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Linnea Mae Larson

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Linnea Mae Larson, 57, of Livingston, died Monday, April 28, 2008, in a tragic automobile accident near Drummond.

A native of Livingston, Linnea graduated from Park High School in 1969. She attended the University of Montana and graduated from Carroll College in 1977.

Linnea was a fine athlete who once rode her bicycle from Missoula to Livingston in a time before such feats were fashionable. She was an avid runner and perhaps the first woman skydiver in Montana. She was also in the first group of skydivers to land at the rodeo grounds during Livingston Roundup rodeo, a tradition that has endured. Linnea made over 70 jumps, and still holds the Montana record for the lowest deployment of the chute. This is not necessarily a good thing, but it was something Linnea would do. She was absolutely fearless.

Linnea took special joy in the natural world. She kayaked amidst killer whales, walked among seven-ton elephant seals and watched right whales breaching near her kayak. An avid hiker, Linnea enjoyed wolf watching in Yellowstone National Park, and made special trips there when she knew bears could be seen. She was a skillful downhill skier and delighted in backcountry ski trips.

She graduated from Carroll with a double degree: one in Spanish because she loved travel, and one in education, because she thought it was important. She was elected to the Livingston School Board in 2005 and she took her duties there seriously, poring over balance sheets and proposals.

She was a frequent substitute teacher at St. Mary's school and delighted in the work. Many of her students are now young adults, and Linnea was proud of them all. Her house was set up with a thoughtful regard for visiting children. She kept a small desk, crayons, and drawing paper for kids, as well as a box full of toys. Children always wanted to visit "Aunt 'Nea."

Linnea had her own unique sense of style, unlike that of anyone else. Socks were a favorite clothing item. She had moose socks and bunny socks and hedgehog socks. She had socks for Halloween, Christmas, Easter and probably Groundhog Day. She wore outrageous necklaces and bracelets, many of which were little more than dime-store items or things she'd found in a market in Spain or Croatia. The item didn't have to be expensive. But it had to be bold, assertive, original and striking. It had to be Linnea.

She was an active supporter of the Stafford Animal shelter. She also donated her time to the Eagle Mount program and helped physically challenged individuals enjoy the sport of skiing.

She was preceded in death by her father, Leonard Larson, and is survived by her mother, Jean Larson, and her husband, Tim Cahill, both of Livingston; her sister Kris and her husband, Tom Golnar, of Helena; her brother Don Larson and his wife Joyce, of Bremerton, Wash.; and her brother Rob Larson and his wife Kim, of Florham Park, N.J.

Visitation will be from noon to 5 p.m. Friday, May 2; 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 3; and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, May 5 at Franzen-Davis Funeral Home, 118 N. Third St., Livingston. Cremation will follow the visitation. A memorial service will be held Tuesday, May 6, at 1:30 p.m. at Holbrook United Methodist Church, corner of Fifth and Lewis Streets in Livingston.

Memorial contributions may be made the L. H. Larson Scholarship Fund, c/o Alberta Rivera, 1501 S. 11th St., Bozeman, MT 59717; Eagle Mount, 6901 Goldenstein Lane, Bozeman, MT 59715; or the Stafford Animal Shelter, 3 Boulder Business Park Rd., Livingston, MT 59047.

Following the funeral services, there will be a time of refreshment and remembrance of Linnea's life at the Livingston Elks Lodge, at 130 South Second Street, Livingston.
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on May 2, 2008
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