Maria Preece Larson, 41 years, was called home to her Heavenly Parents on Dec. 31, 2019, as a result of severe complications following an influenza infection. Maria was born May 17, 1978, in Comox, British Columbia, Canada, the third of six children born to Harry Preece and Francine Gauthier.
Maria was raised in humble circumstances in the Comox Valley, where as a young child she developed her love of biking, swimming, being outdoors and fearless adventures. She had a great love for her siblings and was especially close to her brother, Jeremy, in her early years. She loved and served in her home and everywhere she went. In her teen years, she developed an enduring relationship with her sister, Melissa, during challenging times. She also began to develop a strong testimony of her Savior Jesus Christ, which enabled her to love, lift and serve everyone around her, young and old alike.
With her sister, Melissa, she moved to Vancouver, British Columbia and entered nursing school at the BC Institute of Technology. Her younger sister, Marion, came to live with them and Maria continued to love and support her through the remainder of Marion’s teenage years.
Maria was a bright, shining star and lived for sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with everyone she came in contact with. She loved parties, good food and gathering everyone together, all for the purpose of strengthening and lifting one another and spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.
She graduated with honors as a registered nurse and in 2001, moved to Salt Lake City, Utah with her sister, Marion, to work at Primary Children’s Medical Center as a nurse in the newborn intensive care unit. She would ultimately work there for more than 10 years, where she continued to love and develop friendships.
In late 2001, Maria organized a gathering of old missionary friends that she knew from her earlier service as a stake missionary in Vancouver. “Elder Larson” was in attendance and they made plans to connect. Maria quickly realized Nate was someone she wanted to share eternity with. They fell in love and Maria and Nate were married on June 8, 2002, in the Saint George Utah Temple.
Maria and Nate lived in the Salt Lake area while Nate attended school. Maria was on a continual “Queen Quest” in her desire to be healthy, a faithful wife and mother, and disciple of Jesus Christ. Running, swimming and biking continued to play an important role in her life and she accomplished her goal of competing in a Triathlon in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Maria’s priority to family relationships led her on yearly road trips back to Canada to connect with parents, siblings, nieces and nephews. She loved being outdoors with her young family. She uniquely loved each of her boys: Nathan, Max, Andrew and David and served her family continually. Her love was always felt as she celebrated half-birthdays (also known as “love days”), volunteered in classrooms, and snuggled with her boys each night.
In 2013, Maria and her family moved to Dublin, California. Throughout her life, Maria served in the Lord’s kingdom in various capacities but found particular joy and fulfillment serving the Lord’s young women. Her missionary spirit continued as she reached out and loved those around her. Through her service, she touched the lives of many, and her legacy and example of Christlike service are an inspiration to those who knew her.
Her passion for amazing food continued and she loved to share this passion with others. She thrived in the California sun and loved the beach, running and hiking in nature.
Maria and her family moved to Nate’s hometown of Saint George, Utah in 2017 where Maria was able to design and live in their dream home. She loved hiking and exploring southern Utah and continued her legacy of kindness and Christlike service. Her “love day” parties expanded to extended family and her spirit was refined as she saw, served and loved others as her Savior did.
Her ultimate desire was to develop the pure love of Christ and she touched many lives for good. She lifted, exalted and encouraged all those she met, strangers and friends alike. She was a woman of true integrity. She was honest and upright and was on a continual quest for goodness and obedience.
She was a disciple of Jesus Christ and one of his true followers.
Maria is survived by her husband, Nate; her boys: Nathan (16), Max (14), Andrew (12), and David (9); her parents, Harry and Francine; her siblings: Juan, Jeremy (Nicole), Melissa (Rob), Joseph (Melanie), Marion (John), and many nieces and nephews.
We will celebrate her life and legacy on Saturday, Jan. 11, at 2 p.m. at the Little Valley Stake Center, 2436 E. Crimson Ridge Drive, St. George where friends may call from noon to 1:30 p.m. prior to services. Interment will follow at the Tonaquint Cemetery, 1777 S. Dixie Drive, St. George, Utah.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints humanitarian fund.
Arrangements entrusted to the care of Metcalf Mortuary, (435) 673-4221. Please visit our website at www.metcalfmortuary.com for condolences, complete obituary and funeral listings.