Our mother, Mary Lou Larkin, age 83, born and raised in La Crosse, Wisconsin, passed away on Thursday, September 3, 2020. As they were in life, mom and dad are now together forever.
Mary Lou is survived by her daughter Laure (spouse Lynette), and sons Dan (spouse Maite) and Brian (spouse Terese). Her grandchildren are Florence, Emma, Carolina, Eric, Aaron and great grandchildren Julian and Joanna.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Richard John Larkin; her parents, Irene E. (Gerke) and Henry Edward Scherdin; as well as her brother, Henry (Hank) E. Scherdin Jr., and stepbrother, Glenn G. Hall.
Born in La Crosse to Irene and Henry on May 16, 1937, she remained a resident of La Crosse all her life, graduating from Aquinas High School in 1955. Mom met her true love, Rich Larkin, at a New Year’s Eve party while he was on Army holiday leave in La Crosse. They married on April 18, 1959 and, just one short year ago, celebrated their sixtieth anniversary with family and friends. She worked at La Crosse Plumbing Supply Company for over thirty years in data processing where she made many friends. After retiring, she remained active, volunteering at her parish, Mary, Mother of the Church. She was grounded in her faith, rarely missing a Sunday or feast-day Mass and enjoyed singing in the church choir. While she still could, mom maintained the church’s geraniums and planned the parish’s luncheons for widows and widowers.
Mom had a full life. Among the things she enjoyed were boating, waterskiing, sewing, bowling, visiting with friends, and pet sitting for family and friends. Mom never met a dog she didn’t like and would even put up with the cats, rabbits, and assorted temporary stopovers of insects and wildlife brought home by us kids.
Mom was a cake maker extraordinaire. Birthdays for us kids always included some version of a colorful animal cake covered with coconut sprinkles. It’s no surprise that she won the Miss Betty Crocker award in high school.
She particularly liked gardening, with geraniums and roses her specialty, and decorating the house. She maintained a large collection of holiday and season-specific decorations, making all holidays feel special. Mom made Christmas especially festive and magical for us kids and her grandchildren. She transformed the house with lights, garland, Christmas villages, and Santas. She also spent countless hours baking dozens of many kinds of Christmas cookies, from cutouts to spritzes—so many that us kids and our friends gorged on them until March.
Both Aquinas graduates, Mary Lou and Rich, were Aquinas sports super fans, hardly missing a game. They were both also regulars at La Crosse Loggers games, relishing the chance to see future major-league stars. Mom’s love of sports did not stop there; it included steadfast support for the UW-La Crosse Eagles and Wisconsin Badgers. Mom and dad were both lifelong Green Bay Packer fans, devoted to the team even during the down years.
More than anything, mom loved her family. Both Mary Lou and Rich could proudly say they never missed any of their kids’ events or games. Mom continued to support us through our adult lives, traveling to visit us and her grandchildren in Minnesota, Texas, and Pennsylvania, sometimes by plane even though she hated flying. She helped us paint our houses, landscape our yards, and she always brought food for family celebrations. She was there for us without fail.
Due to the current pandemic, the visitation and funeral Mass will be limited to close family. The Mass will be simulcast on https://www.youtube.com/c/MaryMotheroftheChurchParish
Father Brian Konopa will officiate the Mass on Friday, September 11, with visitation from 9:30 AM until the Mass begins at 10:30 AM at Mary, Mother of the Church Parish: 2006 Weston St., La Crosse WI 54601.
Memorial donations in Mary Lou’s name can be made to Aquinas High School Boosters https://www.aquinascatholicschools.org/online-giving, and Mary, Mother of the Church Parish http://www.mmoclacrosse.org/