Larissa “Baby Girl” Smith, age 37, of Ball Club, Minnesota died tragically and began her journey to the spirit world from St. Mary’s Essentia Health Hospital in Duluth, Minnesota on Friday, January 8, 2021.
Larissa Jean-Marie was born June 26, 1983 in Duluth, the youngest daughter of Paul Wakanabo, Sr. and Terri Morrison. They lived in Duluth for some of her younger years. They later relocated to Ball Club where Larissa and her siblings spent their childhood and adult years surrounded by many cousins and other close family members. Larissa attended school in Deer River with many dear friends; Melissa, Jer, Camille, Colleen, Amanda, Erin, and so many others. Larissa worked for Leech Lake Gaming, White Oak Casino, and Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe-T.E.P. Larissa had a vivacious personality, she was very outgoing, friendly and always made people around her laugh. Larissa made lifelong friendships everywhere she went. She was a very active community member, loved by many and was always lending a helping hand. Larissa “Baby Girl” was the center of her family, the glue to hold everyone together. Christmas of 2020 will always be one of our happiest memories, followed by family gatherings, picnics, barbeques and our Family Memorial Dinners. Memories we will cherish are the fierce “31” marathon games, our volleyball tourneys, six-mile/west bank/east bank rides and or course bungeeing down the roads.
Larissa Jean-Marie was a dedicated mother first and foremost. She treasured her children and loved every moment spent with them. No matter any obstacle she faced in life Larissa’s strength carried her through. Her pride and joy were her children, guiding them and carrying them along with her.
Family that welcomes Larissa to the spirit world are her paternal grandparents, Hubert and Josephine; her maternal grandparents, Ray and Darlene and her brother Andrew Smith.
Those left behind to cherish her memory are her beloved children: Aliyah Gale, Jade Gale-Wakanabo, Hubert Wakanabo, Jaxon, Brantley and Destiny Grauman and our blessing of life and love Arianna Moe; her parents, Paul Wakanabo, Sr. and Terri Morrison; sisters: Melissa Smith and Jennifer (Ben Moe) Smith; brothers: Allen Smith and Paul Wakanabo, Jr.; aunts: Holly Fairbanks, Gina Smith and Tracy Bixby; uncle, Stuart (Gina) Smith; many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends, too numerous to mention.
“And while I can’t really believe that I have so much more of my own life ahead of me without my mother in it. I know that’s not really true. So much of who I am is a reflection of who she was, and her example will continue to guide me as I become who I will be. Mom, you will always be a part of me. I love you.” For you Mom, I am my mother’s daughter.
Larissa, our Baby Girl, you will be eternally missed and forever loved. You were taken from us all way too soon, yet we will remain strong and carry your loving spirit within us. The world shall never forget our beautiful Larissa Jean-Marie. Another strong, independent Anishinabe Ikwe. She is and will always be her father’s daughter.
An overnight wake for Larissa began Tuesday, January 12 and continues until her 10:00 a.m. traditional service on Wednesday, January 13 all to be held at the Ball Club Community Center in Ball Club. Waa-maajaa’iwed is Steve Jackson. Pallbearers will be Ben Moe, Doug Fairbanks, Harly Hines, Jeremy Gotchie, Mark Jimenez and Travis Gale. Her honorary pallbearers are Melissa Jenkins, Amanda Johnson and Colleen Rushman. Interment will be in the Townsite Cemetery at Ball Club, Minnesota following her services.
Larissa’s care has been entrusted to Northern Peace Funeral Home of Walker, MN. Online condolences for the family may be left at www.northernpeace.com.