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Donna Larson

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Donna Ann Larson

Lewistown —Donna Ann Larson, 81, of Lewistown passed away after a long illness on August 18, 2013, at the Central Montana Skilled Nursing Center.

Donna was born December 28, 1932, in Winona, Minnesota, to Henry and Gertrude Mahlke. She grew up there, working in the family owned wholesale/retail bakery, learning about the baking business. She graduated from Winona Senior High School in 1950. After graduating from Medical Secretarial School in Winona in 1951, she worked as a medical secretary in the surgery department of the University of Minnesota Medical School.

It was at the Lutheran Student House at the University of Minnesota where she met Bill who was going to school there. They were married August 9, 1952. They moved to Lanesboro, MN in 1953 where Bill taught High School Agriculture for one year before being called up by the US Army Reserve in 1954. They lived near Alexandria, VA and Fort Riley, KS while Bill served in the army corps of engineers.

After leaving the military in 1956, they moved to Tracy MN where Bill taught until 1960 when he left teaching and began working for the Production Credit association in Crookston and Fosston, MN. In 1962 they moved to Dell Rapids, SD where Bill was employed at the Northwestern Bank until 1966, when they moved to the Northwestern Bank in Huron, SD. In Huron, with all of the children in school, Donna began working for the Huron Senior Center as nutrition director and planned meals for the Senior Center and meals on wheels. In 1975 the family moved to Fargo ND and in 1977 to Lewistown, MT with Northwestern Bank.

The Lewistown school system was in the process of changing from cooking at all the schools to building a central kitchen at Lincoln school. With Donna's background in baking and providing meals to large groups of people, she was hired as director of nutrition for the entire Lewistown school district. She supervised the construction and outfitting of a kitchen in the Lincoln school and a distribution system to all the district lunch rooms.

Donna become involved in the Office of Public Instruction sponsored Montana Food Service Association. She was elected State President of the MFSA and worked hard to certify school food service employees in Lewistown and all over the state. She was also a member the NFSA Western US regional board and participated in many National NFSA meetings. Preparing food was not just a job for Donna but the love of her life right up to the end.

Donna retired in 1998 after 20 years as Lewistown's School Food Service Director, also known as "the Lunch Lady" by radio school menu announcers. This gave her even more time to spend on golf and her flower gardens.

Golfing with many friends including Jo Vranish, Anita Johnson, Mary White and others sometimes took her to northwestern Montana and even Canada. Donna and her grandson Scott are the only ones in the family to get holes in one.

Donna also loved the outdoors and to camp with the family. They started with borrowed tents in the mid-sixties and evolved into 5th wheel camping. Donna was really irritated when the floods of 2011 washed out roads to camping areas.

During their many moves, Donna worked hard to get the kids involved and doing OK in each new school. She participated in PTA groups and was a Cub Scout leader for many years.

Donna has been involved in many organizations in church and the community including being a Luther League advisor, singing in the choir, creating "Christmon" Christmas tree decorations, local PEO organization, golf teams, and bridge clubs.

Donna was a legendary fan of her kids in sports, all local sports teams, the Montana Grizzlies, Minnesota Twins, Vikings and Gopher teams.

Donna was always positive and upbeat in everything she did right up to her last days.

Donna is survived by her husband of 61 years, William T. Larson of Lewistown; three sons and one daughter; Kim (Judy) Larson of Kalispell; Bruce Larson of Bozeman; Beth Larson Coverdell of Kalispell and Jon ( Shanna) Larson of Lewistown. Grandchildren: Scott Larson of Kalispell; Drew Larson of Lewistown.

She was preceded in death by her parents; and a son; Scott

Memorial services will be held Saturday, August 24th, 11:00 a.m. at Zion Lutheran church in Lewistown. A reception will follow. Memorials are suggested to Central Montana Medical Center Emergency Room; Hospice of Central Montana or the .

Service and cremation arrangements are under the care of Creel Funeral Home. Condolences for the family may be posted at www.creelfuneralhome.com



Published in Great Falls Tribune on Aug. 21, 2013
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