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Helen Millerick Larson

September 18, 1924 ~ June 24, 2018 (age 93)
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Helen Millerick Larson  September 18, 1924 – June 24, 2018

Helen, matriarch of the Millerick Larson Family, died peacefully surrounded by those she loved, following a brief precipitous decline—she was 93. From cowgirl and rodeos to vineyards and wine and a whole lot in between she lived a full life witnessing nearly a century of change.  She was always happy, always smiling, always welcoming--she will always be missed.

She was the beloved wife of Robert F. Larson;  devoted mother of Paul, Suzanne, Tom and Mariellen Larson;  treasured mother-in-law to Jeffrey Bartfeld, Rebecca Larson and Brian Abbott; caring sister of Jim Millerick and sister-in-law of Rose Millerick; adoring grandma to Emily Siqueira, Jonathan Bartfeld, Erica Larson, Will Larson, Wyatt Larson, Spencer Abbott, Helena Abbott, Rachel Krackeler (Tony), Sarah Githens (Gabriel) Great grandma to Nathan, Eliza, Peter, Avery and Felix.

Helen was born September 18, 1924 in Oakland, California to Thomas and Mary Millerick.  She married Robert Fallon Larson on April 15, 1950 in  Vallejo, California. 

She grew up on the ranch in Sonoma which her family had been farming since 1877.  Her father died of TB when she was 9 months old.  She lived with her mother, and her brother and Uncle Jack Millerick, sleeping in her mother’s room until she was 18 years old.  When Helen or Cissy, as she was nicknamed was 4, she received her first pony Tevi and became  an expert rider, adventuring all over Sonoma and Marin counties.  She assisted her mom, who fed ten to twelve ranch hands three meals a day, six days a week and one meal on Sunday along with managing a small dairy operation on the ranch.  She worked hard and learned from her mother how to stretch food and feed large groups.

Helen attended grammar school in Sonoma, occasionally driving to school in an old junk car, getting caught without a license, and being reprimanded by the local policeman who would threaten to take the car away.  She graduated from Sonoma Valley High School and then from the University of California at Berkeley. 

Helen met and fell in love with Robert Larson (Bob) following a date arranged by her cousin Barbara, to a rodeo in Olema.  They were hitched and had four children, Paul and Suzanne while Bob was still in Veterinary School in Davis, then Tom and Mariellen in Tracy California where Bob had started his veterinary practice.  Bob sold his Tracy practice and the family moved to Berkeley in 1960, a city that Helen loved for its culture and since much of her extended family lived there or near-by. 

She raised her kids in Berkeley a town she appreciated for its academic, artistic and educational scene.  She loved art and being in close proximity to the University and the greater Bay Area art scene.  Her children attended the School of the Madeline in Berkeley where she and Bob developed lifelong friendships with many like minded families.  She was an avid bridge player and had a collection of friends including Marian, Ernie, Betty and Barbara with whom she played regularly.

She and Bob enjoyed having the family visit from Sonoma and Petaluma, hosting many large family dinners at their family home in Berkeley.  She was an original farm to table cook, long before the Berkeley gourmet ghetto was famous, though she, Bob, cousin Barbara and Ron enjoyed trying out many of the newest restaurants in the hometown area, including Chez Panisse just after it opened.  She appreciated and followed the writings of many Sonoma locals including MFK Fisher whom she admired.

Bob practiced veterinary medicine in El Cerrito and Helen assisted in the back office.  When Bob retired they packed heir bags and moved back to her mother’s ranch in Schellville, where they planted some of the first Chardonnay vineyards in the Sonoma Carneros district.  They later founded Sonoma Creek Winery and Vineyards.    

After Bob’s death she continued to live in Sonoma, volunteering as a cook for Meals-On-Wheels, enjoying her garden (especially watering it) and taking walks along Sonoma Creek with her children and grandchildren.

Mom was truly Cissy, she had a childlike spirit and beauty until her death.

Friends and Family are invited to attend a Memorial Funeral Mass, Monday, July 2, 2018, 10:30 a.m. at St. Francis Catholic Church, 469 3rd St W, Sonoma, CA 95476.  


Donations may be made to:

Meals on Wheels - Sonoma
275 E Spain Street, Sonoma CA 95476


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