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1931 Wanda "Lois" Larson 2023

Wanda Lois Larson

November 19, 1931 — January 25, 2023

Liberty

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Wanda “Lois” Larson, 91, of Liberty Missouri, and formerly a longtime resident of Sturgis and Wakonda, South Dakota, entered heaven on January 25th, 2023. Forever faithful to God, Lois was a steward of the gift of music and was a friend to everyone, everywhere. 

Visitation will be at 9:30AM at the Hansen Funeral Chapel in Irene, South Dakota, Monday, January, 30th, with Services beginning at 10:30am.  Also, Visitation will be held at 9:00AM at the United Methodist Church in Sturgis, South Dakota, Tuesday, January 31st, followed by a Service at 10:00AM and internment at the Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis. 

Born November 19, 1931, to Frank and Libby (Jellen) Zahnen, in Sioux City, Iowa, Lois attended Sioux City area schools and graduated from Sioux City Central High School in 1950.  She then attended Briar Cliff College and Iowa State Teachers College (University of Northern Iowa), where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Music (Vocal) Education with a minor in English.  After completing her degree in 1954, she began her teaching career in Odebolt, and then in Sac City, Iowa, before returning to her hometown of Sioux City, where she taught at North Junior High School.  Lois had been accepted into Columbia University’s Masters Program and was refining her singing talents as a soloist in the First Baptist Church choir, when she met her husband of 47-years, Darwin Larson.  The two were married on December 21st, 1957, at the First Presbyterian Church in Sioux City, Iowa.  From there, they moved to Pierre, South Dakota and later to Chicago, Illinois, Mason City, Cedar Falls and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, while following Darwin’s career as a Bank Examiner for the Federal Government.  With three small children, they chose to return to a more rural setting to raise a family and moved to Wakonda, South Dakota.  Lois continued as a music teacher in the Wakonda and Irene schools, before her retirement from full-time teaching in 1993.  Lois and Darwin were long-time residents of Wakonda, before moving to Sturgis, South Dakota in 2004.  After Darwin’s passing in May 2005, Lois continued to make Sturgis her home for the next 14 years, where she was a member of the Sturgis United Methodist Church and a volunteer in the Foster Grandparent Program at Sturgis Elementary School. Lois was also a life-long member of the American Legion Auxiliary, as well as United Methodist Women and Sweet Adeline’s Choirs.

Lois was a servant to God through music and wanted everyone to enjoy music as much as she did and believed it was a manner in which to give our glory to God. 

A lifelong educator, Lois was actively involved with K - 12 schools over a span of 7 decades teaching English, Music and assisting Grade-School Teachers through the Foster Grandparent Program.  But it was her life-ministry to share her love of music, by singing, playing the piano and organ at her church, and by teaching generations of kids to find their singing voices.  Perhaps her greatest legacy is giving voice and piano lessons to countless students throughout her life. 

While she considered her love for sharing music as one of her greatest accomplishments, her greatest joy was her family and their musical abilities - especially her grandson Hans, who is an accomplished vocalist, violinist, pianist, and composer.  Because music was so important to her, Lois felt blessed to be the matriarch of a musical family. 

Lois is survived by her children, daughter Rika Heruth and husband Dan of Liberty, Missouri; and son Ryon Larson and wife Sheila of Surprise, Arizona; son-in-law Jerry Arness; 2 grandsons - Hans Heruth of Liberty Missouri, and Derek Briscoe of Sturgis, South Dakota; brother-in-law, Don Larson of Viera, Florida; 2 nephews – Kris Larson and Keith Larson; one niece – Kara (Larson) Mandara; and great-grandson Camden Briscoe and great-granddaughter, Charli Briscoe.  Lois is preceded in death by her husband, Darwin Larson, daughter Randi Arness and son Eric Larson (infant); her father and mother, Frank and Libbie Zahnen; and co-sister-in-law Shirley Larson, and grandson Spencer Briscoe.

In lieu of flowers or gifts, Lois would want you to attend a church service and sing hymns to give thanks to God through music.  The family asks that you think of Lois and smile the next time you sing a song or become inspired by music. 

 

 

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Monday, January 30, 2023

9:30 - 10:30 am (Central time)

Hansen Funeral Home - Irene

121 Main St., Irene, SD 57037

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Funeral Service

Monday, January 30, 2023

Starts at 10:30 am (Central time)

Hansen Funeral Home - Irene

121 Main St., Irene, SD 57037

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Visitation

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

9:00 - 10:00 am (Mountain time)

Sturgis United Methodist Church

1755 Ballpark Rd, Sturgis, SD 57785

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Funeral Service

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Starts at 10:00 am (Mountain time)

Sturgis United Methodist Church

1755 Ballpark Rd, Sturgis, SD 57785

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Interment

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

11:00 - 11:30 am (Mountain time)

Black Hills National Cemetery

20901 Pleasant Valley Dr, Sturgis, SD 57785

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