It is with great sadness that I write this post. My friend Eric, who I have written about many, many, times on this blog, posted on Facebook this past week that his mother had passed away. Jill gasped as she read Eric's post while standing at the dining room table and we were both moved to tears at the thought of this horrific news. I have not talked to Eric in quite some time (probably longer than usual) and I wasn't aware that Sandy was in poor condition. I was truly caught off guard by this and feel awful that I did not return a recent call from Eric. Jill and I have thought of Eric and his family many times this week since hearing the news and our prayers go out to them.
Since meeting Eric and becoming friends, he has become family to Jill and I in some form or another. We first met Eric's parents after moving up to Milwaukee and I would spend time out at their farm when we would work on hot rod VW's and trucks at Adam's shop or in Eric's parent's barn during weekends. Noah even went out a few times with me and Eric's parents were always so good to us. Sandy would always bring me dr. pepper and pizza from our favorite Pecatonica pizza place. She always saw to every need and was more than willing to go out of her way to make sure I was taken care of. There were even a few times when I would go out and work on my own, without Eric, and she still made sure I was taken care of. I never like to be an inconvenience to anyone, and Sandy knew that, so after a while she made sure not to ask me if I needed anything and would just show up with food.
I don't believe I have ever seen a mother and son who had a relationship like Sandy and Eric. Jill has always said that she hopes Noah has the kind of relationship with her, that Eric had with Sandy. Eric always spoke with such admiration for his mother and I understood why when I met her for the first time. Eric's creativity comes from Sandy for sure. Sandy always had art supplies about the house and projects that she was working on. I so enjoyed seeing the drawings that Eric and Sandy would pass back and forth that Eric documented on one of his blogs. Eric's free spirited nature and love for original thought is definitely due to Sandy's influence.
Eric...your Mom was truly a special person and one of a kind in my eyes. Tonight Jill and I find ourselves thinking about her incredible hospitality and giant heart. I always thought that there was no one more positive and kindhearted as my Grandma Blair, but when I met your Mom I realized that you had the most amazing role model and "bright light" shining in your life. She made me realize the positive and direct impact that a parent can have on their children and I felt like I was able to know you better through knowing her. I know that her spirit lives inside of you. I hope you know how proud she was of you and your accomplishments. She always seemed to shine brighter when you were around. I know that this is a difficult time but please know that you and your family are in our thoughts and we are sending much love and thinking about all of the great memories that we shared with you and your parents at the farm.
SANDRA JEANNE LARSON, 64 LOVING WIFE, MOTHER, GRANDMOTHER PECATONICA - Sandra Jeanne Larson, 64, of Pecatonica, IL died at 4 p.m. Wednesday, October 8, 2014, in OSF St. Anthony Medical Center, from complications of rheumatoid arthritis, MO and Lymphoma. She was born Feb. 1, 1950, in Chicago, IL; the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles and Victoria (Barminski) Shogren. Sandra graduated from Aquinas High School, Class of 1968; attended Dominick's College in St. Charles, IL for 2 years then transferred to University of Illinois and became part of Larry's life in 1971, and graduated with high honors in 1973, with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Painting. She was an accomplished artist with many pieces of work in various local shows. She married Lawrence M. Larson in Chicago, IL on April 6, 1974. Member of St. Mary Catholic Church in Pecatonica and served as co-chair of the funeral luncheon committee for many years. Sandra also volunteered for various community events. Survivors include husband, Larry Larson of Pecatonica, IL; sons, Andrew (Katherine) Larson of Pecatonica, IL, Eric (Inna) Larson of Chicago, IL; granddaughter, Ava Mae and Alexandra Jeanne; brothers, Richard (Carol) Shogren of Carsonville, Michigan, William (Eileen) Shogren of Winnebago, IL; several nieces and nephews. Predeceased by her parents. Prayers to be recited at 10 a.m. Monday, October 13, 2014, in McCorkle Funeral Home - Countryman Chapel, 529 Washington St., with a Funeral Mass at 10:30 a.m. in St. Mary Catholic Church, 126 West 5th Street, Pecatonica, IL, with Msgr. Robert Sweeney officiating. Burial will be in Rosehill Cemetery. A visitation will be held at the funeral home from 3 to 7 p.m. Sunday, with a scripture service at 7 p.m. Memorials may be given to the OSF St. Anthony Hospital Foundation for the Center for Cancer Care, 5666 East State Street, Rockford, IL 61108, and St. Mary Catholic Church, 126 West 5th Street, Pecatonica, IL 61063.