Longtime Book Mark Manager Dies

Posted on September 22nd, 2008 by

Jeanette Larson managed the Book Mark for 35 years.

Jeanette Larson managed the Book Mark for 35 years.

Jeanette Larson, 92, of St. Peter, died Friday, Sept. 19 at Redeemer Residence in Minneapolis. Larson managed the Book Mark, the Gustavus Adolphus College bookstore for 35 years from 1948 until her retirement in 1983.

Born in Plaza, N.D., Larson graduated from Stanley High School in North Dakota in 1934 as class valedictorian. She attended Luther Bible Institute for one year, acquired a temporary teaching certificate, and taught for three years in a one-room country school.

In December of 1941, she married Kermit Larson, a seminary student from Jamestown, N.Y. In the spring of 1943, Larson gave birth to their only child, Linda. Later that fall, Jeanette’s husband passed away from heart disease.

Larson and her infant daughter moved to Alexandria, Minn., where she served as Matron of the Bethany Lutheran Home for Dependent Children. During the ensuing four years, Larson served as cook, nurse, teacher, friend, and mother to nine children including her own daughter.

In 1948, Gustavus President Edgar M. Carlson traveled to Alexandria to interview Larson for the job of manager of the college’s then fledgling bookstore. Larson accepted the position and became manager of the Book Mark while enrolled as a part-time student at the College. Eventually she became a full-time student, graduating summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in social work in 1954.

Despite earning her degree, Larson decided to continue to work at Gustavus rather than pursuing a career in social work. During her 35 years at the College, Larson became very active in college and community affairs. Over time she transformed the Book Mark from a small store in the basement of a men’s dormitory to the full-service bookstore that it is today.

Larson served four years on the Board of Trustees of the National Association of College Stores (NACS), and was named the NACS Manager of the Year for 1972-73. Larson also contributed a number of in-depth articles to the College Store Journal, the official publication of NACS, on bookselling and promotion. In the early 1980s, Larson was honored by the St. Peter Area Chamber of Commerce for her years of service to the area. She was also a member of Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Peter, where she was one of the first women ever to serve on the church council.

Funeral arrangements are pending and will be posted here when they are known.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


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