Louise Larmon

1915 - 2000

Louise Larmon was a music teacher at two Seventh-day Adventist academies in Wisconsin, where she taught for over forty years. In her lifetime she became a living legend, known for the quality of her work and for her godly and compassionate character.

Louise was born in Daysville, Kentucky, on August 26, 1915, the only child of Charles Ray and Maude Rutherford Larmon. She was musical and sang and played the violin. Following her graduation from Western Kentucky State University with a B.A. in music, she began her teaching career in 1939 at Bethel Academy in central Wisconsin.

When the school was relocated to Columbus and renamed Wisconsin Academy ten years later, she continued as its music teacher.  In her 41-years at both schools she led the choirs, taught lessons, and directed the orchestra when there were enough string players, and the band, as needed.  As the music program grew, specialists were added to direct the band and teach piano.

Larmon conducted both the Choralaiers, a select choral group which performed frequently and toured and a large chorus open to all interested students, which presented two sacred and secular programs on campus each year. At a time when many academies avoided contact with nearby public schools, she participated in local high school music festivals, feeling  that "the constructive criticism given by competent judges inspires better work in the line of music."

In 1978 during the commencement exercise at the end of her last year at WA, she was honored with a citation of Excellence from the General Conference Department of Education.  Robert Murray, one of her students, who had completed a Ph.D. in music at the University of Michigan and would teach at Union College for 33 years, spoke as a representative for all of her students, expressing appreciation for her teaching and for her interest in her students.

During those years, her reputation as a teacher and as a godly and compassionate person grew, making her a living legend. Bob Knutson, former principal of WA would observe, "She communicated non-verbally the image of a composed, self-controlled, God-led Christian woman. She had an easy, pleasing personality no matter what the circumstances. She was someone to be comfortable around. My deep conviction, which I believe is shared by hundreds, maybe thousands of students, is that her life and service to God made immeasurable contributions to the quality of life here and set many on a life journey that will end in God's eternal kingdom."

Larmon died in Warren, Kentucky on January 21, 2000. At her funeral, Dan Schneider, president of the Lake Union Conference and later of the North American Division, related his experience as a member of her choir, observing, "She made a difference in my life. She enhanced my ministry in the Adventist Church."

Later that year in a memorial service for both Louise and Mildred Selma Summerton, who had served as principal for many years during Larmon's time and had died in March of 2000, the academy administration building was named for Summerton, and the music department was named the Larmon Music Center. Portraits of each of them were place placed in the building and at the center.


Source: Sue Rappette, "Teachers Influence Lives," Wisconsin Academy name building for two teachers, Lake Union Herald, June 2000, 9; Saul Ancestors Family Tree, Louise Larmon Facts, Ancestry .com.