Jolene Christine Larson, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend, passed away on May 1, 2023 surrounded by family. She was born on August 27th, 1941 in St. Paul, Minnesota, to parents Joseph and Mildred Bernie. Jolene's journey was filled with love, kindness, beauty, and an abundance of generosity.
Jolene's passion for dance began at the young age of three and continued to bloom throughout her life. She was a student of the Mary Vavro School of Dance, and her talent and dedication culminated in an opportunity to audition for the Radio City Rockettes. Unfortunately, this was not the wish of her mother at the time.
In high school, Jolene fell in love with Robert. She shared stories of making special trips to the Dairy Home, not for ice cream but for the handsome clerk who worked there. They began a beautiful love story that would span nearly six decades. After graduating from Our Lady of Peace in 1959, Jolene continued to teach dance and work at Northern States Power Company. Meanwhile, Bob joined the US Navy Reserves in 1962, and they were married in 1963 at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church.
Jolene and Bob started their life together on the east side of St. Paul, where they welcomed their sons Keith and Kevin. Later, they moved to Maplewood, where their daughter Kristin was born. Jolene's love for her family was extraordinary, and she always made sure they were surrounded by lifelong friends, and tight knit family to create cherished memories.
Together, they opened an automotive repair shop in St. Paul, which later became a family business in Maplewood.
In 1992, Jolene and Bob built their dream home retreat on 50 acres in Marine on St. Croix. From anywhere in the house, she had a view that made her smile. And in the living room, space for the most spectacular Christmas tree. This was Jolene's favorite holiday with the tree, lights, decorations, the food, special visits from Santa with the grandkids, and of course family al together under one roof.
They filled their years with travel, stunning gardens, and family events. Their honeymoon, spent in Colorado, was just the first of many travel adventures spent together. Jolene reminisced often about Jamaica, Mexico, and Hawaii. Once having children, family vacations included Disney, Mt Rushmore and road trips West. As their children grew and grandchildren arrived, travel included special trips with each of them. There wasn't a state left untouched by Jolene and Bob, they hit all 50! Alaska was a favorite at the top of her list but she also loved the history of the New England States and the beauty of the West coast. Car trips evolved to a trailer, then to the RV and eventually to a second home in Florida where the palms, saltwater and warm sun rivaled all the rest. Winters would be spent in Jensen beach Florida, enjoying the company of family, friends and the warmth of the sun.
Jolene was a hockey mom for many years, cheering on her kids from the stands and ringing her cowbell for every goal. Her years in the arena continued with their daughter as a figure skater. Jolene was also a proud grandmother who attended all of her grandchildren's sports, competitions and school events.
She organized family events with meticulous detail and thoughtfulness, creating cherished memories for everyone. It was one of Jolene's greatest joys to have family together. It wasn't work; it was love.
Jolene's gardens were a source of envy for all who saw them. They were filled with a variety of vibrant flowers. Every single weed was pulled by hand. Her love for gardening was matched only by her love for her family. Above all, Jolene will be remembered for her warm heart, kind demeanor, and selfless generosity. Her spirit will continue to live on in the hearts of all those who were fortunate enough to know her. Although we feel a deep sense of loss, we can take comfort in the knowledge that Jolene is at peace and reunited with loved ones who have gone before her.
As we say a Heavenly goodbye, let us honor her memory by living our lives with the same warmth, kindness, and generosity that she embodied. And when we see a Red Cardinal perched outside our windows, let us remember that Jolene is watching over us, sending her love and light from the Heavens. Rest in peace, dear Jolene, and thank you for enriching our lives with your presence. We will always carry you in our hearts.
Jolene is survived by her devoted husband, Bob; her children, Kristin, Keith (Denise), Kevin (Amy) and Shannon Bentz; her seven, adored grandchildren, Afton, Brock, Hunter, Riley, Sydney, Sierra and Blake, her siblings, Denise (Al) Fischer and Joel (Debbie) Bernie; and by many other cherished family members and close friends.
Funeral Mass 11:00am on Wednesday, May 17th at St. Mary of the Lake Church, 4741 Bald Eagle Ave., White Bear Lake with visitation beginning at 10:00. Lunch to directly follow Mass across the street from St. Mary's at Mueller Memorial Funeral Home gathering area 4738 Bald Eagle Ave, White Bear Lake, MN, 55110. Private, family burial to follow at a later date.