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Betty Geraldine Nelson

Betty Geraldine (Larsen) Nelson was born in Seattle, WA on February 29, 1932 to John L and Bertha V Larsen.  She grew up on Anton Larsen Bay and was a granddaughter to Anton Larsen.  Her family later relocated to Afognak Village.

 Betty met Abner Nelson when he returned to Afognak after serving in the US Army for five years during World War II.  They were married in Kodiak, Alaska on May 2, 1948 and enjoyed 63 years of marriage together.  They relocated to Port Lions from Afognak Village after the 1964 earthquake. 


Betty served as a health aide in Afognak starting in 1953, volunteering her services for fifteen years before becoming employed by Kodiak Area Native Association (KANA) at the Port Lions Clinic.  She received many awards in recognition of her efforts to improve the health care of Alaska Natives, including an award in appreciation for 30 years of dedicated service to the people the Port Lions. In 1999, she was delighted to receive the prestigious Della Keats “Healing Hands” award during the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) Annual Convention.


 Betty lived life to the fullest, whether she was caring for someone, mothering her children Gloria, Vicki, Abner, Jessie and Bruce or traveling with her husband, Abner. She was a faith-filled woman who was never bashful about including God in her conversations and praying for others.  Betty’s voice could be heard most Sundays of her life at a church service singing hymns.  One of her favorite hymns was “How Great Thou Art”.  She was a hard-working woman who loved to have friends and family around as much as possible.  She was a phenomenal cook and baked many wedding and birthday cakes for the community in her lifetime.  When her family thinks of holidays with her, we all remember a lot of good food, great conversation, laughter late into the night and a house brimming with family, friends and love.


 Betty is survived by her sister, Marla; her children Gloria, Vicki, Abner, Jessie and Bruce and many, many grandchildren whom she was very good at loving!

William “Shorty” Larsen

William “Shorty” Larsen left us unexpectedly on February 17, 2019.  He was 51 years old.  He leaves behind a legacy of smiles, good humor, his love for family, and an amazing desire to help others. In his 51 years in this world, as the family thought about their son, brother, uncle, and friend, they realize what a treasure Shorty was to so many beyond family.

 His mom, Grace, recalls how much he enjoyed coming over and cooking for her and his sister Carlene on a regular basis.  She and Carlene related that he cooked so good that they couldn’t lose weight until Shorty went fishing for the summers with Tim Grussendorf.   He loved fishing and being on the waters around Sitka and SE Alaska.  He fished with Tim for 19 years.  One of his recent, and final, gifts for his mom was sitting on her shelf.  The inscription said, “Heaven is a little closer in a home by the water.”

The family talked about how much Shorty loved to hike, play basketball, and “cruising” around Sitka smiling in this town he grew up in and being that friendly, waving soul.  The family recounts many times how they learned from others how he would pull over and help someone in need.  Many times that person didn’t even know who he was – he just helped, such was his desire to be who he learned to be growing up under his Mom and Dad.  He even replaced an alternator for someone who didn’t know who he was.  She found out later and found the Larsen family to let them know what he did.  That happened last week.

 The impression he made upon the kids around him, when working in the middle school and at UAS led a friend to share how they noticed that whenever the middle school kids or MEHS kids saw Shorty, the kids would gravitate to this friendly, smiling, caring adult.  The friend related that he realized that Shorty became a father figure to so many kids as he was a good listener.  The words, “kind, gentle, good listener, caring,” are often repeated when family and friends talk about Shorty.

He even stood in for his brother for one Lamaze class – just one, after which he promptly declared he was not going to have kids.  His sense of humor was infectious and it was evident in listening to his family and friends think about this caring friend to many.  There were many examples of how he also used humor to show his family or friends to let them know he cares for them, such was his desire to let them know they were special to him.

He received the nickname “Shorty” early in life.  His mom relates that when he was born, he was short and was not easy to see wrapped in his baby blanket so his siblings laughingly nicknamed him “Shorty” because they could not see him – and it stuck with him.

It was evident he loved family.  He always made sure Mom took her medicine.  He cooked for her and Carlene and would serve Mom first.  As Mom simply stated, “he was always there for me.”

As the family relates – he never knew a stranger.  He was always willing to help wherever help was needed.  No one had a single bad thing to say about him.

Shorty grew up in Sitka, graduated from Sitka High School, and in 2005 attended Marine Mechanical Institute in Florida to become certified in marine engine repair work, something he loved doing and teaching to others.  He loved his commercial fishing.  He recently graced the hallways of SEARHC as an employee.

A Celebration of Life will be held this Sunday – on his birthday – from 1:00-3:00pm at the Sheetka Kwaan Naakahidi.  Please consider bringing a food dish to share and please bring some fun stories of our friend, uncle, brother, and son Shorty – to share with others.  On Wednesday, the family will have a private ceremony to spread Shorty’s ashes at his favorite fishing hole.

