Darlene June Larson

June 18, 1930 - October 8, 2018

Darlene June (nee. Anderson) Larson, of Geneva, IL., born on June 18, 1930, died on October 8, 2018.  Darlene ‘Dar’ Larson, fondly called ‘Darleenie’ by her father, was born in Geneva, Illinois to Isidor ‘Iddo’ Anderson and Anna (nee Larson) Anderson.  Darlene grew up in the Larson family home on Blaine Street in Batavia, Illinois.  She graduated from Batavia High School in 1948.  Here, she played the string bass in the orchestra, was the ‘Track Queen’ her senior year, excelled in archery and was a member of the girls club, Adelionis, where they gave her the nickname, ‘Meticulous’!  Mom said that she hosted the first ever slumber party her junior year.  They called their slumber party group ‘The Big Ten’!  She said that she had one or two parties in the barn and slept on the hay, while enjoying pies and good food.  They would walk in their p.j.’s to Route 31 smoking cigarettes.  She said that her mother was aware of this but did not punish her because she was a good girl!

Music played an important role in Darlene’s family. Everyone sang songs. The Swedish hymn ‘Children of the Heavenly Father’ was a favorite, sung in both Swedish and English, among others.  Darlene carried this love of music and shared it throughout her lifetime.

In high school, Darlene asked her future husband, Richard Larson, to the Sadie Hawkins Dance. He said yes, and the rest is history!  They were united in marriage at Bethany Lutheran Church, Batavia, Illinois on June 29, 1952. 

Darlene attended Northern Illinois University for two years focusing on elementary education. She was a member of the Delta Zeta sorority.  She went on to teach elementary school before moving to San Bernardino, CA., where her husband was stationed at Norton Air Force Base.  She worked at the San Bernardino City Hall as a secretary for the Mayor. Darlene gave birth to her eldest son, Scott Larson, at the Norton Air Force base hospital before relocating back to Geneva, Illinois.  This was difficult as Dar adored the California climate so much.

Upon returning to Geneva, they set up house on 6th Avenue, then moved to Dunstan Road.  Brett and Renee were born and shenanigans ensued!  Mom was a devoted loving mother to us all! 

Darlene had many interests beyond motherhood.  She became a member of The Geneva Garden Club.  She enjoyed the meetings, camaraderie and garden walks.  This lasted for 52 years!  Dar was honored in 2016 for her 50 years as a member. In 2018, she was bestowed with ‘The Most Senior and Productive Member’ award. 

In the summer of 1971, our family hosted Japanese exchange student  Akiko Nakayama.  Dar took her to see the Japanese Gardens at Fabyan’s Forest Preserve and was embarrassed at its condition.  She vowed then and there to restore it to its glory.  With the support of the Garden Club, Darlene was a founding member of the ‘Friends of Fabyans’ org., to restore the Fabyan Forest Preserve (former Riverbank Estate).  It was here that she forged many cherished friendships with Marie and Ed Frasz and Ed and Nancy Weiss, to name a few. Darlene was co-president and wrote their newsletter for many years. She retired her duties in 2017/2018. 

Darlene was also a member of the Geneva Historic Preservation Commission for 4 years. She was featured in the local ‘Sunday Post Magazine’ honoring Fox Valley Women.  Here, she is quoted regarding her work at Fabyans:  “I’m proud of Geneva and the support received to preserve the best of the past so that future generations have a heritage.”

Darlene was an author!  She co-wrote a booklet titled “The Fabyan Legacy”.  It features historic information of the Riverbank Estate now called Fabyan Forest Preserve.  This booklet was originally published in the book “Geneva Illinois: A History of it’s times and places” (1979).  The booklet was updated and revised in 1982. 

Frank Lloyd Wright was next on Dar’s journey!  She became fascinated with Architecture and Design.  She studied all things Frank L.W, Mies Van Der Rohe, Charles Rennie MacKintosh.  Then, she switched it up and devoured all things modern in design.

Darlene always said that one of her greatest accomplishments was to travel the world while she was in good health.  This adventure took her to Spain, Italy, Morocco, England, France, Egypt, Denmark, Norway, Sweden (visiting our relatives and documenting our family trees), Finland, Russia, Kenya, Tanzania, Cuba, Japan, Canada.  She felt very fortunate to experience various cultures in her lifetime. 

Mom was a devoted member of the Geneva Lutheran Church where she sang many years in the choir and participated on many committees.  The church was a great comfort for Mom throughout her lifetime. She was a member of the Geneva Golf Club, Eagle Brook Country Club, The Art Institute of Chicago, and The Goodman Theater.  She enjoyed so many trips into Chicago with her friends to see great plays and art exhibits!

Darlene developed many great friendships through all of her interests, activities and adventures in her lifetime that she cherished.  Most of all, she held her most long time friendships dear to her heart, she loved each of you! 

Beyond all else, Mom Darlene loved and adored her family.  She always put family first, period.  She was always the most enthusiastic for any family gathering and holiday.  She also developed great photography skills.  Always having her camera ready!  She was a very proud, loving and thoughtful woman, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.  We will miss you immensely Momma Dar and will cherish your memory and legacy in our hearts forever! 

In closing, Mom LOVED a great party!  She used to say over the years that a party is NOT a good party if it ends before 3 a.m.!  As Mom used to say, “I’d rather be singing and dancing!” We hope that you are having a ‘WONDERFUL’ song and dance party in heaven Mom!

Darlene is survived by her three children, Scott (Kathryn) Larson of St. Charles, IL, Brett (Jacquelyn) Larson of Batavia, IL, Renee (Chris) Vig of Monona, WI.  Three grandchildren, Lana Mehus of St. Charles, IL, Michael (Dr. Kara) Vig of Chicago IL, Harrison Vig of Monona, WI, and one great-granddaughter Scarlett Vig of Chicago, IL.

Darlene was preceded in death by her parents Isidor and Anna Anderson, her sisters Virginia Reinken and Marcia Baresel, and her husband Richard Larson. 

Our family wishes to express our thanks to Darlene’s caregiver, Patricia Mumba for her care, and compassion during Mom’s illness.  In addition, we would like to thank all of the doctors and nurses at Delnor Hospital, Kindred Care Hospital, and Bria Care.

The Larson Family will receive family and friends from 5 to 7:30 PM, October 15, at Moss Family Funeral Home, 209 S. Batavia Ave. (Route 31 and Main Street) Batavia. 

A memorial celebration of her life will be at 1:00 PM, October 16 at Geneva Lutheran Church, 301 S. Third Street, Geneva.  The Rev. Trudy Stoffel will officiate.  Burial will follow at West Batavia Cemetery.

Memorials in her name may be made to the Geneva Lutheran Church, or Friends of Fabyan. .

Guest Book

  • Greg Newlin I am saddened to hear about the passing of your dear mother and recent loss of your father. They were wonderful neighbors and friends to our family for 50 years. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time of loss.
  • Paula Zanger Sending good thoughts to the Larson Family. Dar had a terrific spirit, fond memories from college and recently in Chicago. Much love to Renee Vig, née Larson.
  • Vickie and Andy Lenhart So sorry for your loss. You have our deepest sympathy.
  • Erin DuChanois It was my privilege to know Darlene during my college years with Renee. I remember her enthusiasm and generosity. She was a beautiful person inside and out. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your families, Renee, Scott, and Brett.
  • Mark and Heather Baresel Our prayers our with your family in this time of sorrow.