Lilyth Sylvia Larson Finn, a longtime resident of Billings, passed away peacefully on Sunday, March 12, 2017, at the Canyon Creek Memory Care Facility in Billings, just four months shy of her 100th birthday. Lilyth was born on July 23, 1917, on the family farm near Sheyenne, N.D. She was the daughter of Peter and Mamie Larson. Her father immigrated to the United States in 1893 from Sweden.
Lilyth and her twin sister Lotus were the second to the youngest in a family of eight children. They completed grade school in a one-room country school. Lilyth told many stories about riding horseback to school and during the winter, riding to school in a horse-drawn sleigh. Lilyth attended and completed high school in Maddock, N.D. When prodded, Lilyth would share wonderful memories of those years, such as singing in the Glee Club and Chorus, with her twin sister, in their beautiful Augustana Lutheran Church. Often, Lilyth would share memories of the friendship and family togetherness when all the members would share at a meal after Church. Her father, Peter, and his three brothers all lived in close proximity to one another, so there were many cousins to share with and enrich one another’s lives. Throughout Lilyth’s life, her church, faith and family were her spiritual anchors and she was equally devoted to all of them beyond any measure.
Lilyth met Ralph while they were both working in Jamestown, N.D. They were married on June 15, 1940, in Valley City, N.D. They moved to Billings, where their daughter Barbara was born. Ralph’s career in trucking led them moving around the country. They left Billings and moved to Thief River Falls, Minn. Then to Detroit Lakes, Minn., where their son Timothy was born. Their next move was to Glyndon, Minn., where the birth of their second son, Bradley, occurred in Fargo, N.D. In 1952, they moved back to Billings, where their third son, Gary, was born. They remained in Billings for the remainder of their lives.
During all of Lilyth’s life, she was the “wind beneath her husband’s wings.” Dedicating her life to her family, she never faltered in being the exemplary wife and homemaker. She was the one who kept the home fires burning. The family has vivid memories of Lilyth’s delicious dinners after church and her huge vegetable garden accompanied by rows of zinnias. Her summer pride and joy were her garden, her red and white petunias and her red geraniums around her front porch, all of which she watered faithfully every night.
Ralph, Lilyth and their sons were all charter members of Atonement Lutheran Church in Billings. Lilyth’s Church was a vital part of her life and the center of her social life. She taught Sunday school and was very active in her Circle group, serving at many weddings and funerals.
Her husband, Ralph, and her son, Timothy, preceded Lilyth in death. Family members who have passed away include her parents; and her siblings, Ruth, Inez, Chester, Virgil, Wallace, Lotus and Bruce. Lilyth is survived by her daughter, Barbara (Bruce) and their children Scott and Jeremy; her grandson, Bryce (Jennifer), and their children, Morgan and Kaelyn; her granddaughter Kala; her son, Bradley (Sheri Rolf); and her son, Gary (Susan), and their children Jordan and Austin. There are also many nieces and nephews who are saddened by the loss of their last living aunt.
Lilyth’s funeral service will be at 3 p.m. Saturday, March 18, at Atonement Lutheran Church, 1290 Sierra Granda, Billings. Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary is assisting with arrangements. Burial will occur at the Yellowstone Valley Memorial Park after the church service.
The family wishes to sincerely thank the entire staff at Canyon Creek Memory Care for the excellent care our Mom received.
Memorials may be made in Lilyth’s honor to Atonement Lutheran Church.