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Kay Larson

February 21, 2019 | 15 comments

Kay Marie Kappen Larson, formerly Kay Kral 1948-2019 On February 15, 2019, Kay Larson passed away after a brief illness at the Mayo Clinic Hospital in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Kay was born on January 21, 1948, in Waukesha and was the oldest of four children born to Gerald and Beatrice Kappen. Her family moved to La Crosse and eventually to Black River Falls where she spent her adult life. Kay graduated from Black River Falls High School. Later she attended the Milwaukee School of Beauty and worked in that profession for many years. She also worked at Gebhart Elementary School, taught painting lessons, served on BRF City Council and was a server at various restaurants before joining the Black River Falls Police Department in 1993. She retired from the BRFPD in June of 2018.

Kay married the late Maynard Kral in 1968. They raised two children, Lorilyn and Gerald, in Black River Falls. Kay married Leonard Larson in 1998 and most recently resided with him in their retirement home in Merrillan.

Kay is preceded in death by her parents, her first husband Maynard, her brother Kent Kappen, her step-mother Rosella Kappen, and her brother-in-law Clarence Kral.  She is survived by her husband Leonard, her daughter Lorilyn Phillips of Marathon and her son Gerald (Leslie) Kral of Louisville, Kentucky. She is also survived by her brothers John (Deb) Kappen and Michael (Leanne) Kappen, sister-in-law Paulette Halverson, brother-in-law David Kral, many nieces and nephews, as well as by her grandchildren (and biggest fans) Emily, John, Joseph, Molly, Mary and James. Kay always marched forward with confidence and with concern for others. She was a champion for the underdog and provided compassion (along with a dose of reality) whenever needed. No one with whom she came in contact would ever go without a meal, clean clothes or a haircut. The ups and downs of life did not slow her down. She was fully present and engaged with her work and interests, was a fierce supporter of her family and a loyal happy-hour friend.

A celebration in memory of Kay will take place on Saturday, March 30, from 2pm – 5pm at Castle Hill Supper Club, N9581 US Hwy 12 Merrillan, WI. There will be Red Stag Old Fashions, Black-Eyed Susans, laughter and friendship – as she wished. Donations in Kay’s memory can be made to the K-9 Unit of the Black River Falls Police Department.  Coulee Region Cremation Group, Onalaska has been entrusted with arrangements.



  1. Roberto Hernandez

    Rest in peace dear Kay. You will be missed from all of us at Mr. Pita.

  2. Barb Panyk

    Kay’s witty sense of humor and love for others will always be remembered by Roger and I. I wish she could have been around longer to enjoy more of her retirement with her family and friends but heaven needed an angel and Kay was it! Our comforts to her family through this difficult loss. Fly high Kay!

  3. Sandy loomis

    Kay was a beautiful lady. I always enjoyed our visits and we always laughed she was a great person and I will miss her terriable.No matter if she wasn’t feeling good she always had that smile. You will be missed. My prayers to her family.

  4. Kathy Barker

    My sincere condolences for everyone in the Kay Larson family. I work in Louisville with Jerry and have heard what a wonderful person Kay was. My prayers are with everyone.

    Kathy Barker

  5. Curtis Redbird

    My dearest sympathies to a truly great, wonderful and beautiful lady! She encouraged me to run for the BRF City Council, she encouraged me to make a difference, and to be the voice of reason. I will miss her wonderful smile as well as her laughter. She was a great lady. My Prayers are with her loved ones at this time. God Bless you.

    Curtis F Redbird City of Black River Falls Alderman. ward 2

  6. Betty Krause

    i am really sorry to hear about Kay, she was such a nice lady when you came to her work. She helped in every way she could. If you had a bad day just stop bye and talk to her and you would forget your bad day. she got everyone in a good mood after coming to her and hearing her calm voice. she will really be missed.

    • Lori Phillips

      That’s so sweet Betty, thanks for your kind words.


  7. Steven Peterson

    I am truly going to miss Kay. I had the honor of serving under her leadership when she worked as a Council member and for many years as her office neighbor at BRF City Hall. We had many laughs and discussions about grandchildren as well as citizens of the City.. She was one of kind.

  8. Sue Gaede

    I am profoundly sad to lose a wonderful friend. She worked for me as a hairdresser and we had children from the same family as foster parents. Kay and Maynard camped with us and took some road trips. She was funny, caring, a great cook, a realist and true to the end. We had a coffe date pending and I’m so sorry she wont be able to make it.
    My heart goes out to her kids and grandkids. You are all beautiful and special and blessed to have had her in their lives.
    Sincerely and with love,
    Sue Gaede

  9. Barb H

    My sympathy goes out to Kay’s family and her husband Leonard. I didn’t know Kay real well, but knew her well enough to know she adored her children and grandchildren. She looked forward to the time she got to spend with them and didn’t think twice about driving long distances to see them. She will be missed by many.

  10. Howard & Carol Larson

    As you grieve know that we are remembering you and honoring the memory of Kay.

  11. Lori Phillips

    Oh gosh Sue, such great memories with your family. Thanks for lifelong friendship. “Hugs”


  12. Dottie and Ken Nyblade

    Kay was my cousin. I remember her more from our childhood. When they moved up North I didn’t see her as much as I should have. I am sorry I missed out on that.

    So sorry she is gone too soon, too young. She has a lovely family. They are in my thoughts.

  13. Howard & Carol Larson

    We want to express our sympathy and let you know that our thoughts are with you.

    Howard & Carol

  14. Karen Pfaff

    Kay and I went to the same beauty school in Milwaukee and we became friends there. We lost touch after that but I often thought of her. My sympathies to all in your loss.

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