Patricia Larson

Obituary of Patricia Lois Larson

To know Patricia “Pat” Larson was truly a privilege.  She embodied love and a sense of kindness, compassion and respect that will resonate eternally within all of those she touched.

Loving daughter to Emily (Hickey);  devoted Sister to Marjorie (Grace); partner for life to Husband Howard (Larson);  dutiful Daughter-In-Law to Eva (Larson); amazing Mother to Howard Kenneth “Kenny” Jr. , Kevin and Craig; exceptional Grandmother “NANA” to Lyndsay Rae (Gowan) and Jasmine (Larson); doting Great-Grandmother to Piper Patricia (Gowan); proud Mother-In-Law to Lori (Wood-Larson), Renee (Larson) and Michael (Hann) and grateful Grandmother-In-Law to Josh (Gowan); gracious Sister-In-Law to Barbara and Robert (Porter), Shirley and Bill (Osbrink), Bob (Grace); dedicated Aunt to Jeff, Marcia, Andria and Guy (Grace), Karla and Karen (Porter), Christie, Kelly and Willie (Osbrink);  thoughtful and kind Aunt Pat to countless Grand Nieces and Nephews; and great Friend to any and all who entered her orbit.

Born and raised in Palo Alto, CA, Mom excelled at her studies and badminton (gold medal winner) and enjoyed helping her Mom around the house and hanging out with big Sister Marjorie, her best friend and protector.  She loved to tell the story about the neighborhood bully who blocked the sidewalk one time too often and ended up with a broken nose thanks to Marjorie.  When confronted by the bully’s mother, Nana stated that if he got in their way again, the result would be the same.  Strong and courageous women, ahead of their time.

Always one who was truly dedicated to care for others, Mom enrolled in St. Luke’s Nursing School in the Mission District of San Francisco, CA.  She fulfilled her life-long dream of following in the footsteps of her Mom and Sister, living to take care of everyone who needed her – family, friends, patients, and the occasional pet that was foisted upon her by us kids (she always said she wanted to come back as one of Kevin’s dogs or my cats ‘-).  At St. Luke’s she also met her dear and life-long  friend Donna Montgomery. 

It was soon after becoming a Nurse that Mom met the absolute one and only love of her life, Howard Kenneth Larson.  Dad was fresh out of MIT, an up-and-coming Rocket Scientist for NASA.  Mom always said that getting to know Dad was like, “…catching a comet by the tail!”.  He was the only one she ever dated, met him on a blind date and knew after he called for a second date that she would marry him – and they made a most wonderful pair.  In good times raising a family and building “The Cabin” together, creating a foundation that lasts to this day.  In more challenging times helping to care for Mother Emily, Mother-In-Law Eva, Sister Marjorie and Husband Howard when they needed her most.  She taught us all how to be good friends and caretakers for the people and creatures that we love, to always strive to make the world a better place for all.

Mom’s career resumed after a hiatus to raise three boys (four, counting Dad) when she lost a bet with Dad on how to spell badminton (do not forget the first “n”).  Her kids were old enough and she had to pay up so she began working the swing shift at Westgate Convalescent Center in San Jose, CA, as the Supervising Nurse.  Dad was so proud when Mom went back to work as they were 100% supportive of each other’s passions and endeavors.  She always made sure dinner was ready to go in the fridge with a 3x5 card attached to the casserole dish – in the oven at 350 degrees, 30 minutes – so we could make sure dinner was served hot and on time!  Anytime one of her patients passed away, the family was given a personally written note about their loved one and how much their visits meant to them and of any happy stories Mom could include.  She even brought a couple patients home for Christmas when they had nowhere else to go.  Lessons in grace and compassion by example.

Living life in Saratoga, CA in the 60’s and 70’s was an idyllic experience – a modern-day Mayberry, RFD for sure.  Friends and neighbors in Gerneil Court like Herb & Nell Richards, Joanna Smith, Gary & Kathy Sozzi, Betsy & Paul Feisthamel, Dr. Charles & Patricia Rennell, Jack & Mary Lou Taylor, Bob & Carol Heeter and Skip & Linda Shaw along with all the various generations of offspring made it a special place to raise a family.  Having previously spent time in Cupertino, CA, Mom and Dad have been lifelong members of the Union Church of Cupertino – Dad as a Deacon, Mom working in the church office.  Mom especially loved the community outreach programs provided by the church like Friends Outside and programs for homeless families.

Having spent her entire life in California, Mom loved nothing better than the sun on her face and a book in her hands.  As long as she had a comfortable chair and a deck like the ones at The Cabin in Pioneer, CA or The Dome in La Selva Beach, CA, she would happily chase the sun until it finally disappeared behind the trees.  She was able to live the life in retirement that she and Dad planned for at The Cabin, spending time with decades-long friends Norm and Pat Edwards and volunteering her time at the childcare center across from the lumber mill.  As a Safety Professional it concerned me when Mom explained that her way of protecting the children on the playground was to position herself to catch them if they ever fell of the equipment…in her 70’s!  Thankfully the 2-to-5-year-olds were consummate aerialists and never needed to be saved.  Another example of selfless caring and love for others.

In later years, son’s Ken and Kevin gave Mom what she most desired all along, GRANDCHILDREN!  Sharing happiness and helping overcome life’s challenges with Lyndsay Rae and Jasmine became some of her life’s greatest works.  One of the reasons why both young ladies turned out to be the amazing people they continue to be is due in large measure to NANA.  The way that she accepted her Son-In-Law Mike into the family from the moment she met him was just another example of her giving heart.  She gave lovingly and accepted us all unconditionally, meeting us wherever we were on our journey, always making sure we knew we were loved and valued. 

Times became a bit more difficult health-wise in the final decade of Mom’s life, necessitating her move from Pioneer to La Selva Beach where she lived with Kevin and Jasmine under “the Dome”, adding great energy and life to an already kinetic household.  As she had always been there for us, Kevin and Jasmine - with an assist from Renee - jumped at the chance and made the best of every opportunity to help Mom feel important and loved while giving her the independence she needed.  Many of Jasmine’s friends and their families also brought Mom great joy and Kevin’s buddy Steve Elkins went above and beyond, bringing fresh cinnamon  rolls and cookies from Gayle’s (Mom’s favorite!), along with big smiles and bigger laughs every Sunday morning.  Mom cherished the love of family and friends and never missed a chance to be right in the middle of it all.

Just like the summer she spent with Lyndsay Rae at The Cabin, creating family scrapbooks and growing together, watching Jasmine become the awesome person she is gave her life meaning.  During our weekly phone conversations, she would sometimes ask why she was still here.  We joked about needing to stick around long enough to hear Kevin say “No” just once to Jasmine (never gonna happen), but we both knew deep down she was here for all of us, just the way she always has been and will continue to be.  If you were fortunate enough to have ever been touched by Mom/NANA/Aunt Pat she will forever be a part of you.

Just as she always left a note of comfort to the families of her patients at Westgate, please accept these words as your note from Mom.  She loved all of you deeply and appreciated your being part of her life.  Through all the trials that life put her through, your support and love when she needed you most was so very much appreciated.  The visits, phone calls, cards and everything you did for her mattered in ways that can never be expressed.  On behalf of my entire family, we want to thank you for sharing her amazing journey with us and know that we are all the better for knowing and remembering Patricia Lois Larson.

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