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Larkin, Marjorie Ellen Thomas, 1926-2007

 
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Mary S Taylor



Joined: 27 Nov 2007
Posts: 27821
Location: Fresno, CA

PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 5:17 am    Post subject: Larkin, Marjorie Ellen Thomas, 1926-2007 Reply with quote

Paul Mortuary, Pacific Grove, CA April 2007
Marjorie Ellen Thomas Larkin lived in the moment and loved her life. Her family was swept along in her determination to have a good time. That meant exploring, getting away from civilization, sleeping in tents, sitting around campfires, singing, swimming, camping with unleashed dogs, skinny dipping, boating, eating out, cooking out, going for drives, watching the sunset, eating s'mores -- and more s'mores, and living life unconstrained. Mrs. Larkin, a longtime resident of New Hope, Pa.'s Phillips Mill area and the mother of six died peacefully in her sleep April 4, 2007 in Campbell, Calif., from complications of diabetes. For most of her adulthood, Mrs. Larkin was a wife and mother, though after her children were grown, she earned a real estate license at Bucks County Community College and worked at various real estate agencies in and around New Hope, including stints with John Root and David Kurfiss. She also worked with the Educational Testing Service in Princeton, N.J. in the early 1970s. A few years after the 1994 death of her husband of 47 years, John Frederick Larkin, Sr., she sold her beloved home between the Delaware River and canal and moved to California to be closer to her children, all of whom live in the Western United States. Her six children attended several area schools including New Hope-Solebury public schools, Solebury School and the George School. Marjorie Ellen Thomas was born Jan. 12, 1926 in St. Louis, Mo. She was the daughter of Dr. Jacob Earl Thomas and Ursula May Johnson. The family moved to Drexel Hill, outside Philadelphia, when Mrs. Larkin was a very young child. She lived there throughout her childhood. She was a graduate of Upper Darby High School. She told her children often that she was a painfully shy child and described going on a date with a very nice fellow high school student and never speaking to him once during the entire evening. She was also very thin, causing her parents great distress. Stories of her tiny waistline made an impression on her six children because during her years of parenthood she became quite plump. From 1944-1946, Mrs. Larkin attended Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Penna., where she met her future husband who was finishing his engineering degree as a U.S. Marine. She later transferred to Penn State where in 1946, she graduated with a Bachelor's of Science in Biology. She continued her education taking classes at St. Thomas Aquinas College and Trenton State College and Bucks County Community College. During the fours months after they met, Mr. and Mrs. Larkin fell in love and decided to marry. Mr. Larkin was then sent to Paris Island, S.C., for boot camp. Afterward he was deployed to Okinawa, Japan, where he was shot and wounded. During their separation, the young couple exchanged letters virtually every day in which they planned out their life together, letters her children only discovered during the week before Mrs. Larkin died. The letters reveal that the couple's plans came to fruition. They planned and had six children; they reared them as Roman Catholics, though Mrs. Larkin was not a Catholic; and they gave them all good educations. Immediately after they married, the couple moved to Mount Bethel, Pa., then to Shanks Village, a post-WW II housing complex for returning soldiers that was north of New York City . From 1950-1964, they lived in Upper Nyack, N.Y., and in 1964, the family moved to New Hope, soon settling in the house at Phillips Mill. Although she would never so describe herself, Mrs. Larkin was a feminist, always blazing her own path and rarely conforming with the prevailing expectations for how a woman ought to conduct her life. She had little regard for fancy living and resided happily and comfortably in a house full of clutter. Her passion was spending time outdoors, and she instilled that love for outdoor living in all of her six children. Mrs. Larkin started camping as an infant during summer vacations with her parents and brother, Earl Thomas, at Lake Temagami, in northern Ontario, and she continued camping, always with some of her children until her deteriorating heath meant she could no longer put up a tent, build a fire or trudge to an outhouse. Twice while her children were growing up, in 1959 and again in 1963, when she was pregnant with her sixth child, she single-handedly took her children on summer-long cross country adventures to see the Western U.S. and to visit some of its national parks. Those trips and many others live on in her children's memories: The trip from Washington state to Southern California living on peanut butter and bread because she had less than $1 to spend on food The many times she sneaked into campgrounds after the rangers had gone home, set up camp and spent the night, then sneaked out again before the ranger came on duty so she would not have to pay The night word of a bank robber on the loose resulted in an all-night drive from California's Lake Tahoe to Mount Lassen with the fully open pup tent hurriedly stuffed into the back of the car The time her second-youngest accidentally got left at a gas station during a search for trailer tires, and the family had to backtrack back and forth from gas station to gas station across the U.S.-Canadian border to find him. Mr. And Mrs Larkin accumulated little money during their lives but a wealth of memories. Notwithstanding their lack of money, Mr. and Mrs. Larkin managed to provide excellent, private secondary and college educations for all six of their children. Mrs. Larkin continued to insist that she was a shy person during her adult life, though she became involved in many volunteer efforts and had a great many friends. In 1963-64, she was a co-founder of a Nyack, N.Y., preschool for disadvantaged children that was the foundation for eight separate Head Start projects. Mrs. Larkin organized parents, taught and obtained funding and equipment. She also secured buildings in which the original preschool program operated. Mrs. Larkin was one of the original authors of "Children's Guide to Rockland County, N.Y." -- a book that was updated and republished annually. Scouting was a great love of Mrs. Larkin's and she was a troop leader in both the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts at various times throughout her life. The Larkins returned to Upper Nyack for a year in the mid-1970s, during which Mrs. Larkin was a teacher's assistant for emotionally disturbed children at the Summit School in Nyack in 1975. In New Hope, she was very active in the group Friends of Phillips Mill, which worked to control residential growth in the area surrounding the historic mill. Five years ago, doctors told Mrs. Larkin's children they could expect their mother to die within a year, a prediction that was not shared with Mrs. Larkin. Unaware that she was supposed to be dying, she continued to fight to live through several strokes, diabetes, congestive heart failure, kidney failure and seriously impaired mobility. Though life was a struggle, she complained rarely and maintained a lively sense of humor. In her last weeks, doctors amputated her big toe. She laughed merrily when her grandchildren began calling her Grandma Nine Toes. And when asked what happened when she tried to wiggle the missing toe, she replied, "Oh, I'm sure it's wiggling out there somewhere!" Services for Mrs. Larkin have already taken place in Pacific Grove, Calif., and she is buried next to her husband at the El Carmelo Cemetery there. Survivors include her six children, Barbara Stocker of Fullerton, Calif.; Cathy May McLain of Seattle; Alice Steiner of Salt Lake City; John Larkin of Monterey, Calif.; David Larkin of Menlo Park, Calif.; and Eric Larkin of Los Gatos, Calif.; her brother, Jacob Earl Thomas of Ithaca, N.Y.; 13 grandchildren; her sister-in-law, Catherine Nichols of Fort Edward, N.Y.; and many, many nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Benevolence Fund (which provides financial assistance to needy seniors) at Mrs. Larkin's beloved last home, Corinthian House Residence, 250 Budd Ave., Campbell, CA 95008.

MARJORIE ELLEN LARKIN 12 Jan 1926 04 Apr 2007 (P) 95008 (Campbell, Santa Clara, CA) (none specified) 193-20-9314 Pennsylvania
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