Eleanor Jeanette Larson was born on September 25, 1930, to Oswald and Gunda (Pederson) Klukken in the southeast upstairs bedroom of the farm house built by her grandfather in Gordon Township 6 miles east of Osakis, Minnesota. She was baptized and confirmed at Elim Lutheran Church in rural Osakis and attended District #63 “country” school for 8 years before moving on to High School in Osakis. She told of being disappointed that she didn’t get to ride the bus because her dad was the bookkeeper at Osakis Creamery so she got rides to school with him. In high school she participated in vocal and instrumental music, “loved bookkeeping and typing classes” and “had a Red Cross Home Health class for six weeks my Senior year that was to profit me more than I’d ever know in the future”. She graduated from high school on May 28, 1948.
A couple other brief quotes from reminiscences that she has shared with the family say a lot about her course in life. She recalled cuddling her Sears Roebuck doll as an 8 or 9 year old and thinking “I really want to be a Mommy” and she also recollects “then came December 26, 1945 and a special guy named Loren Arthur Larson came into my life”. Eleanor and Loren were married at Elim on April 24, 1949, and to that union were born 9 children between 1950 and 1966. They initially farmed on rental property (without running water or a bathroom in the house!) until the fall of 1958 when they purchased the “Klukken” home farm from Eleanor’s parents and she was back in the same house that she had grown up in and would stay there until finally moving to assisted living in Osakis in the fall of 2022 after facing the debilitating effects of Myasthenia Gravis for a number of years.
Mom was the epitome of the Proverbs 31 woman as she raised her children and supported Dad on the farm. Their lives were grounded in their faith in Jesus and a breakfast Bible reading and prayer devotional time was started early in their marriage and continued throughout their lives. We never heard her complain about the endless daily chores of laundry (including cloth diapers for all the kids when they were babies, a hand ringer washer and ironing) and food provision/preparation (baking bread and buns, growing a garden, raising chickens to butcher, and canning fruit sauces, tomatoes and dill pickles). She sewed many of our clothes (including sometimes making matching outfits for two or more of us), she also did lots of “mending” and she quilted (more and more as the number of kids at home dwindled). One of the big moments at the wedding receptions of each of her 25 married grandchildren has been opening the package with Gramma’s Quilt! As her children grew she encouraged them to be involved in church, school and community activities and was always their biggest cheerleader and supporter and that support continued on to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren in later years. Besides her household she supported her husband in his farm work too doing chores including milking on occasions when he was busy with field work, providing field “lunches” when he was out in the fields throughout a day, running errands, and keeping a good set of financial books to satisfy the tax accountants and bankers!
Eleanor also shared and practiced her skills outside the home in many ways from singing in the choir at Elim to leading and helping out with “Ladies Aid” (today known as women’s ministries in many churches), and teaching Sunday School. She, along with Dad, was a long time 4-H leader for the Peppy Peppers 4-H Club, they served as chaperones on a couple of OHS band trips to Winnipeg and they hosted a foreign student from Brazil. She helped organize a number of family reunions and was always hosting or helping host family gatherings for holidays and other occasions. In the early 1970’s she and Dad were also among the founding members and leaders of Berea Lutheran Brethren church in Alexandria where they attended and served until Dad died in October of 1995. She continued to be involved there until advancing age and more limited mobility led her to return to Elim in her final years. She really enjoyed being part of a community quilting group and a regular prayer group too in the years after Loren died.
Eleanor and Loren took a long driving honeymoon trip to California and had plans to travel more but the farm and a large family limited their opportunities. Even with those limitations, there were some trips to the Minnesota State Fair, a driving trip to Dunseith, North Dakota, visiting friends and relatives along the way, and day trips to many locations to visit relatives and friends. After the kids were grown they even managed to make a trip to visit Japan where their daughter, LaRue, was teaching English! After Dad passed, Mom continued to drive around the state to visit her family, fly out east to visit family in Connecticut, and even managed a trip to Norway to see relatives and a trip to England with Cindy’s family! But she enjoyed being at home too and family and friends were always welcome at the farm and a steady stream across multiple generations was always happy to spend some time there. Blessed be our memories of Mom/Grandma/Great-Grandma!
She died peacefully on August 24, 2023, at Alomere Hospital in Alexandria, just a day short of 92 years and 11 months of age. She is survived by her 9 children: Jerome (Ruth) of Minneapolis, Vicky (Les) LaMotte of Burnsville, LaRue of Fergus Falls, Cindy (Warren) Geraghty of Winsted, Connecticut, Sheldon (Julie) Larson of Osakis, Verna (Bert) Rogness of Astoria, SD, Nolan (June) Larson of Grand Rapids, MN, Adeline (Todd) Owen of Alexandria, and Lynette (Dave) Holm of Alexandria; 28 grandchildren; 81 great-grandchildren; Three sisters: Ruth (Vernon-deceased) Edlund of Ashby, Doris (David) Walter of Eagan, and Arlys (Cornell) Svaren of Fergus Falls; A brother-in-law: Donald (Orpha- deceased) Raun; A sister-in-law: Ina (Wayne- deceased) Larson: cousins and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, Loren, her parents (Oswald and Gunda), a granddaughter (Emilie Ann Larson), a grandson-in-law (Joseph Grantmeyer), a sister (Orpha Raun), 2 sisters-in-law (Irene Klukken and Norma Larson) and 4 brothers-in-law (Vernon Edlund, Philip Klukken, Orville Larson, and Wayne Larson).
The family wants to thank the caring staff at Galeon Westview, Osakis, for their attention to Mom’s needs during the past 11 months and to Dr. Nathan Nelson and Alomere Hospital Staff who cared for her in her final few days.
A Visitation will take place on Thursday, August 31, 2023, at Elim Lutheran Church, 16307 141st Ave, Osakis, MN 56360, from 4-7 PM with a Time of Sharing beginning at 7 PM.
A Funeral Service will be held on Friday, September 1, 2023, at Osakis Lutheran Church in Osakis, MN at 11 AM with a visitation one hour prior to the service at the Osakis Lutheran Church.
Interment will be in the Elim Lutheran Church Cemetery.