On May 6, 1931, in Grantsburg, Minn., Joanne Aileen was born the only child to parents Einar and Hilma (Nelson) Larson. Raised in Rush City, Minn., she attended a one- room elementary school. As a young girl, Jo formed lifelong friendships when she met Phyllis and Dick. They spent every moment together. Jo enjoyed being a majorette, but was most proud to be in the graduating Class of 1949 from Rush City High School. They called themselves the “49ers.” Jo was proud to be the “keeper” of the memory book.
Jo’s first job was at Sears and Roebuck Company, followed by Texaco for several years. For over 25 years, she was the lead keypunch operator for the John Deere Company in Bloomington. Jo was fortunate to retire at the early age of 55.
Most of Jo’s years were spent living in Bloomington, with her great roommate and lifelong friend, Joyce. For over 60 years, they worked and played together. After Jo and Joyce retired from the John Deere Company, they decided to move to Mesa, Ariz. They spent the next ten years in Mesa, where Jo and Joyce met wonderful friends. Missing the people of Minnesota, they moved back to Bloomington and later to Shakopee. Jo and Joyce played hard, especially when it came to shopping, with Macy’s and Herberger’s being their favorite stores. Jo and Joyce also enjoyed dropping a few coins in the slot machines at Mystic Lake Casino.
Jo enjoyed reading, baking and antiquing. She also enjoyed needlework with sequins and beads; she made sure all her friends and family had beautiful Christmas tree skirts and stockings. Jo loved to listen to polka music and cheer on the Minnesota Vikings. She loved dogs and dogs loved her. Jo had a special bond with Harley the basset hound, which belonged to Phyllis, but her heart belonged to her companion Murphy. One for her biggest passions each Christmas was creating the large scene of the village and enjoying the fruits of her labor for many, many weeks.
Never having any family of her own, Jo formed her own special family through the years. After the passing of her lifelong friend Phyllis, she promised to take over the role as mother, grandmother and great-grandmother to her family. Jo also accepted the role of godmother to Candy, Larry, Todd and Craig. She always treasured and relished being part of their extended families. Jo was the family historian. She could tell family anything about their relatives, Rush City or anyone that lived there! Jo always had stories to tell about their growing up years.
A feisty woman in nature, Jo was all bark and no bite. Life was simple, yet she enjoyed it to the fullest. In the early morning hours of Saturday, March 23, 2013, Jo Larson, 81, passed away peacefully at St. Gertrude’s Health and Rehabilitation Center in Shakopee, Minn.
She will be deeply missed and remembered always by those who loved her: lifelong friend Joyce Loftus; cousins, Shirley Ohnesorge, Priscilla (Larry) Schmidt, Lynn (Joe) Aubert, Marlen (Sandy) Holmberg, Charlotte Jacoway, Twila Telega, Ferris Jean Anderson, Larry Anderson, Bonnie Bloomdahl, Marvin Anderson, Vernette Miller; special loving extended family: Candy and John Peck; extended grandchildren John (Andrea) Peck, Jessica (Paul) Klose, Jared (Kristine) Peck, Jill Peck; extended great-grandchildren, Ashley, Breanna, Kyler, Kaylee, Joey, Addison, Aubrey Joanne; special devoted friends, Denise Wilson and David Gunlikson.
Jo is preceded in death by her parents Einar and Hilma; cousin Bob, and faithful companion Murphy the dog.
Urn bearers for Jo were Jared and John.
The celebration of life service was Monday, April 1, 5 p.m. with visitation one hour prior, all at Ballard-Sunder Funeral Home, 833 South Marschall Road, Shakopee. Jean Breeggemann was the celebrant. Jo will be laid to rest at First Lutheran Cemetery in Rush City, Minn. in the spring.
Funeral arrangements are by Ballard-Sunder Funeral Home, www.ballardsunderfuneral.com.