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19 Dec 1998
Mr. And Mrs. Leslie Larson find ecstasy in nature
Ruth Burnside Series in Denison Newspapers - circa 1965

A vision after all, is a way of seeing things. You sit on a stump, you see a clump of birch trees, the white mark shining, the leaves all silver underneath. You see the meadow grass with brown earth peeping through its ragged spikes. Through the branches of the trees the hills rise, dark green, fading into blue that meets the pale edge of the sky. This is the kind of vision Mr. And Mrs. Leslie Larson of Kiron sees when observing nature.

They have found that nothing will build more ecstasy in anyone than beauty. The person who has an appreciation for beauty has something inside and will find beauty in life. If everything we think and do is beautiful, we shall not need to seek remedies for the solution of our problems in our relationships with others.

If an artist sets on a stump he gets out his easel and his palette. He daubs blue, white, yellow and even red into the sky, then smears it with his knife and behold he has a beautiful sky. He slaps swatches of umber and vermilion into the front of the picture, next he smears golden greens on top of that. The birch bark he paints gray and white until his picture seems a rainbow of mud pies, but when he finishes, he too has seen a vision.

On the other hand when a scientist sets on the same stuff, he sees the same thing but no shapes or colors, he only sees swirling gases which he calls hydrogen, oxygen and carbon, as well as glittering metals which he calls, iron, lead and copper. He sees that even these are nothing more than bits of space, which are in movement. Electrons zooming around and around one another at so fast a pace that they look like hills, trees and meadow grass.

What the painter sees is real, what the scientist sees is real, what you see is real, but we all see something different. Honest differences of views are not disunity. To the Larsons all nature is especially inviting when they see a rose they not only think of it as flower, but also of its fragrance and color.

Lillian (Bilsten) Larson was born July 24, 1894 in Kiron, the daughter of John Bilsten and Mary (Sederberg) Bilsten. Her father was born in Skåne, Sweden. He attended school in Sweden. In order to avoid military service he came to America. Two of his brothers were already in Arthur so he joined them. He worked as a farm laborer to pay for his trip overseas, his brother had sent him money for the voyage. After he married he lived on a farm seven miles north of Kiron and then he lived on several farms east of Kiron for 30 years when he retired and came to Kiron in 1940.

Mary (Sederberg) Bilsten, her mother, was also born in Skåne, Sweden. At the age of seven she came with her parents to America coming direct to Moline, Illinois. Her father found employment in Moline as a carpenter and after a few years the family came to Crawford county to meet his brother. They came to Denison, The brother wasnít at the station meet them so the father, mother, two sons and a daughter, carrying all their possessions started out to walk to Kiron. Near the Ogren school the brother met them, put them into his wagon and took them to his home. They resided on a farm one and one half miles south of Kiron for two years and then moved to Ida county, where the father passed away. They had purchased an 80 acre farm for $1.50 an acre.

Mrs. Larson attended a rural school finishing the eighth grade, her first teacher was Anna Cronquist. After her schooling, she went to sewing classes conducted by Mrs. Ellen Stone for six months and then began to work as a seamstress. She followed this occupation until her marriage on October 26, 1917 to Leslie Larson. They were married at the Baptist parsonage in Denison with Rev. Hamilton performing the ceremony.

Leslie Larson, the son of Charles Larson and Hilda (Johnson) Larson, was born on January 24, 1896 in Stockholm township, Crawford county. His father was born in Småland, Sweden, his early life was spent there and he attended the Swedish schools. When he was 16 he came to Kiron with his parents, for a while he was employed as a farm hand and helped his parents with their farm work before he got married. After renting several farms, he bought a farm residing on the same until 1901, when he went to South Dakota. He came back to Sioux City to retire.

Hilda (Johnson) Larson, his mother, was born in Helsingland, Sweden. Her early life was spent in Sweden, after the death of her father, her mother came with her six children to Vail to keep house for her brother. Upon the death of her brother, she worked several places in the Vail neighborhood as a housekeeper before she married Mr. Larson.

Mr. Larson attended Stockholm township school No. 4 with Delia Hall as his first teacher, other of his teachers were Kate Curry, Agnes Curry, John Curry and Tom Curry. After Finishing school he went to Omaha for two winters to attend the trade school of the American Automobile college.

In 1916 he started to work in a garage in Kiron owned by Sederberg and Sjögren, the following fall he purchased Sjögrenís one-half interest, later on he bought Sederbergís share and operated the garage until 1957. He was a Chevrolet dealer for 32 years.

He purchased a grocery store in Kiron in 1960 which he operated for three years, then wishing to retire, he closed out the store.

In 1951 he bought the Larson Court, consisting of ten residences at Tuscon, Arizona. The Larsons spend six months each year there and like to spend the summer and fall in Kiron. Their daughter, Mrs. Robert Nelson lives in Tuscon and cares for the court when they are not there.

The Larsons have four children, Mrs. Wilmer (Maxine) Ang of Kiron, Leslie A. Larson Jr., of Tucson, Arizona, Herbert Larson of Tucson, Arizona and Mrs. Robert (Mary) Nelson of Tucson, Arizona. There are 14 grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

"Xxxxx son said, "I donít remember anything unusual, just the general run of repairs, it was not uncommon to get called out anytime during the night and lay on the road fixing a truck that had broken down."

The Larsonís experienced a serious auto accident one year that put Mr. Larson out of circulation for sometime. The accident occurred about three-fourths mile east of Kiron when they were out for a ride. They were hit by a load of high school boys. The boys were so scared they ran and hid. Mr. Larson sustained five broken ribs, a broken shoulder blade and a punctured lung. Mrs. Larson escaped with minor injuries.

His life has been more of less of a political career since 1917 for during that time with the exception of two years he has served as mayor of Kiron for 18 years and was a councilman for 20 years. For 20 years he was a member of the Kiron school board and served a two year term on the Denison Community school board. Besides these offices he was a trustee of the Kiron Telephone company for 10 years. Since 1948 he has been a member of the Kiwanis of Denison, serving this group in the capacity of president in 1963.

Speaking of progress in his line of business he stated, "I think the change has been gradual, probably the biggest changes were made after the war, after the factories had been shut down for a while. Then they came out with automatic transmissions and other new devices."

Fishing is his particular hobby, in the summer while they are in Kiron, he goes to the lakes in Minnesota, during the winter months he goes to Old Mexico and fishes in the Gulf of Mexico. He is also an avid reader and very much interested in local and county affairs. Mr. Larson named flowers and plants for her hobbies, she has her home full of plants even to a small palm she brought from Arizona, in former years she enjoyed doing fancywork.

Both of them believe in the present and its opportunities, in the future and in its promises. They have cultivated the habit of always looking on the bright side of every experience.