For the last eight years, the phone rang in Chris Froman's house every night at 9 p.m.
"Since I have been alone, I have received a phone call from Sveri (Larson) every night around 9 p.m. just checking in to see what was going on and how my day had been," shared Froman, Sveri's good friend, during Sveri's funeral service on Thursday morning at First Evangelical Covenant Church. "Sveri had a ministry of being interested in and caring about others right to the end. She loved people and I am blessed to be one of those she chose to love."
Froman said if she was away for the evening, she could always count on a message with Sveri's "sweet voice" on her answering machine, "Hi Chris! It's just Sveri. Talk with you later."
"I already miss my evening caller," she told the room packed full of the 97-year-old's family and friends.
Froman isn't the only one. For the last 35 years, Sveri went to Sandy's Donuts, Monday through Friday, to have coffee with friends. And just to be clear, she only ate a donut on Fridays or if it was someone's birthday.
"That's self discipline to only touch a donut once a week," Senior Pastor Craig Swanson joked. "Some of us could use that encouragement, couldn't we?"
He noted Sveri's "long, long life" and what a great impact she had on all who knew her—evident by the sheer number of people in the room.
"The longer you live, the more witness a life can offer," Pastor Swanson said, adding that in a society that values youth, it's important to honor the aging and reflect on a well-lived, long life like Sveri's. "It gives us a different perspective."
He invited Sveri's family and friends during the service to speak out one word that best described her. The words "gracious," "funny," "classy," "elegant," "loving," "hospitable" and "loved the Lord" echoed throughout the room.
"We loved this woman," Pastor Swanson said.
Following the service, family and friends gathered for lunch and Sandy's donuts, of course. Guests were also treated to some of Sveri's favorite candy—Swedish fish, Hershey Kisses and Laffy Taffy—and coffee.
"Her coffee pot was always on and her door was always open," said Sveri's daughter Lynn Bylsma.
You can read more about Sveri's life and even share a memory of your own on her personal memory page.