Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2015-08-26
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

PASSAGES: PFLAG's John Larson dies
2013-01-28

facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


John Victor Larson, 73, of North Versailles, Penn., formerly of Plainfield, Ill., died, January 24 at Redstone Highlands Skilled Nursing Facility in Greensburg, Penn.

Larson was a vital force in PFLAG activities in Illinois, including PFLAG's support of the Gay Games VII in 2006 and its efforts to have rowing in Crystal Lake.

He was born May 5, 1939 in Peoria, Ill., a son of Velma Mae Kneer Larson of Weslaco, Texas and the late Robert Victor Larson. He was also preceded in death by his wife, Bonnie Lou Nafziger Larson.

Larson was a retired nuclear engineer for Westinghouse. He attended schools in Morton, Ill. and graduated from the University of Illinois. He was a member of numerous peace and civil-rights organizations and was an active member of St. John's, Lockport, Ill., and St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in McKeesport, Penn. His involvement with PFLAG and the Episcopal Church formed the center of his life in his later years.

In addition to his mother, he is survived by his sons: James (Karen) Larson and Michael Larson; daughter: Stephanie Larson (Chris) Graham; seven grandchildren; sisters: Martha (Paul) Rogers, Valerie Larson, Roberta Larson and two nephews.

A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, March 2, 2013 at Noon in St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, 220 Eighth Street, McKeesport, Penn., 15132 with Rev. David L. Kinsey as celebrant. Inurnment will follow in St. Stephen's Columbarium.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to either St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church, 312 East 11th Street, Lockport, Ill. 60441 and/or PFLAG Council of Northern Illinois (where a scholarship fund is being established), P.O. Box 734, Elmhurst, Ill. 60126, and/or St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, 220 Eighth Street, McKeesport, Penn. 15132.

Arrangements entrusted to the Jaycox-Jaworski Funeral Home, Inc., 2703 O'Neil Boulevard, McKeesport, PA 15132.

Toni Weaver of PFLAG wrote the following tribute to Larson in the PFLAG Open Doors newsletter:

Special people have always been a part of PFLAG, people who have given of themselves in extraordinary ways, people who have taken positions of leadership, inspiring others to follow suit. Two such people are John Larson and Barbara Schon-Lundberg, both of whom are no longer among us. It is they we wish to honor in this edition of Open Doors. If only they had lived to read this tribute. We hope that it will bring some measure of comfort and consolation to the families they have left behind.

Ill health forced John to make the most difficult decision to leave Illinois, his church family, and his PFLAG chapter to move closer to his children. Renegade renal cancer cells migrated to his brain and finally to his spine, triggering the need for additional treatment. Despite the debilitating effects of chemotherapy and radiation, John continued passionately working on behalf of the LGBT community. Sadly, the cancer claimed his body, but it could never claim his spirit.

John and his spouse Bonnie learned of their son's sexual orientation, not through the usual "Mom, Dad, I have something to tell you … . " Rather, they heard it from the police after their son had been arrested for having sex in a public washroom. Initially shocked and upset as any parent would be, they quickly embraced their son's sexuality after taking the only appropriate course of action for an engineer—they educated themselves on every aspect of homosexuality.

John and Bonnie founded the first PFLAG chapter in Pittsburg. When they moved to Illinois, they began the Aurora/Fox Valley chapter. John lost his beloved partner in life more than 10 years ago, but he continued on without her as he helped to establish the PFLAG Council of Northern Illinois and served as its first president. Later, he took on the responsibilities of state coordinator, keeping all of the PFLAG chapters in Illinois connected. Nothing could keep John from the annual Chicago Pride Parade. Even when he was forced to use a walker, he was there!

His passion for his family and PFLAG could not eclipse his love for his church. He served as Senior Warden, the highest position that a layperson can hold within the parish, and it gave him a platform from which to work for LGBT equality within his parish and the wider church communion. His death creates a vacuum that will take all of us to fill.

Barbara lost her fight against brain cancer in October and departed this life surrounded by her beloved life-partner Larry and two precious sons, Steven and Russell. She had served but one year of her two-year term as president of the PFLAG Council of Northern Illinois when the grim diagnosis came down. Prior to that role, Barbara served as editor-in-chief of Open Doors in addition to her work in the Glenview/Deerfield chapter. At the time of her departure from the Council, she was focused on making PFLAG more racially diverse, arranging for PFLAG National to provide diversity training and working toward the establishment of a PFLAG chapter on Chicago's South Side among the ethnically and culturally diverse population who live there. Her dream may yet become a reality as others take up the cause.

