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LILLIAN LARSON
1894-1977

Lillian was the commander of the Twin City Barracks No. 2624, Michigan WWI Veterans. She is the only woman in Michigan and possibly the entire nation to hold such a position. She was a nurse during the war, serving in the US Army Nurse Corps.

Born in 1894 on Jasper St. in Ishpeming, she began her nuring career shortly after graduation in 1918 from Grant Hospital in Chicago, IL. She applied for entrance to the Red Cross Nurse Corps and was moved to the US Army Nurse Corps in Camp Custer in Battle Creek. The wounded were constantly pouring in, and Lillian said, "If they didn't die from their injuries, the flu had a chance at them."

Following the armistice, Lillian began work at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, treating victims of war wounds. It was there that she met "Baldy," who would soon become her husband. He had sustained injuries in a truck accident in France, but had also come from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Courtship began and in 1922 they were married.

After being discharged from the army, Lillian worked for 21 years in Detroit with the Children's Aid Society. However, in 1946, Lillian's mother died and left her a farm, so Lillian and Baldy moved to Champion to operate it. She continued working part time at the Sarepta Rest Home in Republic, and in 1950 she began performing relief duty at the CCI Hospital in Ishpeming. Because of her exceptional abilities, she became a fulltime night supervisor in 1951, and retired in 1958.

One night Baldy and Lillian were traveling on a country road and had an accident, rolling their car over and badly injuring Baldy's arm. Finally someone stopped see what was wrong and Lillian asked him to take them to the hospital. He said he couldn't because he was going the other way, and Lillian said, "I told him to take us or I'd hit him with a wrench, and he did." Baldy lost his arm to gangrene, but Lillian only had two black eyes.

When Baldy died in 1967, Lillian gave up the farm and moved to a small apartment on Bank St. Her duties with the World War I veterans came to her much the same way Gerald Ford became president. "One man was holding all three executive positions in the barracks, since the others who had been elected to them were all sick," she said. "When I told them I had been a commander of an all-women barracks in Detroit years ago, I was immediately made commander, without an election." When some grumbled about her appointment, Lillian told the membership, "If any of you want the job, you take it." After holding an election, she was elected to a second term.

Lillian enjoys her affiliation with the veterans. Her failing eyesight has not hindered her administrative ability. "I get to sit there during the meetings like a judge," she said.

Published in The Mining Journal, Marquette, MI, Saturday, Nov. 27, 1976
Written by Duncan Frazier, People Editor

BIRTH

Sep 1894

Ishpeming, Marquette County, Michigan, USA

 

DEATH

May 1977

(aged 82)

Ishpeming, Marquette County, Michigan, USA

 

BURIAL

Champion Cemetery

Champion, Marquette County, Michigan, USA

MEMORIAL ID 118346884