Obituary: Donna Larson, 83, of Ludington

April 11, 2024

Donna Larson

Donna Larson, 83 of Ludington, formerly of Manistee, gained her wings on Monday, April 8, 2024.  Donna was born on March 6, 1941 in Sacramento, Cali., the daughter of Donald and Thelma (Stewart) Stahl, and graduated from Highlands High School in Highland, Cali. Donna worked for Equitable Life Assurance Society from 1961 to 1965, leaving to move to Michigan with her first husband. Donna also worked for Memorial Hospital in Onekama,  and later at the office of doctors Oliver and Long in Manistee.

Donna would later graduate from Michigan State University in animal husbandry and completed the instructor training course at Cheff Therapeutic Riding Center in Augusta, Mich. Upon completion of that course, Donna headed up the first therapeutic riding program in Manistee County offering those with special needs an opportunity to enrich their lives through horseback riding. She also served as a 4-H Leader for several years in Manistee County teaching youth how to care for and ride their horses to the best of their abilities.

Donna returned to the insurance industry working for Chaddock, Winters & Alberts Insurance Agency in Muskegon. In 1988, she married William (Bill) Larson in Kentucky and they chose to retire and travel, often escaping the Michigan winters using their timeshare at Mystic Dunes Resort & Golf Course in Kissimmee, Fla. Here she took top honors several times in miniature golf tournaments. Donna’s hobbies included genealogy, photography, knitting and crocheting, but one of her favorite hobbies was creating websets for people to use on their personal and company webpages. She would use some of her own photos to create the websets.

Donna was proceeded in death by her father Donald Stahl; mother Thelma Girard; stepfather Joseph Girard; grandfather John Stewart; two half-brothers John and Jim Howie (Howe); husband Bill Larson; and her son-in-law Ralph Smalley, Jr.

Donna is survived by her daughter from first marriage Sue M. Smalley, a niece and nephews.

A very special thank you goes out to all of the staff at Ludington Woods who cared for her the last years of her life. No funeral will be held and her ashes will be placed at a later date.

Funeral arrangements have been cared for by Wyman Funeral & Cremation Services in Scottville.

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