Stephen Dale Larson, of Safford, entered life eternal Friday, January 27, 2023. He was 45.
Stephen Dale Larson was born January 4, 1978, in the Larson family home. Stephen was the eighth child of eleven and the fifth son of Hugh Leroy and Betty Ann Larson.
Stephen was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1986. This same year, he started his scouting career as a cub scout. He loved cub scouts and he and his brother Daniel alternated winning the pinewood derby every year. At the age of 11, Stephen became a Blazer scout and his mom was his leader. He made rapid progress because Daniel was right ahead of him giving him someone to chase.
Stephen went on to earn his Eagle Scout award on his birthday in 1994 at the age of 16. As his Eagle project, Stephen and his fellow scouts cleaned and improved the Lebanon Cemetery. He also updated and corrected the grave roster and prepared a list of all the military veterans so the American Legion could place flags on the graves. The thing that Stephen loved most about scouting was being out in nature.
In 1987, Stephen’s parents adopted Richard Dean, and two years later adopted Donald and Robert. Stephen had been the youngest for nearly 10 years.
In June of 1991, at the age of 13, Stephen lost his father to cancer. Leroy had been diagnosed with stomach cancer in May. Stephen stayed close by and assisted with caring for his father. Betty was very grateful for Stephen’s help as she was managing a household and three younger children. Stephen mentioned many times over the years that his life was altered because he no longer had a dad.
As Stephen’s older siblings married and moved away, he would go and visit them. He spent time in Tennessee with Andrew and Josephine and helped Andrew clean out overgrowth from Josephine’s family cemetery. He also visited Ryan and Faith in New Mexico.
Stephen graduated from Safford High School in May of 1996. This was a big milestone for him as he didn’t enjoy school. He would much rather have been outside.
After high school, Stephen enlisted in the United States Army. He served briefly and was honorably discharged in 1998.
Stephen spent many hours at Angle Orchard helping his Uncle Eldon, and then Betty, when she took over. He became familiar with the many tasks required to run the orchard, but didn’t really enjoy it as much as the other things he did. He began working with his cousin, Chris Angle, and learned the trade of residential framing. He used this skill to keep himself busy.
Stephen enjoyed camping, fishing, and rock hounding. He also enjoyed spending time with his many nieces and nephews. Stephen had a kind heart and when the struggles of life were not weighing so heavy on him, he was able to serve others and excel in his creative abilities.
Stephen is survived by: his mother, Betty Ann Larson; siblings, Andrew (Josephine), Leann Crandall (Richard), Reed (MaryAnn), Faith Jarvis (Ryan), Paul (Jennifer), Emily Clonts (Cord), Daniel (Shalisha), Richard, Robert, and Donald; 37 nieces and nephews, and 17 great-nieces and nephews.
Funeral services for Stephen will be conducted Friday, February 3, 2023, at 10:00 a.m., at the Mt. Graham Chapel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by Bishop Jonathon Stailey of the Safford 7th Ward. Concluding services will follow in the Lebanon Cemetery.
Family will receive friends Thursday evening, February 2, 2023, from 6:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m., at the Vining Funeral Home and Friday morning, February 3, 2023, from 9:00 a.m. until 9:45 a.m., in the Mt. Graham Chapel Relief Society room.
Those who would like to attend the services via Facebook Live can join on Vining Funeral Home's Facebook page, Friday morning, February 3, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. (MST).