Cover photo for Joanne Larsen's Obituary
Joanne Larsen Profile Photo
1941 Joanne 2021

Joanne Larsen

August 9, 1941 — May 8, 2021

A life and a legacy began August 9th, 1941 with the birth of Joanne Evelyn (Temple) Larsen. Her life was transformed but did not end on Saturday, May 8, 2021, when at age 79, at home with her family by her side, she passed from her earthly life after a hard-fought battle with cancer. Joanne was born in Roberts County, SD to Alfred and Evelyn (Erickson) Temple. She grew up on the family farm with two older brothers, attended a one room schoolhouse and graduated from Wilmot High School. Joanne's childhood piqued many interests and she learned skills which grew into callings in her later life. At five years old, Joanne and her eldest brother were diagnosed with Polio and spent several months at the University of Minnesota hospital. She admired the doctors and nurses who cared for them and has always supported the March of Dimes who provided financial support for their treatment. Joanne spent time at her Grandmother Erickson's immaculately kept home, and baked cookies with her Grandma Temple. Her mother began giving her free rein in her family's home kitchen before age 6. When baking cookies, her first step was to go out to the corn crib where she would gather cobs to start the fire! Joanne began building a life-long partnership with Larry Larsen at age 14 when he offered her a ride home from church choir practice. She accepted the ride because he was a man of faith from a loving family. Larry was sitting in a Studebaker in front of her house when he proposed to Joanne on July 3, 1959. They were married on May 29th, 1960 at Wilmot Lutheran Church. Joanne moved to Moorhead, Minnesota where Larry attended Concordia College. She lived at the YWCA as she trained to become a beautician. Following Larry's graduation from Concordia in 1962, they moved to Sisseton, SD, where Larry began his teaching career. When his career offered an opportunity in Rochester, Minnesota, in 1968, they moved there with their three children. Two more sons came soon after. Joanne was a loving and wonderful mother to her five children: Paul, Mary Jo, Mark, Steve, and Dan. She loved being a mother and was actively involved with all of them and their activities, and later with her grandchildren. She was not only Mom, but a teacher, cook, baker, nurse, 4-H and Scout Leader, Godmother, and did many community service projects even while raising her children. She was the most vocal and supportive member of the cheer squad whenever her boys were on the wrestling mat! Joanne loved watching them play football and other sports and was always there to show her daughter and granddaughters how to bake and sew. She enjoyed watching Minnesota's professional teams play any sport too, and Vikings and Twins games became important family time. Joanne's love of baking led to cake decorating. She had a secret recipe for frosting which she passed on to a couple of granddaughters with a promise of secrecy. She made wedding cakes for her children, and close friends, and many birthday, anniversary, baptismal, confirmation, and other celebratory cakes. They were a special and delicious gift filled with love. She also baked bread and other treats which she shared at events and took with her when visiting the elderly and others in need of care. While working at St Mary's Hospital Salon her youngest child experienced a serious illness. Joanne's life-long passion to become a nurse was re-kindled. With Larry's encouragement, and five children at home, she began her formal nursing education. Her nursing career at St. Mary's Hospital, began in 1977, lasting 20 years with most of her time spent on the GI Unit, adding to her calling of loving and caring for others. Joanne always went above and beyond the call of duty to aid her patients and many kept in touch after returning home. She was always highly regarded as a nurse and was preceptor to many other nurses over the years. She formed life-long friendships with fellow nurses, two of which later became daughters-in-law. She and Larry also hosted families traveling from their homes and needing a place to stay while attending medical appointments in Rochester. Joanne was always active in her church, leading Bible studies, and serving as President of the WELCA at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church. In 1979, Larry and Joanne learned of a mission church forming and became founding members of Hosanna Lutheran Church. Joanne and Larry worked as a team, building Hosanna's Stephen Ministry and they both wrote devotions. Joanne was encouraged to use her love of writing to publish some of her devotions and when she did, she shared them with her family. She also helped turn a donation in memory of a former friend and congregational member who lost her battle with cancer into the Susan Suppers, purchasing a freezer to store meals meant to be shared with families experiencing medical challenges or other trauma. In 1999, an idea was born in her daughter's mind and Joanne joined the effort which later became Bundles of Love Charity. Joanne's enjoyment of sewing and needlework, taught to her daughter, became a calling to provide essential clothing and bedding to help