Dec. 21, 1946-April 10, 2019
Sally Kathleen Larson, 72, passed away from kidney cancer at her home in Cathedral City, CA, on April 10, 2019. Sally was born on December 21, 1946 in Anaconda, Montana, as the fifth of six children of Charles and Alma Larson. She grew up in Anaconda and graduated from Anaconda High School with the class of 1965. Soon after graduation, Sally married Jerry Sjodahl, of Anaconda. Jerry was in the Navy at the time and the couple moved to the San Diego area. They later divorced. Sally remained in California until her death.
Sally started her banking career with Security Pacific National Bank in 1968. Despite the lack of a college degree, Sally moved quickly up the banking ladder due to hard work, intelligence, and innate ability to work well with everyone. After Security Pacific merged with Bank of America, Sally became a branch manager for Bank of America in Santa Barbara, CA and Thousand Oaks, CA. She retired in 2001 as a Vice-President of the bank. She maintained close relationships with many of her banking friends until the end. After retiring from banking, Sally worked as a manager of a Borders bookstore in Pasadena, CA, and finally fully retired in 2008.
Sally gave birth to her beloved daughter, Shannon, in 1980, in Camarillo, CA. She raised Shannon as a single mother from birth through Shannon’s graduation from college. Mother and daughter were extremely close and following Shannon’s marriage to Chris Samojen in 2004, Sally became the proud grandmother of three grandchildren. Shannon and Chris moved from Camarillo, to the Austin, TX area in 2011, and thereafter Sally made several trips to Texas for visits with Shannon’s family, including most recently in January.
In 2003, Sally reconnected with Ed Kunkel, of Pasadena, CA. Ed had been her first boyfriend in the 4th grade at Daly School in Anaconda and graduated from high school in 1965 with Sally. They had not seen each other in nearly 40 years and found each other on an Anaconda website. Throughout the years, Sally had kept a Valentine that Ed had given her in the 4th grade. Sally and Ed spent the rest of her life together. Sally became very close to Ed’s children, Amanda and Ryan, and their families, and thought of them as her “adopted” children and grandchildren. Ed and Sally moved from Pasadena to the Palm Springs area in 2013 and loved retired life and the warm desert climate. Both of them had fond memories of growing up in Anaconda and each summer would spend as much of their time as possible in Anaconda where Ed would play golf at Old Works and Sally would visit with family and friends. Sally and Ed enjoyed attending USC home football games for 16 seasons in Los Angeles.
In 2014, Sally and Ed spent nearly three weeks in Italy with Ed’s brother, Bob, and his wife Carrol. It was Sally’s first visit to Europe. They had a wonderful time and enjoyed sharing memories of the trip with their families.
In 2016, Sally and Ed went on a long road trip through the Southern U.S. to Washington D.C., Niagara Falls, Canada, the upper MidWest, the Dakotas, and ended the trip in Anaconda for two months.
Sally had many friends from her banking days, her church in Camarillo, several years in Pasadena, and her new friends in the desert. She will be greatly missed forever by her close family and friends, and by Ed and his family. She was a special lady, warm, affectionate, selfless, generous, and loving.
Sally is survived by her daughter, Shannon (Chris) Samojen, of Leander, TX, and their children, Kiersten, Cailin, and Cody, her longtime partner, Ed Kunkel, of Cathedral City, CA, his daughter, Amanda (JP) Kunkel Belliard, of Glendale, CA, their son, Aidan, his son, Ryan (Eleanor) Kunkel, of Walnut Creek, CA, and their daughter, Audrey, and son, Weston. In addition, Sally is survived by her sister and loving caregiver, Margo Smith, of Anaconda, and brother, Rick (Jeannie) Larson, of Butte, and several nieces and nephews.
Sally was preceded in death by her parents, her sisters, Carol Young, of Boise, ID, and Maribeth Browning, of Forsyth, MT, her brother, Charles, of Vancouver, WA, her nephew, Bruce Browning, of Forsyth, great-nephew, Ostein Kvaalen, and great-niece, Olivia Kvaalen, both of Lambert, MT.
Sally had requested that there be no services. She will be cremated and, at her request, her remains will be scattered in her beloved Montana.