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Lowell O. Larson died peacefully of natural causes at age 95 on May 10, in Claremont, California. He was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and Lutheran minister.
A Celebration of Life service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 19, at Vinje Lutheran Church in Willmar, MN. Seating is reserved by visiting the church website at: www.vinjechurch.com Internment is at Mamrelund Lutheran Cemetery near Pennock, MN. In lieu of flowers, memorials to Vinje Lutheran Church, Willmar, MN; Pilgrim Place/ Resident Health Services and Support Fund, Claremont, CA. or Augsburg University, Minneapolis, MN. are preferred.
Lowell was born in Lac Qui Parle County, Minnesota on October 22, 1924. Lowell married Helen Akerson on April 28, 1946, and they had five children and 47 years of marriage until Helen’s death in 1993. After high school in Appleton, MN, Lowell graduated from Augsburg College and Luther Seminary in Minneapolis in 1948, He had a long career of 40 years as a Lutheran minister, serving three congregations. In 1948, Lowell assumed his first parish in Morris, Minnesota where he remained until 1960. He then accepted a call to First Lutheran Church of Northridge, California and remained there until 1974. That year he returned to Willmar, Minnesota where he served as pastor at Vinje Lutheran Church until 1989 when he retired.
Lowell and his wife Helen retired to Pilgrim Place in Claremont, California in 1989. They both loved this special retirement community and had been on a waiting list there for years before moving in 1989. Unfortunately, Helen suffered strokes and died at an early age of 74 in 1993. Lowell continued to enjoy Pilgrim Place, contributing in a strong, quiet and thoughtful way to the community and its values, often in leadership positions. He was very grateful for the abiding support of that community as he lived independently for decades and, over the last year of his life, in the assisted living and skilled nursing facilities.
Throughout his adult life, Lowell was an avid duck hunter. He loved his home state of Minnesota and during retirement, spent four months out of the year at the family cottage on Lake Florida, just outside of Willmar, MN. His close friend and companion, Betty Hess, joined him there for most of those summers. These summer months were filled with wonderful memories with his children, grandchildren, friends and neighbors. Lowell and Betty also traveled extensively, including several trips to Norway.
Lowell loved a good conversation. He was attracted to Pilgrim Place because of its shared values and diversity of perspectives on Christianity and current events. He was known throughout his ministry over 40 years for being open minded, a good listener, and a gentle guide as people confronted questions of faith and life. Lowell was a longstanding member of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Claremont.
For the past twenty years, Lowell developed a deep love and appreciation for Shakespeare. In early February 2020, he was honored in Claremont for two decades of leadership in establishing and nurturing informal groups to read and act the plays of Shakespeare. As one participant in those groups wrote: “Over the last 19 years, I have met an incredible group of people because of him, all the while nourishing our passion for Shakespeare and Elizabethan theatre. He was a model for the idea that retirement from work does not mean putting the brain on hold. “
Lowell is survived by five children and their extended families—Ted Larson of Eureka, CA; Thom Larson of Ojai, California; Carol Larson of Santa Cruz, CA; Eric Larson of Morro Bay, CA and Evan Larson of Salt Lake City Utah. He also is celebrated by eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He was lovingly referred to as “the grand one” by grandchildren and “the great one” by his great grandchildren.
Lowell’s family will forever cherish his memory, remembering one of his favorite lines from e.e. cummings poetry: “i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)”
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