Pastor Wayne Larson ( 1932 - 2011)
I was surprised and saddened by the news in 2011 that Pastor Wayne Larson passed away unexpectedly. I am not related to Wayne as there are a few of us Larsons wandering around the Midwest that are not related.
Wayne Larson and his wife Ruth along with their 4 kids (Pat, Lori, and David, and Susie) moved to my home town of Cable Wisconsin around the year 1964 or 1965. Wayne served as the pastor at my home church through 1972 ( I think ) while working on the side for the town plumber to supplement his modest small town pastor's wage.
I have many fond memories of those years as Wayne and his wife Ruth were good friends with my folks. I remember OFTEN my folks would get a call from Wayne & Ruth to put a pot of coffee on, because they were coming over. You see COFFEE was the Northern Wisconsin friendship centerpiece and synonymous with fellowship.
During these years we spent time together as families, and in church. I was friends with their kids, and spent plenty of time with all of them. Along the way I must admit Wayne was a great source of frustration to me for a couple important reasons. 1) He informed me that pro-wrestling was FAKE. 2) He was a Minnesota Viking fan while I was a Packer fan.. and during the years he was in Cable.. THE VIKINGS WERE BETTER THAN THE PACKERS... and he was very happy to remind me (aka rub it in) of this.
Seriously, Wayne was the first pastor I really remember at Cable church and church was the center of my family. Church was where we were on Sunday mornings and evenings, and of course returned again for the traditional Wednesday night youth group while the adults gathered for the weekly prayer meetings. IT IS SO GOOD TO HAVE THIS CHURCH HERITAGE and Wayne and his family were an integral part.
Wayne was the pastor who baptized me when I was 13 or 14 years old, and his personality and love for the Lord was infectious. During these years was when my faith became my own and not just an extension of my parent's faith.
I think it was in 1972 that Wayne and his family left little Cable church for another church in the town of Swanville MN, which is an ironic name since the one time our family visited Wayne & Ruth and their family.. Swanville was knee-deep in Turkey farms. I guess one man's turkey is another fella's swan.
Over the years since leaving Cable my folks kept in touch with Wayne & Ruth and Ruth still visits my mom to this day, and as recently as the last couple years Wayne, Ruth, and their 3 girls Pat, Lori, and Susie came to visit my mom when she was still living in Wisconsin.
My mom now lives here in Minnesota with my family and she speaks fondly often about those years and this friendship that has lasted a lifetime. Wayne and Ruth also made the trip to Cable back in 2002 to attend my father's funeral and Wayne was gracious enough to sing a special hymn at this service. Now that they are both in Heaven my dad can give Wayne a big Wisconsin welcome and thank him in person .. er..aaa. spirit for singing at his funeral.
Though we all grieve during these times of loss, we also must celebrate this life well lived. Wayne loved his family, and loved the Lord. He faithfully served as pastor his whole life and I am sure was greeted in Heaven with the words WELL DONE.. and WELCOME HOME. It is sad I am sure for Ruth and his family to be without Wayne, but I am thankful they were blessed with a loving husband, father, grandpa, and friend. YOU CANNOT take away the many many memories and good times with friends and family and you CANNOT take away all these years of Christian service and the impact he has had for God's kingdom. This makes me smile... This makes God smile.
I must admit I have not seen Wayne since my father's funeral but he was one of those lifelong friends that when I did cross paths with he was so easy to talk with and it was like we never were apart. Wayne was so personable and welcoming and I am sad that he is no longer with us.
May God bless and provide for his family in ways that are beyond what they can imagine until that day when we are together again in our Heavenly home. In the mean time I pray Wayne would keep an eye on my dad so that he keeps out of mischief and so my dad does not skip out of any of Heaven's mandatory chapel services.