Lee A. Larson, 81, passed peacefully in his home of 35 years in Rio Rancho, N.M., on Oct. 3, 2020 after a brief illness.
Lee was born March 2, 1939 in Ellsworth County, Kan., the first child of Kermit and Mildred (Smith) Larson. He grew up and attended school in Marquette, Kan., graduating from Marquette High School in 1957. He went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in education from Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kan. in 1961. He taught high school math and science in McDonald, Kan. for a few years before beginning his 35-year career with Famers Alliance Mutual Insurance Company.
His first position was in their Topeka office, where he met his wife, Janet. They were married on Dec. 23, 1967 in her hometown of Scranton, Kan. With Alliance, his career would take them to Chillicothe, Mo. (where their daughter LaDonna was born), the home office in McPherson, Kan. and to Rio Rancho, N.M. in 1985. He retired in 2003 with a long list of professional affiliations, designations and accolades, but soon realized he wasn’t quite ready for a life of leisure yet. After about a month, he accepted a position with Pioneer General Insurance company for five years before actually retiring to enjoy spending time with his grandchildren, Robert and Claire.
Lee was a Mason in good standing for over 50 years. He was initiated into McDonald Lodge 383 on Dec. 8, 1965 and raised to Master Mason on March 23, 1966. He became affiliated with Carbondale Lodge 70 on June 27, 1970. He was presented his 50-year member award by the Carbondale Lodge in 2016. He was received, admitted and constituted a Nobel of the Mystic Shrine in Ballut Abyad Temple in Albuquerque May 10, 1986. He was an active member of Kiwanis in a number of cities since the 1970s, and is past president of both the Chillicothe, Mo. and Rio Rancho, N.M. clubs.
His other hobbies included woodworking, fishing, hunting, golf, photography and he was an avid reader (the latter two being traits he passed on to his daughter.) He has been an active member of a number of Methodist churches throughout his life, most recently the Bernalillo United Methodist Church, in Bernalillo, N.M.
He is survived by his wife of almost 53 years, Janet, of the home; his son-in-law and daughter, F. Edward and LaDonna Pigg; and grandchildren Robert and Claire, all of Raytown, Mo. He is also survived by two brothers, Marvin (Sandy) Larson of Council Grove, Kan. and Darwin (Jill) Larson of Prescott, Ariz.; a sister-in-law, Marilyn Tornquist of Wichita, Kan.; three nephews and six nieces and their families.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial gifts be made to the Bernalillo United Methodist Church, 136 W. Calle Don Andres, Bernalillo, N.M. 87004. Lee was the first to contribute to their stained glass window fund, and the family would like to see that come to fruition.
Services will be at 2 p.m. Friday, Oct 16, 2020 in the Sarah Chapel of the Daniels Family Funeral Home, 4310 Sara Rd. SE, Rio Rancho, N.M. 87124.