Welcome, Mary Larson
|Watonga Chamber of Commerce
welcomes Mary Larson to its staff!
reprinted from the Watonga Republican
New Watonga Chamber of Commerce
Administrative Director Mary Larson grew
up in California but had at least a
couple of generations' roots in Watonga
when she moved here in October 2005.
"One of the reasons
I moved here was to become
involved with my community."
Larson said. "I have done that
and, through my contacts, I was
encouraged to apply for the job.
I believe in being involved
and trying to help."
Before taking the Chamber
position, she was proofreader at
the newspaper for about two
In her third year as a Girl Scout
leader, Larson is also in her first year
as Girl Scout service unit director for
Blaine and Kingfisher counties.
Larson is president of Domestic
Engineers and also of the Blaine County
HCE organization. She has worked
at a couple of Cheese Festivals and also
was floriculture superintendent at the
Her father, Bill Kelly, left Watonga as
a young man when he enlisted in the US
Navy. While in the Navy, he
married a southern California girl, who
died in January 2005. He is the
son of long-time fifth-grade teacher
here, the late Eathel Kelly.
Larson said they came a few times to
visit while she was growing up in
Sonoma, California. After
graduating from high school there, she
earned associate degrees in early
childhood education and business from
Santa Rosa Jr. College and worked mostly
in clerical positions, first at the
Hewlett-Packard Report Distribution
Center in Santa Rosa.
She married Rick Larson in California in
1990. Their children are Katarina,
10, and Gunnar, 5.
They left California in 1994 and moved
to the Reno, Nevada area where she
worked for an orthopedic clinic for
three years in medical records and then
put in nine years with the county
recorder's office until 2005, when they
"I always liked the welcoming, slower
pace here compared to California,"
Larson said, "When my parents retired
here and we wanted to get farther away
from California we decided to relocate
"We knew we would be able to be more
involved with our children's activities
and our community activities as well."
Her husband first worked in maintenance
at Diamondback Correctional Facility and
then was with the city light and water
department before recently joining the
maintenance staff at Great Plains
Correctional Facility, Hinton.
Larson has been administrative director
at the Chamber since January 2.
"I want to be a dependable support for
the board and the committees so they can
be more productive in getting their jobs
done." Larson said of her focus.
"I want to make sure anyone who contacts
Watonga for relocation or tourism or
business is greeted with a smiling face
and someone who feels positive about our
She is now involved in preparation for
the March 6-8 Trout Derby, but Cheese
Festival inquiries also come in around
"Right now we're working on our
membership drive for 2009, the Chamber
of Commerce banquet, the Trout Derby and
establishing our committees for all
other activities," she said.
Her position had been vacant for several
months and that period was utilized by
the board to address leaks and mold
problems inflicted by Tropical Storm
Erin at the Chamber office building just
south of Four Corners.
Rhonda Olsen put in hours serving as a
Chamber volunteer while there was no
director. Larson also has been
working with Anita Woodruff on the
When she is not working, Larson is
mostly involved with her children's
activities and says she would like to
get back sometime to her woodworking
hobby and also sewing. She said
she has mostly made home decor wood
items, working on a lathe, putting them
together and then painting them.