Obituary: Lowell Larson

Proud Minnesotan, Lutheran minister, Bard lover, traveler

Lowell Larson died peacefully of natural causes at age 95 on May 10, in Claremont. He was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and Lutheran minister. 

Lowell was born in LacQui Parle County, Minnesota, on October 22, 1914. He married Helen Akerson on April 28, 1946, and they had five children and 47 years of marriage until Helen’s death in 1993. 

After high school in Appleton, Minnesota, he graduated from Augsburg College and Luther Seminary in Minneapolis in 1948. He had a long career of 40 years as a Lutheran minister, serving three congregations.

In 1948, Mr. Larson assumed his first parish in Morris, Minnesota, where he remained until 1960. He then accepted a call to First Lutheran Church of Northridge, California, and remained there until 1974. That year he returned to Willmar, Minnesota, where he served as pastor at Vinje Lutheran Church until his retirement, to Pilgrim Place in Claremont, in 1989. 

The Larsons loved this special retirement community and had been on a waiting list for years. Unfortunately, Mrs. Larson suffered strokes and died in 1993 at the early age of 74. 

Mr. Larson continued to enjoy Pilgrim Place, contributing in a strong, quiet and thoughtful way to the community and its values, often in leadership positions. He was very grateful for the abiding support of that community as he lived independently for decades and, over the last year of his life, in the assisted living and skilled nursing facilities. 

He was an avid duck hunter throughout his adult life. He loved his home state of Minnesota and spent four months out of the year during retirement at the family cottage on Lake Florida, just outside of Willmar. His close friend and companion, Betty Hess, joined him there for most of those summers. These summer months were filled with wonderful memories with his children, grandchildren, friends and neighbors. He and Mrs. Hess also traveled extensively, including several trips to Norway. 

Mr. Larson loved a good conversation. He was attracted to Pilgrim Place because of its shared values and diversity of perspectives on Christianity and current events. He was known throughout his ministry for more than 40 years for being open minded, a good listener, and a gentle guide as people confronted questions of faith and life. He was a longstanding member of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Claremont. 

For the past 20 years, he developed a deep love and appreciation for Shakespeare. In late January 2020, he was honored in Claremont for two decades of leadership in establishing and nurturing informal groups to read and act the plays of Shakespeare. As one participant in those groups wrote, “Over the last 19 years, I have met an incredible group of people because of him, all the while nourishing our passion for Shakespeare and Elizabethan theatre. He was a model for the idea that retirement from work does not mean putting the brain on hold. “

Mr. Larson is survived by five children and their extended families, Ted Larson of Eureka, California; Thom Larson of Ojai; Carol Larson of Santa Cruz; Eric Larson of Morro Bay; and Evan Larson of Salt Lake City. He also is celebrated by eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He was lovingly referred to as “the grand one” by grandchildren and “the great one” by his great grandchildren.   

Memorial services will be scheduled in Claremont and Willmar, Minnesota when COVID-19 restrictions allow such gatherings. Final place of internment will be Mamrelund Cemetery outside of Pennock, Minnesota. 

Memorial gifts, in lieu of flowers now or at time of memorials, may be made to Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Claremont at; to Pilgrim Place’s Resident Health Services and Support Fund at; or to Augsburg University, Minneapolis, Minnesota at giving.

Lowell’s family will forever cherish his memory, remembering one of his favorite lines from e.e. cummings’ poetry,  “i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart).”


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