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  • 81 years old
  • Born on March 24, 1933 .
  • Passed away on July 21, 2014 .

"Phyllis Joan Larsen, known to friends and family as "P. J." or "Auntie Phyl" or Phyl of "Phyl and Dickse" or simply as "Phyl," has taken her "Big Leave." She was 81 and, as she had always hoped, when her time came she left quickly with loved ones nearby.

Phyl came of age at a time when women were often expected to "follow along" but "following along" was always the last thing "PJ" ever wanted to do. She did things her way throughout her life.  Armed with little more than her remarkable tenacity, she would usually find a way to accomplish what she set her mind to in spite of constraints and restrictions imposed by a society that had not yet caught up with a young woman's belief in her own self-reliance. Phyl would simply find the way to "get it done." She surrounded herself with other strong and forward-thinking individuals and made it a part of her personal journey to pass to others her belief that the ability to trust in one's own sense of purpose was what separated "doers" from followers.

She learned to take care of herself on her own terms, and then she took care of everyone around her.

Many will remember Phyl for her care and devotion to her friend and companion "Dickse" or "Dix."  Phyl's care and compassion was indeed uncompromising, and no one could ever ask more of any friendship. She spent years helping her friend battle the physical and emotional challenges associated with the insidious disease called "chronic progressive multiple sclerosis," becoming physically and emotionally exhausted herself as Dickse's illness progressed. Sadly, as MS increasingly took its toll on her friend, Phyl became her surrogate voice, so when Phyl "left," in many ways Dickse's voice left as well.

This act of care and giving was remarkable, but Phyl was defined by so much more. She was also the person who always had the coffee ready so that her family, friends, and even friends of friends would have a place to gather. She offered her home as a refuge to so many through the years, sometimes for a few hours of conversation, sometimes as a place to stay and pull it back together, and she strove to keep an open mind and offer a non-judgmental ear even as the world around her changed.

She was someone who could either "just listen" or who would offer truthful but compassionate advice. She loved to hear about everyone's latest adventure and loved to laugh, especially at her self! Before her own health began to fail she loved to travel, often at the spur of the moment, and her curiosity about the world remained sharp and focused. She read her paper daily, followed local and world events, loved her "Rachel" and her sports.

Preceded in death by her parents, Madsen & Mamie Larsen, her sister, Betty Ann Kuhl, and her brother in–law, Lavern Kuhl, Phyl is survived by Dickse Kirch, "adopted" children Marilyn Nataupsky and Jon Kirch (Marjorie Hillson), niece Karen Silvernail and nephew Mark Kuhl, childhood and lifelong friend Mae Laigo, her dear friends Lynda Parker and "Dot" Hageman and many great-nieces and nephews as well as extended family members and friends, all of whom miss her greatly.

Phyllis believed any form of bigotry was vile and inexcusable and she never met a child that she didn't love. In her memory, please consider a donation to the Multiple Sclerosis Society or an agency that promotes tolerance and social justice. 

Here's Dickse's memorial http://www.forevermissed.com/dickse-kirch/#about
 

Posted by Ronald Larsen on 18th June 2018
I am a long lost cousin, originally from Nebraska, the Larsen family home. Hans Larsen, Mads's brother, was my father. I did not know Phyllis, but I now read about her dedication and loving care for Dix and her fight with MS. I give my heartfelt thanks for people like Phyllis who can give of themselves again and again to help others. I am proud to be a relative of hers!
Posted by Marilyn Nataupsky on 21st July 2016
Missing you today...as I do everyday! Reflecting, with love, decades of fond memories
Posted by Marilyn Nataupsky on 21st July 2015
Miss and think of you each and every day with love.
Posted by Carolyn Balmer on 24th March 2015
Happy Birthday, Phyllis!! Will always remember the many slumber parties, trips to the movies, trips to the ocean, many ball games and just plain good times!, will treasure those memories forever! Love, Carolyn
Posted by Ashley Nataupsky on 22nd October 2014
I will always cherish the fond memories I have of my beloved "Auntie Phyl". I loved her like a grandmother, and am thankful to her for devoting everything she had to taking care of my grandmother, Dickse. I will miss listening to her wild stories of her youth, and her later travels, over freshly brewed coffee in her always welcoming home. Her warmth, humor, and love will never be forgotten.
Posted by Marilyn Nataupsky on 21st August 2014
I will forever cherish the endless memories created over the past 60 years. No words could ever express how grateful I am for your love, dedication and devotion to caring for Mom as well as Jon, me and my family. You will reside in my heart for the rest of my days as you were deeply loved.
Posted by Karen Silvernail on 18th August 2014
She was a wonderful person and great aunt we will all miss. She is now with her mother, father sister,brother-in law and niece which we all miss everday.

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