Juanita Anne Larson
August 25, 1923 – August 15, 2021
Juanita Anne Larson died on August 15, 2021. She was born Juanita Anne LaPointe on August 25, 1923 in Butte, Montana, to Violet Elizabeth Smith and O’Brien Michael LaPointe.
Juanita was raised by her grandmother Mary Elizabeth Smith in Elkhorn, Montana during the Great Depression; Stockton, California; Pollock, Idaho; Spokane, Washington; and Boulder, Montana. Her grandmother was a single housewife near Radersburg, Montana. Juanita is named after a beloved teacher in the Toston area.
After high school in Spokane, Juanita took a job in Boulder, Montana, where she met her future husband. On Valentine’s Day 1943 in Boulder, she and Jim knocked on the local judge’s door and asked him to marry her, since Jim was leaving for service in the 70th Infantry Division during World War II in two days.
In 1944 Juanita and Jim had a son, Jimmy, in Helena. When Jimmy was a toddler, Juanita received a telegram in which her husband was seriously wounded on an operation in France. For weeks she didn’t know whether her husband was alive or dead. Finally she received a telegram that he was in a hospital. His leg was later amputated.
Juanita, Jim, and Jimmy moved to Missoula so Jim could study law at the University of Montana. In 1950 they had a daughter Lea. The family returned to Helena and had sons Gary in 1952 and Neil in 1967.
In 1991 her husband Jim died of complications from pneumonia.
Juanita loved being in the mountains, and she often spent the weekends exploring dirt roads and enjoying a picnic by a shady stream – especially in the Elkhorns.
Known for her red hair, generosity, and sense of humor, Juanita was the revered matriarch of a family of four children and their spouses, seven grandchildren and their spouses, and nine great-grandchildren.
At the age of 87, Juanita decided to get her first and only tattoo: a tiny red rose, her husband Jim’s favorite flower, on her wrist.
Juanita, a popular neighborhood around Helena’s Jefferson Elementary School, lived in the house she built with her husband in 1954 until she was 97 years old.
She lived in the Son Heaven Assisted Living Home in Helena for the last six months of her life.
Juanita precedes her husband James McLean Larson in death; her parents Violet Elizabeth Smith and O’Brien Michael LaPointe; and half-sisters Betty McLaughlin and Noma Rowley and half-brother Bill Harris.
She leaves behind her four children, James Larson (Mary) of Manhattan, Montana; Lea Solberg from Helena; Gary Larson (Debbie) from Helena; and Neil Larson (Colleen) of Helena; her seven grandchildren, Jessica Solberg (Gavin Remaley) of Boise, Idaho; Regina Hultin (Chad) from Helena; Eric Larson (Stacey) from Manhattan; Tylor Larson (Jacquie) of Missoula; Corrie Larson from Manhattan; Chad Larson (Delicia) of Helena; and Quinn Larson of Helena; and her nine great-grandchildren, Nathan and Ava Hultin of Helena; Dani Jo, Bryleigh, and Maybelle Larson from Manhattan; Dillon Clifford, Cyla, and driver Larson from Helena; and Alina Larson from Missoula. She is also survived by her brother-in-law Wayne Larson from Maryland and several nieces and nephews.
Juanita is buried next to her husband Jim in Boulder Cemetery in Boulder, Montana, overlooking the historic Larson Ranch where Jim grew up.
Instead of flowers, please consider donating to a veterans or animal welfare organization.
Published by Helena Independent Record on August 22, 2021.