Helen Mae Larson

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Helen Mae Larson, 92, of Prairie du Chien, was a remarkable woman, a role model and inspiration to many, who had a zest for life. She passed away Monday, Dec. 25, from complications of cancer, in Goldsboro, N.C., surrounded by her three daughters and their families. 


She was born Dec. 30, 1924, in Kapuskasing, Ontario, Canada, the second of six children of Earl Whitman and Catherine Murray.


Helen graduated from Kaukauna Normal School in 1943, and taught for two years before joining the WAVES as a Hospital Apprentice First Class until July 1946. She attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison for a year, then continued teaching in rural Wisconsin schools until her marriage in March of 1951, to Warren S. Larson, a salesman with International Harvester in Green Bay. Their first daughter, Kathryn, was born in Green Bay, and their next two daughters, Kristine and Kim, were born in Ft. Wayne, Ind., after Warren’s transfer.


Helen moved to Prairie du Chien in 1955, when Warren became Manager at the International Harvester store. She has lived at 525 S. Buchanan St. for the past 62 years, in a home built by Art Steiner & Sons. Helen became a widow at the age of 34, and raised three children. She sewed draperies for Knapp’s Furniture for many years, then returned to college to complete a Bachelor’s degree in Special Education from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Helen retired at age 65, after a career of teaching children with special health care needs in the Prairie du Chien public schools. She loved her community and her church. She was active in ARC, Church Women United, Eastern Star, and Volunteers in Mission. She was elected to the Prairie du Chien School Board for several terms. Her passions in life were golfing, dancing, and bridge. She was a world traveler, from Alaska to Australia to Africa. Her favorite food was peanut butter and favorite beverage red wine.


Survivors include her three daughters, Kathryn (Laura Coffee), Kristine (Craig Weidemann) Clark, and Kim (Chris Garrison); grandchildren Presley (Patrick) Nichols, Cate Coffee and Ben Coffee; her brother Earl (Betty) Whitman; sister Sandra (Jim) Medeiros; along with numerous nieces and nephews who dearly loved her.


She was preceded in death by her husband, Warren; her parents; two sisters, Shirley Ladwig and Betty Schoenrock; and her brother Jim Whitman.


Memorials may be directed to the Prairie du Chien United Methodist Church, Feeding America or Volunteers in Mission of the United Methodist Church. A celebration of life will be held Saturday, Jan. 13, at 11 a.m., at the United Methodist Church, Rev. Barb Cook officiating, with a luncheon to follow. Friends may call at the church on Saturday, from 9 a.m. until the time of services.


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