Phyllis D. Larson, born in Chicago on November 21, 1923, passed peacefully in the presence of her children and grandchildren, at her son’s Belvidere home on April 30, 2019. She had an unparalleled and unquestioned commitment to family, anchored by a 57 year marriage to Laurie W. Larson Jr., who preceded her in death in 2005. Weekend family gatherings, family vacations, family card games, and family encouragement and support were central to Phyllis’ outlook on what was important in life – – a tenet she passed onto her children and grandchildren. Phyllis is survived by her children Kim Larson, Kyle Larson (David Faulkner) and Todd Larson (Charmaine Cornwell); by her ten grandchildren, Megan Larson, Brei Larson Brooks (Adam Brooks), Andrew Larson, Grace Larson, Brant Faulkner (Anna Wilharm Faulkner), Bryce Faulkner Minetz (Noah Minetz), Blake Larson (Kartheek Varakavi), Kent Larson, Evan Larson, and Paige Larson; and by her brother, Earl Larson (Ruth Larson) of Hinsdale, IL. Also preceding her in death were her two oldest children, Mark Larson and Scott Larson, and her first grandchild, Karl Larson.
During World War II, armed with a permission slip her mother signed over her father’s initial objections, Phyllis enlisted as a SPAR in the United States Coast Guard and served as a driver in Boston. That post cemented her love of driving automobiles which spawned a love of travel. Road trips would eventually include long haul, station wagon packed, family drives to California, Florida, and New York. In her 95 years, Phyllis never had a single accident. Her SPARS service qualified her for the GI Bill. As comfortable on horseback as behind the wheel of car, Phyllis chose McMurray College in Jacksonville, Illinois for their competitive riding team which she immediately joined. In Jacksonville, she also met her husband, Laurie, who attended nearby Illinois College. Marrying in 1948, she would later complete her degree in education with additional coursework at Northern Illinois University and University of Michigan, where her husband attended law school. By this example, she communicated to her sons and daughter that education was vitally important. Phyllis also believed in serving her community. She was active in Zion Lutheran Church Belvidere (Bell Choir among her favorites), an election day volunteer at the polls, and for many years was the Boone Country Chairwoman of the Republican Party. Phyllis will be sorely missed by those lucky enough to have known her. A small, private family funeral/burial is planned. In lieu of flowers, memorials in Phyllis’ honor can be directed to The Zion Lutheran Church (Scholarship Fund), 1300 Pearl St., Belvidere, IL 61008 and the Women in Military Service for American Memorial Foundation, 200 N. Glebe Rd., Suite 400, Arlington, VA 22203.