LaVerne Larson Murley was the youngest of 12 children raised on a small farm in northern Minnesota.
Despite being part of a poor family, LaVerne remembers her mother — Emma Nelson Larson — as an “adorable woman” who helped raise seven boys and five girls in harsh times during the early part of the 20th Century.
As Mother’s Day approaches, LaVerne recalls her mother’s most amazing characteristic — kindness.
“My mom was a hard-working woman, but she always showed lots of kindness,” she said.
LaVerne said the kindness her mother instilled in her helped her become a good mother and grandmother.
“It pays off to be kind and show kindness,” said LaVerne.
Even though she was small in statue, LaVerne described her mother as “adorable.”
“She was a little woman, but she worked so hard to make sure we were fed,” said LaVerne, a 86-year-old former nurse. “My mom worked in the garden and canned, while the men had guns to kill food. We ate a lot of wildlife growing up.”
She also remembers her mother’s hospitality.
Whenever someone stop by the visit, LaVerne said, her mother would always make sure their guest had something to eat.
“We were a very poor family,” she said. “But my mom told them they had to eat. And the meals she cooked were out of this world.”
LaVerne also admired her mother for being a devoted Christian woman — another aspect that made her mother “so wonderful.” Her family were members of the Lutheran church.
“My mother took time out every afternoon to read her Bible. She lived by that Bible,” she said. “I also believe it is important to take your children to church.”
She also said her mother was a very loving and compassionate woman.
“She never had to laid a hand on us children,” LaVerne recalled.“I came from a precious family. We all got along with each other.”
Both of LaVerne’s parents were born in Sweden and she was raised on a farm until she was in the eighth grade. To finish up her education, LaVerne moved to Puyallup with her older sister and her husband, and worked in a hospital while going to high school to help pay for room and board.
After graduating high school in 1945, she worked in the hospital another year until she enrolled into nursing school at St. Joseph’s in Tacoma. LaVerne finished nursing school in 1951.
She went to work at Community Memorial Hospital in Enumclaw, where she meet Sherrill Murley — a car salesman. The couple married and LaVerne was offered a supervisor’s position at Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup.
Two months later, she discovered she was pregnant. In 1954, LaVerne had her oldest daughter, Janice, in January and her youngest, Debbie, in December.
“I wish I could of had a dozen kids,” she added.
Once the children were in school, LaVerne decided to return to nursing.
She applied at Veteran’s Hospital in Retsil one Friday, then went to work the following Monday. LaVerne retired 30 years later.
Despite working full-time, LaVerne said had time to spend with her daughters and hand down the traits that her mother instilled in her as a child.
Today, LaVerne’s daughters are mothers themselves with successful careers and loving families. Janice is a nurse in a specialized medical field and Debbie is a teacher.
“I am so proud of my daughters,” she said. “They were wonderful children, but I also give my husband a lot of credit for that.”
She also has six grandchildren — which is proud of — but hopes one day to be a great-grandmother.
“I do so much for my kids and grandkids, and in return they do a lot for me,” she said. “Our family is really close-knit and we talk on the phone often.”
But LaVerne said mothers today need the same characteristics she and her mom had to be good mothers.
“Mothers still need to be very patient and very loving,” she said. “You have to with kids.”