O’NEILL — Services for Donald Larson, 86, O’Neill, will be at 10:30 a.m. Friday, May 22, at Christ Lutheran Church in O’Neill. Inurnment will be at a later date in the O’Neill Cemetery.
Visitation without the family present will be 5-7 p.m. Thursday at Biglin’s Mortuary in O’Neill.
He died at his home in O’Neill on Sunday, May 17, 2020.
Donald John Larson was born on Feb. 4, 1934, in Norfolk, to Leonard and Matie (Sydow) Larson. He grew up in Holt County and attended country school.
He later moved with his family to the Wheeler County line and attended school in Bartlett. Don graduated from Wheeler Central as valedictorian of his class in 1951. He continued his education at Wayne State College, receiving a bachelor’s degree in education in 1955. He began his teaching career at Creighton, where he taught for a year and a half before joining the military.
Don enlisted in the U.S. Army and was deployed for a time as a communication specialist in Okinawa, Japan. When he was honorably discharged in 1958, he moved to O’Neill and began teaching at the O’Neill Public School.
Don married Sharon Hartronft in Clearwater on Dec. 27, 1959. To this union, three children were born: Rick, Greg and Kathy. The family made O’Neill home, where Don continued teaching at O’Neill Public Schools. He taught many subjects through the years, including short hand, keyboarding, computers, business and accounting.
Don took on a variety of different extracurricular roles, as well. He was the senior class sponsor many years, Quiz-Bowl instructor, head of the yearbooks, Aerie Staff, National Honor Society, and even spent one year as athletic director. He also worked as an instructor for Northeast Community College for a time.
Don retired in the spring of 1998.
Don was a member of the Christ Lutheran Church since 1959 and enjoyed being very active in his church. He enjoyed gardening, woodworking and spending time with his family.
Don is survived by his spouse of 60 years, Sharon Larson of O’Neill; three children, Rick (Tammy) Larson of Omaha, Greg Larson of LaVista and Kathy (David) Crook of Kearney; six grandchildren, Travis (Chrissy) Larson, Jon Larson, Rebecca (Joshua) Miller, Tori Crook, Tristan Crook and Taylor Crook; six great-grandchildren; and a sister, Dorothy Mlinar of Atkinson.
Don was preceded in death by his parents, Leonard and Mattie Larson; his brother-in-law, Harold Mlinar; and his niece, Nancy Funk.
Former students and fellow teachers should remember him as an individual who lived up to the motto, “Teaching touches a life forever.”
The family urges everyone to practice safe social distancing in attending the services. Please utilize the online guest book at biglinsmortuary.com to leave condolences. Memorials may be directed to the family for future designation.