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Obituaries » Lila Mae Larsen (Howard)

Lila Mae Larsen (Howard)

November 14, 1910 - April 24, 2010

Memorial service will be held at St. Edwards Church in Keizer, 5303 River Rd N at 10:30 am Friday, April 30th. As a tribute to Lila, a table will be available to showcase the quilts for all who would like to bring theirs.

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Lila Mae Larsen, 99, of Keizer passed away peacefully at home with her family on Saturday. She was born in Enumclaw, WA; the oldest child of seven born to Elmer C. and Alice M. (Shay) Beebe.

As a child, Lila was a self taught musician, playing accordion with her father from a very young age at local dances. Lila left school to work at a ranch at Powell Butte to help with family finances. There, she met her best friend Lela and they continued to be friends for the next 70 years. She married Kenneth Howard on April 6, 1930 just before she turned twenty. The young wife of a logger, Lila raised their first three children; Ava, Dean and Kenneth while living in the Coos Bay area. They eventually settled in the Willamette Valley where RoseAnne, James, John, Mary and Jean joined the family. Lila and Kenneth were married over 53 years.

After raising her children, Lila went back to school to study nursing. She graduated when she was 54 years old from Portland Community College. Later, she owned and operated a nursing home and several adult foster care homes; she retired at age 74. Lila’s perseverance bestowed in others how it is never too late to follow your dreams.

Lila’s husband Kenneth died in 1983. Lila out lived two other husbands: Les Burns and later George Larsen. In her 90’s, Lila enjoyed gardening flowers, quilting, spending time with family and friends and watching the Lawrence Welk show. Her love for quilting, and her generous nature, contributed to the hundreds of quilts handmade for family, friends, and donations. Trying to keep up with the growing family kept her extremely busy.

Staying active was the key to a long life for Lila. She lived in Keizer for the past four years. She so looked forward to the Wednesday visits from the St. Edwards Church Outreach members and developed a very special friendship with them. Lila was quite thankful for them and cherished the opportunity to continue her spirituality.

Lila is survived by daughter Ava Collins and son Kenneth (Velma) Howard, both of Lebanon, daughter Roseanne (Warren) Cooper of Sodaville, sons: James Howard and John Howard, and daughter Mary (Bob) Crenshaw, all of Keizer, daughter Jean Maxwell of Salem, brother, Buddy Beebe and sister Nita Carlson of North Bend. Lila was preceded in death by her husbands, son Dean Howard, beloved son-in-law William Collins, grandson Kenneth Collins, granddaughters: Kathy June Howard and JoDean Howard, sisters, Evelyn Fisher and Grace Gruenz, Brothers, Bill Beebe and Donald Beebe and her best friend Lela Guthrie.

Lila was a loving grandmother to 134 (39 grandchildren, 66 great grandchildren, 29 great-great grandchildren) all of whom she was extremely proud of. Her sincere desire to find the good in others and her ability to share her powerful gift of love and compassion will continue to inspire us all forever. The family would like to thank Dr. Randy McCoy and Nurse Angie of the Mid-Valley Medical Group for their many years of compassion and care they gave their mother. Also, they’d like to thank Willamette Valley Hospice for the care they showed as Lila’s life came to and end. Donations may be made to St. Edwards Church Keizer, Oregon or St. Judes Children’s Hospital in honor of Lila Larsen.

Memorial service will be held at St. Edwards Church in Keizer, 5303 River Rd N at 10:30 am Friday, April 30th. As a tribute to Lila, a table will be available to showcase the quilts for all who would like to bring theirs.

Arrangements are under the direction of Sweet Home Funeral Chapel.