BONNER — How do you sum up a wonderful person’s life in just a few words? You can’t, because she was so much to so many people — a great mom, grandma, wonderful friend and loving wife.
She had a mind that never stopped; always sharing ideas with her family and friends about her next travel adventure, business plan or project around the home and yard. She was full of dreams and things she wanted to do. She had a love for the outdoors, whether it be sitting on the front porch with her dogs, walking around the field or planting/weeding flowers in her yard.
When asked what you remember most of Mom, unanimously heard, she was a good listener and confidant… she provided advice based on her experiences, we all learned from her. Many of us truly cherish the fact that we were able to learn from her successes as well as her mistakes without having to experience them first hand (this is meant to be a true gratitude).
She was also great cook, never made a bad meal and passed onto her kids the value of a home-cooked meal and family sit down dinners. As teenagers we know we were to be home for dinner and expected to share our daily activities. She worked hard to preserve the family bond. Although we eventually ended up spread across the country, she strove to bring us together. The time with her family was more precious than gold!
Born in Missoula on Nov. 8, 1936, she lived across the state with her father as a miner and later after her mom passed at the age of nine, she lived with her grandparents who managed or owned businesses in various locations in Montana, thus her entrepreneurial mind.
She married at 16 to Roy O. Wills and lived to Potomac valley where they had four children. In the late 1960s with itchy feet she adventured out as a single woman; she got a job as a waitress and bartender. Eventually meeting her soul mate/husband of nearly 41 years, David R. Larson. This union brought two families together for a total of eight children. In 1973, they loaded up and headed to Alaska where Bev’s dad (Red MacDonald) worked at AJ Mine in Juneau. Eventually moving to Fairbanks, Alaska where she worked as a clerk in the locally owned grocery store. With the extra income from the TransAlaska pipeline boom, Bev and Dave acquired real property and made other investments including purchasing the La Fray homestead on the Blackfoot River outside of Bonner. This property was purchased for their retirement years, where in early the 1990s they took up full-time residence. Their grandkids have many fond memories of their time in Montana, visiting grandma and grandpa, riding horses, shooting gophers, swimming in the river and grandma’s cooking. Although she loved her home and life in Montana, she returned to Alaska many summers to help with grandkids and often yearned to move back to Alaska to be closer to her kids and grandchildren.
Other fun adventures… she and Dave purchased and operated the Blackfoot Tavern in the late 1990s where they met hundreds of people, many of whom became good friends. They purchased and fixed up real estate for resale (one of the original fixer uppers before the reality TV shows). In 2006 (or so) she spent a summer working for a tour company in Alaska as a server/tour guide on the train that went between Anchorage and Fairbanks.
She was loads of fun, had great humor and a bright laugh…one of her friends recently sent her a card that expressed the sentiment of so many: “Angels walk among us…On Earth, we call them “friends”. Mom was a friend to all who took the time to know her.
Beverly was preceded in death by her parents Clarence (1982) and Paulene (1946) McDonald, and grandparents who raised her, James (1979) and Bessie (1980) Morris. Surviving loved ones include her children Royce Conlon, Roy G. Wills, Patsy Hamilton and Victoria Godkin, Terry Miller, Randy Larson, Todd Larson, and Sue Larson; grandchildren Justin Conlon, Jordann Conlon, Madeline & Kendall Wills, Whitney Baysinger, Rochelle Petri, Nani Hamilton, Stefanie Bingham, Bridgette, Brandon, & Lacy Godkin, Jason & Jenna Miller, Jacquie Pina, Chas and Jamie Wardle, Kelly Keays, Christie Shoemaker, Mario & Daniel Candera, 29 great grandchildren and one great-great grandchild. Bev was also blessed with a long list of “adopted” children and grandchildren, those who have filled her life and gave support in recent years include Tammy, John and Mick Clark.
Beverly passed away in here home, surrounded by loved ones as she succumbed to the effects of Myelodysplastic syndrome (a blood cancer).
Love you bunches sweet cheeks, you are missed and will be forever remembered.