babies of underprivileged families. These families were given supplies they needed for their baby to have a good start to life. Joanne was one of the original board members of the organization and helped establish the Rochester volunteer group along with fellow retired nurse, Mary Rossman. She was recognized more than once by KTTC's Ten Who Make a Difference. Joanne supported Larry when his trips to Europe to expose German students to German culture became a full-time vocation and he helped build a business which offered tours to language students and later adult groups. Economic and other changes resulted in challenges and eventually a newly created business which is carried on by Paul and Shannon. Joanne accompanied Larry on many Ed-Ventures tours to Europe and the Holy lands, and other amazing destinations. She loved being able to witness her grandson Curtis' (and Karina's) wedding in Costa Rica and has kept in touch with many travel friends from at least 5 continents. She considered all those she met as her neighbors in a global community. Joanne was extremely proud of Mark's and Shannon's service in the military. When both were deployed by the Army to support the Kosovo mission, she worked in the Ed-Ventures office, using her organizational skills to help fill the gap created by their absence. Recently, her granddaughter Hannah completed a deployment in Africa with the National Guard. Joanne eagerly awaited her return and greeted her shortly before her passing. Even while home-bound, Joanne reached out to others, making phone calls to encourage those isolated at home, reminding her children of others whom they could help, sharing food and baked goods given by her family to others needing love and support. Joanne was grateful throughout her illness, counting every blessing. She was upheld and cared for by family and friends. She was especially grateful for the Mayo Clinic medical team led by Dr. Peethambaram and the Mayo Clinic Hospice team. She enjoyed asking the medical team about their countries of origin and valued the diverse backgrounds and caring attention. The entire Larsen family would like to thank Maureen, Karen, Brent, and the whole hospice team for their understanding, sensitive care, and prayers which made her last days comfortable. Joanne thought the best calling of all was being Mom, Grandma and later Great Grandma. Her time under hospice care allowed her to pray, read devotions and share memories and wisdom with her children and grandchildren as she prepared for her transition to Heaven. These caregivers were truly a gift to all. Joanne repeated in her last days that she lived a life she could not have imagined. She fulfilled her dreams of creating a close family and caring for others. Her family was the core of her world and she took care of us with endless energy. Her family went beyond her children, and she made those she met also feel like family. Joanne was the essence of her Christian faith. She was a role model our world needs from us all - love, caring, empathy, understanding and giving. Our collective prayer is that her legacy lives on through us and those whose lives we touch until we meet again. Joanne joins her brother Ross and her parents in Heaven. She is survived by her loving husband of 60 years, Larry, children Paul (Lynn) Larsen, Mary Jo (Randy) Prinsen, Mark (Shannon) Larsen, Steve (Jennifer) Larsen, and Dan (Donna) Larsen who all reside within an hour of Rochester, grandchildren Curtis (Karina) Larsen, Scott Larsen (Sarah Stephenson), Steven (Jessie) Larsen, Laura (Jason) Ruiz, Robert(Katie) Prinsen, Ryan (Caitlin) Prinsen, Miranda Prinsen, Michael (Kalley) Eggert-Larsen, Caitlin Larsen, Chance Larsen, Grace Larsen, Jared Larsen, Hannah Larsen, Nicholas Larsen; 8 great grandchildren with a 9th on the way; brother Curtis (Joyce) Temple, sisters-in-law Delores Ward and Irene Ellsworth; brothers-in-law Don Larsen and Jerry (Jeanette) Larsen; and many nieces, nephews and other extended family. A memorial service will be held inside for family only at Hosanna Lutheran Church, 2815 57th St NW, Rochester, MN 55901 on Sunday, May 23 at 1:00 pm. Those in attendance can listen to it via 88.3 FM in the church parking lost or watch it live streamed via the Ranfranz and Vine Facebook page: Visitation will be held on Saturday, May 22 from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm at Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Homes, 5421 Royal Pl NW, Rochester, MN. A larger Celebration of Life is planned for later in the summer. In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to Bundles of Love Charity or a charity of your choice. Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Home is honored to be serving the Larsen family; to share a special memory or condolence please visit
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Joanne Larsen, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, May 22, 2021

1:00 - 3:00 pm (Central time)

Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Homes

5421 Royal Pl NW, Rochester, MN 55901

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Sunday, May 23, 2021

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Central time)

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