing with me? I remember! I was watching you mom, you helped me be brave too.  You learned to play the guitar and when I was little I would sit on your bedroom floor and you would sing me the “Cindy song”, I LOVED when you played me that song. This is one of my very favorite memories of you mom. But you know what else?, you impressed me again when, at age 80, you took another guitar class! With an electric guitar!

You know when else you were brave? When you spoke up at Kim’s memorial service when the rest of the folks were too hesitant to start. You told me that Kim was too good of a person to not have someone speak about her at her service. I was grateful and remember being proud you were my mom. I wasn’t brave enough to speak that day and hoped maybe some of your courage would spread into me, and ya know what mom?, I think some did, eventually, Thank You!

I can’t speak to what my siblings experienced with you as their mom, but I do see the kind and generous people we, in our own ways, have all become. And yes, I know, that dad gets some credit here as well, but this letter is to you. Family was important to you and you brought us together, often around the dinner table, with excellent food (except maybe that one time with the dinner rolls turning out to be “bullets”) and you always looked happy to have us all together, especially after the grandkids were born and especially if there were presents to pass out! You loved to have the Christmas tree full of gifts. We were lucky to have you as our mom and dad was lucky to have you as his wife. You were our family’s glue and figuring out how to be without you might take us a little time.

Mom, you were my teacher, my example, my warning and sometimes my mirror. I hope I am able to carry on where you left off and to be the  presence in other peoples’ lives that you were to so many, including me. I try, and sometimes I succeed. You set the bar high, but, you have also taught me the courage to keep trying until I get there. I am everything because of you!

The huge void in my life, where you resided, will be a painful reminder of my inability to hear you speak to me anymore, but my heart remains full of love for you and through the memories I have of you, I will hopefully continue to be guided and comforted in your absence. I love you mom. And I miss you!

2 Responses to “Carol Ann Larson”

  • Tom Claude says:

    My big sister;
    I would have so much to say about you that it would fill a huge book. I don’t remember much about my early years with you because you were 16 years older than me. But from some things you have told me you took care of me as much as our mother did until you went off to nursing school. As we grew older even though we lived 2000 miles apart we grew a lot closer, our many long phone conversations into the night and talks when we visited each other will always be remembered fondly even though our worlds views differed somewhat.
    You have always held a chunk of my heart and will always be remembered.
    Your little brother Thomas.

  • char says:

    I met Carol for the first time in 1976. She was coming to stay with us and I was a little nervous about it as I had never met her before.
    As it turned out I found her to be very friendly and easy to be around. I have always been amazed at how much she could talk and talk about anything and everything didn’t matter what the subject was! And she always had a glass of water by her I’m sure to moisten her throat after all that talking. Over the years and our trips to Washington when the kids were little she always had something fun and perfectly planned out to do. Whale watching was one of the favorites.
    I was going through a box of things in the closet a few months ago and came across a “Big Bird” sweater that Carol had knitted. It has been around for 30 some years and has now been handed down to our grandchildren.
    Also can’t forget about the much appreciated boxes of Christmas cookies sent every year. I’m sure she spent many hours/days baking all those goodies! Well can’t say enough about someone that lived a very full life.

    RIP Carol

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