In Memory

Mary Ellen Larsen

Mary Ellen Larsen

Mary Ellen Larsen

Born: September 2, 1960
Died: February 28, 2019    

Although Mary Ellen graduated from Provo High School (Class of 1979); we claim her as an honorary, Class of 1979 T-Bird, and one of our own; because she was a friend to so many of us.  I once told Mary Ellen about her "honorary" title, and she said, "more like 'onery' title." But we all know that's not true about her.  She was one of the happiest people I knew, with an infectious laugh, quick wit and sly smile.

Mary Ellen Larsen passed away on February 28, 2019 after a year-long battle with cancer. Mary Ellen managed UVU's Wee Care Center for nearly 13 years and loved nothing more than taking care of children and seeing families succeed.

In honor of Mary Ellen’s devotion and legacy, UVU is establishing the Mary Ellen Larsen Memorial Scholarship to support childcare needs of parent-students at UVU. UVU shared this idea with Mary Ellen before her passing, and she humbly agreed to the request. If you would like to help continue Mary Ellen’s passion for helping children (and their parents) learn and grow, donations can be made in her honor. The donation page is available here.

Mary Ellen's Facebook page:



Mary Ellen @ Timpview 30th reunion Jodi Baum Synder, Linda Ward Nelson, and Lisa Mower Bardsley.

Mary Ellen at 30th reunion with Greg Bluth and Dave Metcalf

Mary Ellen, greeting Timpview and Provo alumni at 30th reunion, combined picnic in the park (with Stephen Sperry)


Mary Ellen at party before our 30th reunion with Becky Duke Badura and David Lamb.

Mary Ellen and family

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03/15/19 10:32 AM #1    

Juanita Stubbs (Bushman)

Mary Ellen (Mae Mae) has been my friend since 7th grade.  I was always jealous that Ron Baird was her boyfriend in junior high school.  I will never forget telling "Mae Mae" about Ron writing about HER in my yearbook.  She laughed and laughed when she read "....and if I didn't have Mary Ellen, I would have you."  Mae Mae was a wonderful friend to me and my children.  She was so supportive of me when my parents passed.  Mae Mae would come to my home for parties and dinners or to just hang out.  She would spend time in the garden with us.  One day she was there and exclaimed "Look!  There is a hummingbird!"  She went on to tell us that hummingbirds carried the spirit of our dead and they were coming to check on us.  Not only do I think of my parents when I see a hummingbird, but I think of Mary Ellen.  She was a strength to me.  She believed in me.  I truly loved her and will miss her!  I cannot wait to see the next hummingbird in hopes it carries her spirit coming to check on me!  With love, Juanita Stubbs Bushman

03/19/19 09:00 AM #2    

Bryan Chapman

After our early school days together, I ran into Mary Ellen again in 1988-1990 while going to Utah State University.  She lived just a few doors away from us. My wife and Mary Ellen became great friends and it was fun watching my wife discover all the great things  I already knew about Mary Ellen.  We got to know her son Michael too.  Our young kids loved having Mary Ellen around, calling her "Mary Elephant," which she both loved and encouraged (to our dismay); but it became a great term of endearment. She always had such a great sense of humor and kindness. She loved our children and they loved her.

We will all miss you Mary Ellen; til we meet again.

03/20/19 07:19 AM #3    

Sue Burnham (Bridgeman)

Bryan, That was a very touching life story you have about Mary Ellen.  It warmed my heart and made me laugh too!  Thank you for sharing that with everyone!!  Suzanne Burnham Bridgeman

06/29/19 07:59 PM #4    

David Harris

Re-connecting with Mary Ellen in 2009 was a highlight of that 40th-anniversary reunion season for me. I remember a fun conversation with her and Juanita Stubbs at the pre-reunion party at the now demolished Rock Canyon School, and I remember meeting her son at the combined-schools breakfast at Rock Canyon Park. Then, a year or two later, I knocked on her door one evening to share information about a neighborhood issue affecting my parents, and she gave me a tour of her beautiful house, including the magnificent view of the Provo Temple off her terrace.

I loved that she had a connection to everyone. Whether it was getting together with David Lamb for lunch or dinner or reminiscing with Nancy and Bryan Chapman or Juanita or Becky Duke or old Bill Harris, the tentacles of her warm, generous spirit are spread all over Provo and beyond like the roots of one of those old gigantic Pioneer elms that used to be so prevalent around Utah County or, really, more like the aspen groves of Utah and Colorado.

I was really sorry to learn of her passing less than a week ago when I visited Provo High's Class of 1979 website. I aspire to be the kind of human being that Mary Ellen was.

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