Barbara Kay (Nelson) Larson

December 31, 1945 ~ December 12, 2021 (age 75)


Larson, Barbara (Barb) Kay, age 75, passed away surrounded by her family in the early hours of Sunday, December 12, 2021, at Wealshire of Medina Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Community, not far from where she and her husband Gary made their home for 40 years in Orono, Minnesota.

Barb was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Bernie and Carolmae Nelson. She grew up in Golden Valley, Minnesota, and graduated from Robbinsdale High School. She attended Gustavus Adolphus College where she met the love of her life Gary. She completed nursing school at Bethesda in St. Paul before entering a 40-year career as an RN at North Memorial Hospital.

From 1970 -72, Barb and Gary lived in Yalova, Turkey while Gary was in the Army. Here, great friends were made, and stories of their 2 years in Turkey are told to this day.

In the following years, Barb and Gary built their life together in the community of Orono, raising their two children and creating her beautiful gardens and yard.

In their retirement years, many rounds of golf were played (often 36 holes a day) and many roads and skies were traveled to all 50 states, more than 60 countries, all of the Canadian provinces and all seven continents. All after having been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2012.

Gardening, reading, golfing, grandkids, family, road trips, traveling the world, spending winters in the greater Palm Springs area, these are the things Barb loved.

Laughing until tears rolled down her face, her quiet sense of humor, her gentle kindness, hosting Christmas Eve for 50 family members AND Christmas Day for 25 family members for over 30 years, getting on her hands and knees and playing with her young granddaughter at 70+, these are some of the things we loved about her.

She never met a person or an animal that she didn’t love or who didn’t love her right back. She always had a smile on her face, even when facing this most difficult disease. And she cared deeply and lovingly for others - her family, her friends and anyone else she came across. Everyone loved Barb, too. No one can ever recall Barb saying a bad thing about anyone.

Barb was a beautiful person inside and out. She was an incredible wife, mom, daughter, grandma, sister, niece, nurse, caregiver, travel partner and friend.

Barb was proceeded in death by her mom Carolmae Nelson Ostroot, dad Bernie Nelson, stepdad Chuck Ostroot, brother Jimmy Nelson, mother-in-law Lorraine Larson, niece Shannon Childs, special friends Sheri Menge and Sylvia Stroup and BARB’s beloved dog Barney.

She is survived by her husband of 54 years, Gary Larson, son, Eric Larson and daughter-in-law Karen Massey, daughter, Annie Larson Quinn, son-in-law Spencer Quinn, granddaughters Hazel Mae and Rainey Quinn, granddog Wendell, sisters Carol Ann Dickinson (Skip), Mary Beth Allen (Charley) and Cathi Nelson (John Jensen), sisters-in-law Linda Roth (Peter) and Becky Larson, brother-in-law Bruce Larson, nieces Melissa Villagomez, Katie Allen, Emily Allen, Erin Tate, Tara Stillwell, Megan Winter and Greta Maloney, and nephews Doug Herrmann, Rob Herrmann, Andy Childs and Peter (PJ) Roth.

She will be so missed and always loved. Her memory faded over the last few years, but her love and light never did.

Heartfelt thank you to the staff at Wealshire of Medina Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Community and Allina Hospice Care, especially nurses Peggy, Tawnya and music therapist Lisa.

There will be a private family gathering in January, and a celebration of Barb’s life for all in July 2022 at the family home, when her gardens are most spectacular. Memorials are preferred to the Alzheimer's Association in Barb’s honor at

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