Arlington woman honored for 50 years of service

ARLINGTON — Yolanda Larsen often hired a baby sitter for her preschoolers so she could volunteer in her older kids’ classrooms.

Too bad she wasn’t at school the day teachers asked students to raise their hands if their moms could bake four dozen cookies for the school’s open house the next day.

“I had one child in fifth grade, another in third, one in first and a kindergartner,” she said. “Wouldn’t you know it, they all raised their hands.”

Larsen showed up for the school event with 16 dozen cookies.

For her 50 years of volunteer work in Arlington, Larsen is this year’s recipient of the Stillaguamish Senior Center’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

“Why me? There are so many others who are deserving,” Larsen said. “All I can say is I am honored to be in the company of the previous winners.”

Those winners include Howard Christianson, Ruth and Harry Yost, Don Meier and Dick Post.

The award is scheduled to be made at the senior center’s annual Lifetime Achievement breakfast fundraiser Wednesday at the center.

One of nine children of Ed and Ethel Rosenbach, Larsen grew up on a dairy farm just south of Island Crossing. She graduated from Arlington High School in 1955 and married Richard Larsen in 1958. A few years later, the Larsens moved into a three-bedroom, one-bath house in town, where they raised their eight children.

Organization was key in the Larsen household.

“We didn’t have a shower, so it was assembly line bathing,” Larsen said. “My husband was a good parenting partner. And as the kids got older they helped out, too.”

Dick Larsen, who died in 2008, served on Arlington’s airport and planning commissions and was a city councilman.

Along with supporting her husband’s activities and her children’s educations, Yolanda Larsen volunteered to work on school district and bond committees, helped raise money for the city’s performing arts center, serves on Cascade Valley Hospital Foundation, and sat on Arlington’s first Relay for Life committee this year. Other efforts have involved Arlington Kids’ Kloset, Arlington United Church and Beta Sigma Phi service sorority.

Her children — Randy, Sharryn, Shelley, Rick, Suzi, Sheri, Ryan and Shawna — have all gone on to jobs in management, education, public service and municipal administration.

“The center is proud to give the award to Yolanda Larsen,” said Stillaguamish Senior Center director Jo Olson.

Scheduled to speak at the fundraiser is U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, one of Yolanda Larsen’s sons. Proceeds from the breakfast go to programs at the senior center.

Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427;

Annual breakfast

Stillaguamish Senior Center’s annual Lifetime Achievement breakfast fundraiser is set for 7:30 to 9 a.m. Wednesday at the center, 18308 Smokey Point Blvd, Arlington. Former Snohomish County Executive Bob Drewel is the master of ceremonies.

To reserve a seat, call 360-653-4551.

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