In Memoriam: Myrtice Larson (1921 - 2022)
Innovative educator, author and long-time Arlington Historical Society supporter Myrtice Larson was only a few days from her 101st birthday when she died April 27, 2022.
Her teaching career spanned four decades, in the process touching thousands of students and influencing the career paths of hundreds of new teachers. She also did not forget the Historical Society, leaving the Society and Fielder Museum a $20,000 bequest. Generosity was another of her many commendable traits.
Born in a Norwegian settlement in Bosque County in 1921, Myrtice—born Myrtice Irene Nygaard—was all of six years old when she told her parents she planned to be a teacher.
And what a teacher she was. Before her career was done, she taught every grade from first through college seniors. Keenly aware of the needs of young learners, Myrtice also possessed a persistent interest in societal changes: women entering the workforce, farm jobs abandoned in favor of work in the cities, and the fading of spiritual growth as a component of family life.
She was, for example, the first woman president of an American Lutheran Church and its congregation.
During her career she earned eight teaching specialty certifications and consulted with various area school districts while teaching at no less than three universities. In 1997 the Arlington School District dedicated the Curtis and Myrtice Larson Academy, an elementary school, in honor of Myrtice and her husband, Principal Curtis. In retirement, Myrtice was president of the Texas Retired Teachers Association.
Something of a Renaissance woman, her interests included a variety of special collections (she was a certified milliner) and global travel, including 11 cruises. Her “Teachers and Planning Guide” is still in use today. Myrtice also wrote many other small books, all focused on education, generally for younger students.
She was voted Arlington’s Senior Citizen of the Year in 1990 for her many volunteer efforts, which included work for the Fielder House Museum.
Myrtice Irene Larson, 100, passed away on Wednesday, April 27, 2022. Funeral service will take place at 11:00 am, Tuesday, May 3, 2022, at the Rock Church. Visitation will take place one hour before the service at the church with burial following the service at the Rock Church Cemetery.
Myrtice was born in Bosque County, Texas, in a Norwegian settlement. At the age of six, she told her parents she wanted to be a teacher when she grew up. She and her mother played school many hours, as her mother and her aunt Minnie were both teachers for several years. Myrtice attended a small, rural school in Mustang, where she received the foundation of how important education is. She then transferred to Cranfills Gap at a time when many small schools consolidated, then graduated from Clifton Junior College. She went on to receive a bachelor’s degree from North Texas State Teachers College and a master’s degree from the University of North Texas in Denton. Her master’s thesis was entitled “Supervision,” an idea she developed long before colleges were teaching the concept.
Myrtice taught every grade level from first through college seniors. Keenly aware of the needs of young learners, Myrtice possessed an abiding interest in the societal changes in our great country. These changes included women entering the labor market, farm jobs abandoned in favor of factory work, and spiritual growth becoming less family oriented. She was the first female to serve as president of a church and of its congregation in the entire American Lutheran Church body. During her career, she earned eight teaching specialty certifications and taught or consulted in school districts in Fort Worth, McKinney, and Collin County. Additionally, she held teaching posts at Appalachian State Teachers College in Boone, North Carolina, and the University of North Texas in Denton. She was professor of education for supervisors and for many other administrators. She worked in many fields, including Early Childhood/Handicapped, Professional Kindergarten teachers, and Public-School Administration. She was also a supervisor for Student Teacher Supervisors. In 1997 the Arlington school district dedicated the Curtis and Myrtice Larson Academy, an elementary school, in honor of Myrtice and her husband, Principal Curtis. Myrtice joined the Texas Retired Teachers Association after her retirement and became a volunteer. She was president of the statewide group during its pivotal years of 1994 through 1996 and helped it increase its membership and attain a more solid business footing. Additionally, she was active in the Altrusa Club and Delta Kappa Gamma.
In 1981, she retired from active professional status after forty years of teaching and authored “Teachers and the Planning Guide” for Houghton Mifflin’s Kindergarten Program that is still in use today. Myrtice was voted Arlington’s Senior Citizen of the Year in 1990 for her volunteer efforts, which included work for the Fielder House Museum.
She had many interests, several collections, teapots, handkerchiefs, spoons, etc. She also grew and canned food, was an excellent seamstress and was a certified milliner. Even with her hard work, she did take time to go on eleven cruises to see the world and it is said she even rode a camel.
Myrtice was preceded in death by her beloved husband of thirty-three years; her parents, Otto, and Hannah Nygaard; her siblings, twins Rene Nygaard and Olney Noran Nygaard. She is survived by many nephews, nieces and friends from various educational groups, charitable organizations, and social groups.