Alvhild Larson: 1999 ASFLA Scandinavian of Year
The foundation proudly names Norwegian-born philanthropist Alvhild Larson as its Scandinavian of Year 1999. Alvhild also happens to be one of ASFLA's farthest-commuting volunteers. She regularly has journeyed from Chicago since the day she was drafted by her son, past president and frequent fall-festival chairman, David Larson. Since then she has gone on to become one of the foundation's most active supporters.
Born in Kristiansand, Norway, on September 17, 1925, young Alvhild Marie Lien immigrated to the United States with her parents Herman and Johanna Lien, and brothers and sisters Howard, Anna, Olaf, Gunnar, and Gudrun, settling in the decidedly Norwegian area of Wisconsin -- near Madison. The family finally made its home in Stoughton, Wisc., a small town that to this day sells large quantities of lutefisk.
Alvhild married Kenneth Roy Larson in 1944, and soon moved to Chicago. Ken served the war effort by working at his torque-wrench manufacturing business, Precision Instruments, Inc. (Des Plaines, Ill.), where his inventions went on to become a main line of tools sold by Snap-On Tools of Kenosha, Wisc.
Alvhild has spent much of her life volunteering for a variety of causes. She and her late husband were founding supporters of the Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill., and the Des Plaines, Ill., YMCA. They worked tirelessly for their church, actively raised funds for the Community Chest and the United Way, and staunchly backed the School of the Ozarks. For seventeen years, they supported Isle Royale National Park Historical Association, making Isle Royale their summer home away from home.
More recently, Alvhild generously championed the work of ASFLA and the Nordic Heritage Museum in Seattle. She creatively supports local activities while nourishing ties to her native country. For twenty years she has been a frequent visitor to Norway, her first home. Cherishing the influences of her immigrant upbringing, Alvihld serves as a true standard-bearer for the Norwegian culture.
She has two sons: John Larson of Arlington Heights, Illinois, and David of Los Angeles.
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