LAKE IN THE HILLS – Joan G. Larsen, 88, of Lake in the Hills, passed away on Monday, Sept. 27, 2010 at home.
She was born Gertrude Joan Fagot Jan. 17, 1922, in Benson. She was the youngest of five children born to Prosper and Mary (Schleich) Fagot. After attending primary school in a one-room schoolhouse in Benson, she chose a career in nursing during World War II. While working as a cadet nurse at Vaughn Army Hospital she met her future husband, the late Gordon H. Larsen, Sr. They married May 18, 1946, and started their family in Schiller Park.
In 1963, they moved their family to a farm on Pyott Road in Lake in the Hills, where she loved being Gordon's partner and enjoyed 57 years of marriage until his death in 2003. She and her husband started Spring Hill Farm Riding School in 1964, and with their five children, ran the business for six years. She thoroughly enjoyed raising her family in a farm environment. Standing at 5 feet 1 inch she earned the nickname of "Sarge" for teaching her children a strong work ethic through a long list of chores. She was known for her excellent home cooking that you "could smell in the driveway before you hit the door," her gardening skills, and her no-nonsense ways of handling the circle of life on the farm. She generously supported many civic and humanitarian causes in her lifetime but no greater honor did she serve than to her family. She always tried to help each individual family member or friend to make sure they were happy and well cared for, and always supported them in their times of need. She opened her heart and home to so many with kindness.
She was the mother of Jean (Michael) Arroyo, Peggy (Dave) Lackman, the late Gordy Larsen, Wendy (Dave) Gregoria and Dane (Mary) Larsen; a very proud, generous, and loving grandmother to Michael (Jill) Arroyo, Terrance Arroyo, Garrit Lackman, Tana Lackman, Nancy Sena, Todd Larsen, Bryan (Michelle) Larsen, Brad (Danielle) Larsen, Renee (Sean) Porter, Jessie Lind, John Cichowski, Amanda Gregoria, the late Adam Gregoria, Eleanor Larsen, Bennett Larsen, Rachael Daubach and Matthew Daubach. Filling her with joy and pride, she loved family gatherings including visits from her great-grandchildren, Izzy, Brandan, Brianna, Mya, Jacob, Kayla, Emma, Nicky, Tyler, Laya, Keaton and Eva. As a loving aunt and great-aunt, she also blessed the lives of her nieces and nephews.
Though her life was marked by many losses of loved ones, beginning with her mother at the age of 8, and her brother, Paul, in WWII, she was a remarkably strong spirited woman with an unwavering will to live and desire to participate in life. She lives on in our hearts as an inspiration of grace and love. She will be deeply missed.
The visitation will be from 3 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 5, at Willow Funeral Home, 1415 W. Algonquin Road, Algonquin. The funeral will be at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 6, at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church, (Oak Street Church), 451 W. Terra Cotta Ave., Crystal Lake. Interment will be in Windridge Memorial Park Cemetery, 7014 S Rawson Bridge Road, Cary.
Donations will be accepted online in her memory to her favorite charities, Gordon and Joan Larsen Scholarship Fund, in care of Algonquin/Lake in the Hills Rotary Club, at www.clubrunner.ca/CPrg/home/homeS.asp?cid=2352; American Diabetes Foundation: "diabetes.org"
or Autism Speaks: http://events.autismspeaks.org/tributes/JoanLarsen
; National Fragile X Foundation: http://www.firstgiving.com/joanlarsen
Published by Northwest Herald from Sep. 30 to Oct. 1, 2010.