James Larson, 79, died peacefully on Monday, July 6, 2020, with his wife beside him and his children praying and singing his favorite hymns.
A public Evening of Prayer will be held on Friday, July 10, from 4:30 – 7:00 pm at Sacred Heart Church in Flensburg, Minnesota. Rosaries will be prayed at 5:00, 5:30, and 6:00, with evening prayer at 6:30 pm. A private funeral Mass and burial will be on Saturday, July 11.
On January 14, 1941, James Harold Larson was born to Clarence and Frances VonSien in Winona, Minnesota, and then in 1946, adopted by Don and Evelyn Larson of Saint Louis Park, Minnesota. James graduated from the University of Minnesota and served in the United States Army for two years before being honorably discharged.
In 1972, James married Mary Jo Dooley of Minneapolis. James and Mary Jo had 6 children together, and in the midst of their growing family, James entered the Catholic Church in 1980, choosing Psalm 26 for his first Mass as a Catholic: “One thing I have asked of the Lord, this will I seek after; That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, that I may see the beauty of the Lord.”
In Long Prairie, Minnesota, James worked as a housepainter (James Larson Paints Like They Used To), but recognized that his true calling was to help those who were seeking the Truth of the Faith, and to lead people, including his family, to the love of the Blessed Mother. James wrote and published hundreds of articles and passionately advocated for the promises of the Holy Rosary. Most recently, he co-founded and managed the apostolate Rosary to the Interior.
James lived his life simply, but with great depth. While he could sit for hours reading and writing, pouring over scripture and philosophy, he could also flawlessly dance the Charleston with, as he would proudly call her, “his bride.” Many will remember James in his white painting overalls, Pepsi in hand, refusing to use painter’s tape and, with his twinkling blue eyes, impishly smiling at his own humor, which dried quicker than the paint. He knew every Saint Francis story, every argument by Saint Thomas Aquinas, and not a day went by without praying the rosary.
If James could have one thing known from his life, it would be for others to know how, after 40 years of searching and battling chaos in his heart, he whispered a desperate prayer, “God if you are there, please show yourself,” and our Lord and Lady answered him with another 40 years of continued conversion. As Our Lady drew him closer and closer to her Son, James imparted and fostered the greatest gift, the gift of faith, to his children, with his beloved wife beside him.
James’ greatest joy was his wife and their children and grandchildren, once writing, “I would never have known Beauty or God without them.” Truly, what James was too humble to ever see, was that his wife and children came to know Beauty and God through his unconditional love, his great faith, and his untiring perseverance to live a life directed to Heaven, so that he “may see the beauty of the Lord.”
James is survived by his wife of 47 years, Mary Jo, his children Marlena (Paul), Michael (Teresa), Rachel (Henry), Mary (Jason), Joseph (Katie), Zita, 21 grandchildren, 2 great-grandchildren, and sisters, Valerie Miller and Cindy Collier.
In lieu of memorials, the family asks for rosaries and Masses to be said for the repose of James’ soul.
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