Noal Franklin Larson
Noal Franklin Larson
Memorial funeral services for Noal Franklin Larson, lifelong Niobrara County resident, were held Tuesday, Sept. 30 at the county fairgrounds building in Lusk. Pastor Mark Lohr of the Lusk Congregational Church officiated. Cremation has taken place and the remains were buried in the Lusk Cemetery. Larson, 89, passed away Thursday afternoon, Sept. 25 at the VA Hospital in Hot Springs after a lengthy illness.
Born in Lusk on Aug. 9, 1919, Noal was the second son of Ralph and Ina Jewett Larson. His father was a second-generation rancher and his mother, a young pioneer schoolteacher, homesteaded in Niobrara County before the marriage. Noal and his older brother, Warren, were several years older than their two younger siblings, Catherine and Malter.
After graduating from high school, Noal completed a course from Barns Business College in Denver, Colo. and returned to Lusk to work as a bookkeeper at a filling station. With World War II raging, Noal went into the military in May 1942. He had married Evelyn Joeanna Lewis on Jan. 30 of that year. During the war, he served as a gunnery instructor until discharged on Oct. 26, 1945.
Their first daughter, Carol, was born in Lusk and their son, Terry, was born in Ardmore, Okla., where Noal was stationed. After their return to Lusk, they added daughter, Noaleen to their family. Noal initially went to work at Lusk's Texaco Highway Super Station where he worked during high school. He also worked on the Larson family ranch and sheared sheep for supplemental income.
After the death of his father in the late 1950's, he and his two brothers spent 30 years together ranching. Noal, ever the creative person, was looking for a new brand. He drew a picture of a whale and the Larson Ranch became the Whale Ranch.
One thing Noal and Evelyn encouraged, as their children worked alongside them, was formal education. Terry returned to the ranch after his agricultural education, Carol became a physical therapist and Noaleen earned a PhD in Nutrition Education and worked as a dietician.
Over the years, Noal and Evelyn's home was opened to most anyone who needed to stay for a time. Often, when friends and neighbors had to be away for a time, they would make arrangements with the Larsons to leave their children. Evelyn, a talented cook, seamstress and 4-H leader would share her skills with the girls and Noal taught the boys whatever they wanted to learn.
When the couple moved to Lusk in the mid 1980's, Noal continued his devotion to his community. He worked endlessly for the Stagecoach Museum, ever willing to do what he was called to do. He even went as far as often going to the building to relight the furnace when it went out on cold nights. He was also active in several other community organizations including American Legion Post #4, American Farm Bureau, Niobrara Conservation District, Niobrara County Historical Society Museum, and as a 4-H leader.
One of Niobrara County's best-known events is the Legend of Rawhide Pageant, a re-enactment of a legendary area event in the untamed west in 1849. Noal's father trained the first set of oxen to pull wagons for the pageant and Noal continued that over the years. The entire Larson family participated in the event for many years. Noal always encouraged distant relatives and friends to make plans to return when the summer pageant was scheduled.
Noal is survived by Evelyn, his wife of more than 66 years, his son Terry of Lusk, daughter Carol Weaver and her husband Jim of Las Vegas, Nev., and daughter Noaleen Ingalsbe and her husband Gary of Rome, Ga. and Marylou Larson of Lusk. He is survived by nine grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren. Also left to mourn his passing are his sister, Catherine Noah of Casper, and his two brothers Warren Larson and his wife Ginny of Newport News, Va. and Malter Larson of Hot Springs, S.D. along with numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and other relatives, and innumerable friends. He is preceded in death by his parents, Ralph and Ina Larson.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Stagecoach Museum, the Lusk Congregational Church, the VA Hospital in Hot Springs, S.D. and the Niobrara County Fair Board in Lusk. Condolences and donations may be sent to Noal Larson Memorials, PO Box 115, Lusk, WY 82225 and the family will see that the memorials go to the proper entity.
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