A South Dakota tale has it that on a dark and rainy night a young woman took refuge from the storm under a bridge. Earlier that day, she left home on a mare to travel to the doctor for the delivery of her twins. During the night, she gave birth to a set of red-headed, freckle-faced twin boys under the bridge. The mare gave birth to twin foals the same night. The next morning, the young woman put a baby on each foal, jumped on the mare and the three rode back to the family ranch. Thus, began the intrepid life of Kenton Larson.
A childhood accident fashioned Dad into a resolute young man who focused on what he could do, rather than on what he couldn’t. As an independent youth, he ran his own trap line, worked the oilfields of WY, was a cab driver in Detroit, and a turkey farmer in Minnesota. Dad attended Wahpeton Trade School for Auto Body Repair.
While traveling west to Great Falls in search of work, Dad stopped in Circle, MT and happened to ask about employment opportunities. He was directed to the Ford garage where he began working as a bodyman. He met several people in the area, one such person being Slim Freitag. He was introduced to Slim’s daughter Donna. She immediately fell in love with the handsome young man with wavy auburn hair. Kent and Donna were married February 11, 1955 in Circle. His entrepreneurial zeal lead him to found Kent’s Body Shop in July 1956. Through the years the business and a family grew. Denise, Amy, Arnie and Don loved their early years with their parents at the body shop. GMC trucks and Honda sales and service rounded out the business.
Dad’s health concerns dictated he give up the physically demanding work of auto body repair. He and Mom purchased the Gamble’s Store on Main Street in 1967. They had a thriving enterprise selling a wide-range of goods and services. Dad looked to the future and planned ahead, the new store was built on the corner in 1975. Dad undertook his life’s passion in fall of 1977 when he started farming at the Volla Place, west of Circle. Over the years, Dad farmed and ranched while fishing and hunting to his heart’s content.
Dad was elected as a McCone County Commissioner and served faithfully for eighteen years. He took his responsibilities very seriously and worked tirelessly for the good of McCone County.
Throughout his career, Dad enjoyed restoring vintage cars. He and Mom were members of the Montana Model “T” Club. They enjoyed touring the backroads of eastern Montana, camping at Ft. Peck, berry picking in the hills, and visiting Medora.
Dad was born to Arnold and Martha Larson on April 12, 1933, twenty minutes after his twin brother, Keith in Reeder, ND. Dad passed away at the McCone County Clinic on August 7, 2015.
He was preceded in death by his parents, brothers Jim and Bill, and Donna, his wife of 57 years. He is survived by his children Denise (Tim) Warner of Laurel, Amy (Dick) Hofacker of Colstrip, Arnie (Sandy) Larson of Circle and Don (Rajeana) Larson of Colstrip. Dad was the proud grandfather of twelve grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Survivors also include sister, Janie Scofield, of Oregon and brothers, Keith and Pete (Nubby) Larson, of Spearfish.
Dad, our hearts are filled with gratitude for giving us the very best; the love of family, community and the desire to serve others. Your quiet strength guided our lives and encouraged us to embrace change and always look for new opportunities.
A funeral service will be held Saturday, August 15 at 1:00 pm at the First Lutheran Church in Circle. A luncheon will be served at the Circle Country Market preceding the service. Stevenson & Sons Funeral Home of Circle is in charge of the arrangements. Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting: www.stevensonandsons.com.
Memorials may be made to the Shriner’s Children Hospital or to the cause of one’s choice.