Howard R. Larson

Howard R. Larson, 86, of Pepin, WI died Thursday, June 6, 2019, at Atrium Post Acute Care in Ellsworth, WI. He was born September 24, 1932, at home in Pepin County, WI; son of Norris and Gladys (Wold) Larson.
He graduated from Pepin High School in 1950. He worked on the family farm until the summer of 1959 when he followed the gal who would later become his wife to St. Paul, MN. He was “cautiously” hired by Hoerner Waldorf Paper Corporation to work overnight shifts. Sadly, they were not sure they had work appropriate for a “farm boy”. When the factory line shut down one night, Howard offered to help. With things quickly up and running again. Howard was called to the office and promptly assigned to work days for the Maintenance Department! Later that year, he decided to return to farming where he proved again and again that no breakdown was beyond his innate mechanical abilities.
Howard married Sandy Dettling on February 6, 1960 at the Lund Mission Covenant Church. The farm on Pepin Hill would become their home. Side-by-side, they operated their dairy farm until 1996 at which time they switched to a cash crop operation. Through the years, Howard made many efforts to protect the productivity of his cropland by applying approved conservation practices.
At the tender age of four, Howard’s mother discovered his gift for music. She played piano as her little man sang. Dressed in his suit, he first sang publicly for a Farm Hill School PTA meeting. From there, Howard went on to provide special music for numerous churches and community events, weddings, anniversaries, and hundreds of funerals over the course of his life. In 2011, Howard and Luella Dettling, with the help of Pastor Joel Anderson, were able to record a compilation of 15 songs on CD as a Christmas surprise for Howard’s family. Late in 2018 his granddaughter, Danni, uploaded the CD to Youtube. Grandpa Howie was quite overwhelmed by the fact he could now be “goggled.” What a treasure left behind by this family’s “Favorite Bass”.
Many years ago, Howard became interested in tractors, beyond those which he needed for farming. A modified 4000 John Deere made him a top contender at tractor pulls in five surrounding counties. Howard found joy in restoring old tractors. At times that proved to be a painstaking process which gave Howard stories to tell. Over the years, he gathered photos and submitted stories for publication in “Iron Memories”. Photos of three of his collector tractors were featured on the cover of “Fastline”. Howard was a long time member of the Lund Mission Covenant Church and served many terms on its Board. He had the privilege of serving 30 years on the Town of Pepin Board and served as a member of the USDA FSA Committee.
He is survived by his wife, Sandy Larson of Pepin, WI; children, Dee (David) Novak of Ellsworth; Michael (Debra) Larson of Pepin; grandchildren, Danni (Brad) Noel of Pepin, Nikki (Zach) Gilles of Durand, Jessi (Josh) Anderson of Pine Island, MN, Travis (Katie) Drier of Durand; great-grandchildren, Landon Noel, Knox Gilles, Elise and Lauren Anderson; nieces, Cyndi Luster of Harpers Ferry, IA; Sally Clark of DeWitt, IA and their families; and his trusted right-hand man, Troy Kitchner of Durand, WI.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Norris and Gladys (Wold) Larson; brother, Dale Larson; father and mother-in-law, Glenn and Ella Dettling.
Family would like to thank ALL who have faithfully made time to send cards and visit Howard during his many health challenges. Each and every gesture was a blessing to him and his family.
Thank you to Atrium Post Acute Care for accepting Howard into their warm and inviting “home”. Family greatly appreciates all of the wonderful, compassionate staff who diligently worked to not just care for, but love up on Howard and his family.
Thanks also to the entire St. Croix Hospice Team. Your “extra” physical and spiritual care, precious music, gentle massage, and support will long be remembered. You truly were the hands and feet of Christ to Howard and his family during his final journey.
Funeral Services were held at 1:00 pm, Monday, June 10, 2019 at Lund Mission Covenant Church in Lund, WI with Pastor Darren Catron officiating. Burial was in the Marie Lund Cemetery immediately following. Friends called from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm at the church on Monday. Goodrich Funeral Home in Durand is assisting the family. To express condolences on-line, visit obituaries at


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