Patricia Jo Duitscher Larsen, 65, died Dec. 20, 2019, at her home near Clear Lake after a long battle with cancer.
A visitation with Pat’s family in her honor will be held on Saturday, Jan. 11, from 2 – 5 p.m., at Ward-Van Slyke Colonial Chapel, in Clear Lake. Interment will be at a later time. Those wishing to make memorial contributions are asked by the family to consider Hope Lodge, in Iowa City, the facility that provided free lodging for Pat and Ralph as she underwent treatment.
Patricia, better known as Pat by those who knew her, was born March 12, 1954, at Clarion, the daughter of Barbara (McCutchen) and Joel Duitscher. She spent her early years on a farm near Goldfield, Iowa, playing with her older sister, Jody. The family moved briefly to Lincoln, Iowa, and then to Grundy Center.
She graduated in 1972 from Grundy Center High School where she was a lettered member of the golf team and the band, playing the saxophone. Following high school, she attended the University of Iowa, majoring in elementary education and special education. During the college years, she made life-long friends.
After college Pat began working at Handicap Village, in Clear Lake, staying for over 41 years through its growth, name change to Opportunity Village and then One Vision. She began as an assistant to Al Marken, program director, and advanced to a team administrator. She was still working at One Vision at the end of 2018 when she was diagnosed with cancer. She received the Shirley Echelbarger Outstanding Employee award. Through her work, she also made many friends.
Early in her working years, Pat was a member of the local Jaycettes. She served in different offices including a year as president, receiving the Jaycette of the Year award. She enjoyed golfing and spending time with friends.
On June 16, 1990, Pat married Ralph Larsen, the love of her life, of Clear Lake. They became the parents of Kelsey, born in 1991, and Bryan, born in 1993. The lived on the Larsen farm north of Clear Lake, and in 2001 they moved into their new house on the homestead. Among the special joys of Pat’s life were her three grandchildren, Jernie Jo Marie Graham, Joel John Graham and Charlotte Drew Beitel.
Pat’s job, her time with Ralph, her children and grandchildren were her life. Her commitment to them brought many words of praise. As a co-worker said, “She was an amazing person and I really enjoyed working with her. She had such a friendly nature and kind heart.” She dedicated her life to serving and bettering the lives of those around her. Few things made her happier than a grandchild on her lap. Nice nights on the farm relaxing with the ones she loved inside or out around the fire pit.
Among Pat’s special moments were times spent in Mexico with family. She enjoyed snorkeling, shopping, and the Mexican food. As a alumnus, she was an avid fan of the Iowa Hawkeyes and could often be heard cheering them on (or chewing them out) by anyone within a mile radius. (Go Hawkeyes!) Patient, calm and the woman with all the answers is the legacy that will live on when those who love her think of her.
“What we once enjoyed a deeply loved, we can never lose, for all that we love deeply becomes part of us.” Helen Keller
Pat is survived by her husband of 29 years, Ralph Larsen, Clear Lake; daughter, Kelsey Leigh Beitel, of Woden and friend, Lee Marzen; son, Bryan John Larsen, of Mason City and friend, Ashley Murray; grandchildren, Jernie Jo, Joel and Charlotte. Also surviving are her sister, Jody Babinat and husband, Tom, of Grundy Center; and Pat’s two nieces and nephew; sister-in-law, Pat Schultz, of Nora Springs; and brother-in-law, Marvin Larsen, with his wife, Janet, of New Hampton; and Larsen nieces and nephews, as well as a number of cousins.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Barbara and Joel Duitscher; and an infant nephew.
Ward-Van Slyke Colonial Chapel, Clear Lake, was in charge of arrangements.