On December 13, 2022, our beloved “Ma,” grandmother, great-grandmother, teacher, and friend, Myra Lee “Pinky” Sanderson Larson of Bismarck, North Dakota, passed away at the age of 86 years.
A Celebration of Life will occur 2:00 PM, Saturday, May 27 at Parkway Funeral Service, 2330 Tyler Parkway, Bismarck.
She will be lovingly remembered by her children Ward (Jill) and Craig (Marhya); grandchildren Nicole (Wallace) Chadwick, Eric Larson, Erin (Zaniel) Dell, and Alexa (Matt) Olson-Franks; great-grandchildren Mackenzie (Joseph) Daniels, Kelsey Chadwick, Erin Chadwick, Caiden Dell, Talan Dell, James Franks, Marah Franks, Madyson Olson, Henley Olson, and Paisley May Franks.
She was preceded in death by her mother, Bessie Summers Sanderson, and father, Lawrence H. Sanderson; her aunt, Almyra Summers Maynes, uncles John and George Summers; and husbands, Owen Larson and Paul Klein.
Almyra Lee Sanderson was born on August 7, 1936, in Bismarck. Her father was a civil engineer and a veteran of World War I, who lived until 1955 with shrapnel in his chest from combat. Her mother was an elementary school teacher and a single mother for most of Myra’s life. This family of resilient women lived for a time in Sykeston, North Dakota. Myra loved her time in Sykeston, and she recently visited her childhood home there and reminisced about ice skating on Lake Hiawatha and waking to the smell of her grandmother’s freshly-baked bread. Her grandmother came from Throckmorton, Texas, and brought with her a southern flair for cooking fried chicken, sage stuffing, and cornbread, among other favorites. Oh, the stories we could tell. Myra carried on these traditions, much to all of our delight.
The family moved to Bismarck when Bessie got a teaching job at Richholt Elementary and later at Wachter Junior High School. Myra had a lifelong love and passion for music and took piano lessons from the Bismarck icon, Belle Mehus. Myra graduated from Bismarck High School in 1954. Myra, a beautiful redhead with porcelain skin, modeled for local department stores and sewed her own clothes. She would follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a teacher after graduating from Jamestown College with a music major. She loved her Jimmie Chicks and Jimmie Janes. Her house was always filled with music, although from about 3 pm to 6 pm on weekdays and Saturday mornings, it was often filled with slightly tortured renditions of classics from her piano students. She met her husband, Owen, at Jamestown College, and they were married in 1959, lived for a time in Kansas City, and returned to Grafton, North Dakota, where they welcomed the birth of their son, Ward. A new job called the family to Minot, where Craig was born.
Myra, who earned her Master’s Degree in Education Administration, returned to Bismarck to teach reading at Wachter Middle School and later third grade at Miller Elementary School to the end of her 34-year teaching career. She continued teaching piano in her free time. She loved to travel and delighted in the culture, music, food, and of course, the fashion. Myra also loved to host grand dinner parties for family and friends, sometimes with the treat of a piano recital played on her much-cherished grand piano. She was an accomplished baker who loved to bake brownies and massive chocolate chip cookies, and she was also well-known for her delicious cakes. Myra was so proud of her sons, who left home to serve in the military. She instilled in them her love of music, family, and educational achievement. She filled her time and her house with beautiful things and wonderful memories, always with a backdrop of laughter, a bit of cigarette smoke, a few tears, and lots of friends and family.
In lieu of flowers or gifts, please donate to your favorite charity.