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Mary Loretta (Thompson) Larson

Published on -6/10/2014, 9:52 AM

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Mary Loretta (Thompson) Larson, 80, was born Dec. 18, 1933, in Goodland, Kansas, to Juanita Frances (McDill) and Leonard A. Thompson. She departed this life on June 8, 2014, at Midland Hospice in Topeka.

Mary was educated in the Goodland schools, attended the University of Kansas, and graduated from Fort Hays State University with a degree in speech education. She was first employed by the Girl Scouts in Jefferson City, Missouri, holding the distinction then as the youngest Girl Scout executive in the United States. She next served as the executive director of the Sunflower Girl Scout Council in Hays, Kan., and later served as the Executive of the Ellis County United Way.

On May 20, 1961, Mary was united in marriage to Edward Larson, whom she met on a blind date arranged by friends in Hays. To this union were born three children: Sarah Ann, John Edward and Mary Elizabeth.

In 1988, Mary and Ed moved from Hays to Topeka where they spent 26 years enjoying their new community.

Mary was a committed member of the Episcopal Church, attending and serving in many capacities at St. Michael Episcopal Church in Hays and Grace Episcopal Cathedral in Topeka. She was a talented and faithful wife, mother, nana, and a consummate volunteer. Numerous civic and charitable organizations have benefitted from her capable leadership skills. She was devoted to her P.E.O. sisters in Chapter GJ of Topeka, and enjoyed friendships fostered through Garden Club and hosting the neighborhood Christmas party. She was interested in politics and volunteered for former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole in his earliest campaigns. In Hays, she directed the town's centennial celebration pageant, and worked to improve its schools, libraries and humane society.

She will be remembered as a voracious reader, life-long learner and creative problem solver.

She is survived by her husband, Edward; children Sarah and Michael Berblinger of Buhler, Kan.; John and Carrie Larson of Leawood, Kan.; Mary Elizabeth and Dr. John Elliott of Silver Spring, Md.; her much loved grandchildren Caroline Rae (Carly) Berblinger, Edward Robert (Ted) Larson, Luke Michael Berblinger, Thomas Spencer (Tom) Larson, Maren Ann Berblinger, William Davis Larson, and Lars Timothy Elliott; her brother Leonard (Mac) Thompson and sister-in-law Patty, their sons Mitch and Nathan and their spouses and children; her sister-in-law Betty McKeever and her children John Michael Good, Sally Porter, Teresa LeMonnier, Rosemary Van Orden, their spouses and children, and a host of other relatives and friends.

She was pre-deceased by an older sister, Helen Annie Thompson; her parents; and much loved nephews Marsh and Matt Thompson.

Her life will be celebrated on Wednesday, June 11 at 10 a.m. at Grace Episcopal Cathedral, Topeka, Kan., with burial at 3:30 p.m. at the Denmark Lutheran Cemetery, Denmark, Kan., on land donated to the church by her husband's grandparents.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Grace Episcopal Cathedral, 701 S.W. Eighth Ave., Topeka, Kan., or to the Topeka Rescue Mission, 600 N. Kansas Ave., Topeka, Kan.

Penwell-Gabel Mid-Town Chapel, Topeka, is assisting the family with arrangements. To leave the family a special message, visit www.PenwellGabelTopeka.com.

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