Mary Gilliam Larson – August 5, 2020
Posted on 10/27/2020

Mary Larson was known as an outstanding leader and educator who taught first grade for 38 years at Featherstone Elementary School until her retirement. She passed away on August 5, 2020. Her great passion was teaching children to read. She was honored as the Virginia Teacher of the Year in 1971.

Larson was renowned for her strict and loving personality in the classroom, her unfaltering work ethic, and her character. She volunteered to host one of the first integrated classrooms in Prince William County and always stood up for equality for all children and teachers.

In the 1960's, she championed the rights of women educators. At the time, women teachers were required to quit or take a leave of absence if they were pregnant. She successfully led the charge to convince the School Board that teachers should be allowed to continue to work while expecting. Additionally, women were required to wear dresses or skirts, and she successfully lobbied for teachers to be allowed to wear pants. She told the School Board, “I can run and play better with my students if I am in pants.”

Featherstone’s playground is named in her honor.

View the obituary for additional information.