Barbara's involvement in PFLAG did not come about from having a gay son; rather, she took up the fight for equality when she was told by her brother that the courts would not look favorably upon a gay man being appointed guardian of her children. Her first reaction was complete outrage: how dare "they" tell her who could or could not raise her children!

Barbara was omnipresent at PFLAG events throughout the Chicagoland area. With her faithful life partner, Larry, by her side, she made her presence and passion known. If only she were here among us today as Illinois moves ever closer to making marriage equality a reality.

This past June, PFLAG National recognized Barbara during its "PFLAG Celebrates the Heartland" event at the Center on Halsted, presenting Larry with a plaque honoring her devotion to LGBT equality, which he carried home and placed within easy viewing of Barbara. Sadly, at that point, she was completely homebound but still fully aware and responsive. It was really but a small honor for a woman who gave herself completely for others.

John and Barbara, like so many members of PFLAG, provide concrete examples of what ordinary people, acting in extraordinary ways, can do to move equality forward. All of us working together can bring about real change in this world if we're but willing to move out of our comfort zones and take meaningful action.

John and Barbara, we thank you. Farewell, dear friends. You'll live on in our memories; you'll live on in your accomplishments; you'll live on in the hearts of all who knew and loved you.


facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Writer Oliver Sacks dies at age 82 2015-08-30
PASSAGES Roscoe's staffer Sara Sullivan dies 2015-08-22
PASSAGES Mark Palermo 2015-08-18
PASSAGES Joel B. Carothers dies 2015-08-16
PASSAGES Civil-rights icon Julian Bond dies 2015-08-16
PASSAGES Carlyle J. Jajko, 83 2015-08-12
PASSAGES Earl McDonald 2015-08-05
PASSAGES Yoshi Katsumura 2015-08-04
William B. Kelley remembered 2015-08-02
PASSAGES Bill Kelley memorial Aug. 1 2015-07-28
Former lawmaker dies in accident 2015-07-27
PASSAGES Tania Nichole Dunbar, a founding member of SPARTA, dies 2015-07-22
Memorial for activist Bill Kelley on Aug. 1 2015-07-21
PASSAGES Terry Readdus, 1948-2015 2015-07-07
Memorial planned for Chicago Dramatists' Russ Tutterow 2015-07-03
Texas victim of a hate motivated violence dies 2015-06-30
PASSAGES Samantha Hundley 2015-06-24
Activist Goodman passes away 2015-06-21
Memorial for William B. Kelley Aug. 1 2015-06-19
PASSAGES Leonard Hirsch 2015-06-17
PASSAGES Omar Alberto Valencia Hernandez dies 2015-06-12
PASSAGES Ronnie Gilbert of the Weavers dies 2015-06-10
PASSAGES Ronald Zierer 2015-06-03
PASSAGES Ron Zierer dies at 81 2015-05-26
PASSAGES James Murphy dies 2015-05-22
Longtime gay activist William B. Kelley dies 2015-05-20
PASSAGES Longtime gay activist William B. Kelley dies 2015-05-17
PASSAGES Michael Nixon 2015-05-13
PASSAGES Kevin Heffernan 2015-05-13
PASSAGES Laurence Davis, NU piano scholar, dies 2015-05-13
PASSAGES Author Nikki Rashan dies 2015-05-13
PASSAGES Alonzo D. Hayes 2015-05-09
Or Chadash Passover seder includes LGBTQ-focused passages 2015-05-05
PASSAGES J. Robert Caldwell 2015-05-02
PASSAGES Danny Rodriguez 2015-05-01
Longtime lesbian-feminist activist Sidney Abbott dies 2015-04-17
PASSAGES Jim Oleson, partner of historian John D'Emilio, dies 2015-04-05
PASSAGES "Ninure" Dawn Saunders 2015-04-03
PASSAGES Former Chicagoan Stan Dale Boyer dies 2015-03-29
PASSAGES Carl Sharp 2015-03-28
 



Copyright © 2015 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.