He lived life well and fully, complete with that ever present smile and great attitude of love for family and friends and a life of helping others.  He is the son of Grace Katasse Larsen and Carl A. Larsen, Sr. (deceased). He was preceded in death by his father, Carl A. Larsen, Sr., and his sister, Carlene Rose Larsen. He is survived by his mother, Grace K. Larsen of Sitka; brothers Carl A Larsen of Juneau, Jr, Henry Larsen (Lynn) of Sitka, Andy Larsen of Hoonah, and Clarence “Buzz” Dick of Juneau; sisters Becky M. Larsen of Juneau, Carlene Larsen of Sitka, Beth Didrickson (Donnie) of Elma, Washington, and Aneanette Larsen of Hoonah; nephews Christopher Larsen, Kayne Larson, Olaf Larsen, Charlie Larsen all of Juneau, Eric Larsen of Hoonah, Jerrett Didrickson of Elma, Washington, and Adam Larsen (Leah) of Green Bay, Wisconsin; nieces Kylee Larsen (Chris), Elisa Larsen (Jackson) of Chicago, Illinois, and Annisha Strom of Fort Yukon.  He has many great nieces and nephews.

Honorary Pallbearers are Carl A. Larsen, Jr, Christopher Larsen, Eric Larsen, Kylee Larsen, Kayne Larsen, Becky Larsen, Olaf Larsen, Charlie Larsen, Henry Larsen, Elisa Larsen, Adam Larsen, Carlene Larsen, Andy Larsen, Annisha Larsen, Beth, Donnie, and Jerrett Didrickson, James Bennett, Sarah Carlson, Tim Grussendorf, James Mercer, Ed Mercer, Jr., Terry Carlson, Clarence “Buzz” Dick, Tom Gamble, and Keith Perkins.

Margaret Petersen

Margaret Peterson passed away peacefully on December 24, 2018, in Anchorage, Alaska.

Margaret was born on January 14th, 1920 in Ouzinkie, Alaska to Sverre and Katherine Danielsen. She spent her childhood years between Ouzinkie, Uganik, and school on Woody Island. Growing up she did the cooking and would help her mother take out the rowboat and ran a trap line consisting of mostly foxes, weasels, and other small animals. She loved the ocean and learned all about Alaskan wildlife and seafood.

In 1940 Margaret met Nels Petersen of Fairbanks, Alaska while they were both returning on a ship back from Seattle. Nels proposed to Margaret by letter 6 months later and they were married in October of 1940 in Fairbanks. Margaret and Nels raised two children, Danny and Ina Jean, living in Fairbanks, Omak, Washington, and finally settling in Anchorage in 1955.

Margaret worked in the banking industry and greatly enjoyed all that Alaska had to offer. She traveled throughout Alaska, camping and fishing with her family. They spent many years at their beloved cabin at Beaver Lake with friends and family and had their grandchildren come to the cabin as often as possible.

In 1990 Nels and Margaret celebrated their 50th anniversary and were still going strong, enjoying their motor home, traveling, and their family. Nels passed away in 1992 after spending 52 years with Margaret. Margaret continued to travel and would visit Australia, Europe, Africa, and South America. She continued motor-homing and traveling until her early 90’s. One of her favorite places to visit was her childhood home in Uganik.

Margaret was also an active member of many clubs in Anchorage in her later years including the Red Hats, Pioneers of Alaska, and the “Daughters of Norway.” She always had an open door for visitors and loved family get-togethers. She is remembered for being a great cook, especially of blueberry pie, strong and independent, and a true pioneering Alaskan and will be missed by all.

Margaret is survived by her  son, Daniel Petersen and daughter, Ina Ressel, five grand children, and many great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents, Sverre and Katherine Danielsen, her brother, Ralph, and sister, Jordis, and her beloved husband – Nels.

A celebration of life was held at the Anchorage Pioneer home. Ms. Petersen will be buried in Anchorage this coming spring or early summer next to Nels. Information about the memorial service will be published once the date has been set.

Phoebe K. Loughead

Phoebe Kathryn Loughead was born October 10, 1912. On Sunday, August 19th, 2018 she peacefully stepped into the presence of Jesus. Just shy of her 106th birthday she was the last of the Larsen siblings (twelve-in-all) to step into Heavens doors.

When asked of her favorite moments in life she would often refer back to the Chechenoff-Larsen days living on Afognak and Kodiak Island, Alaska prior to WWII, recounting the family fun and chores that made up those special days.

She is preceded in death by her son Robert Loughead but is survived by sons, Clifford Buchanan (Bonnie) and Richard Buchanan (Barbara) and daughter Marlene Grieff. She is also survived by twelve grandchildren, ten great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren.

She is remembered by her family as a strong, focused and independent woman who loved to share her time with her family. She will long be remembered as one of the Larsen 3-musketeers; which comprised of her sisters and best friends Rika and Sonja. They were inseparable for years.  Sharing homemade cookies, Church and family.   Together with their dear friend Marilyn Jaeger they cooked and served for many years at the semi-annual church bazaars.  Phoebe was also a member of Alaskan Native Tribal Associations; Koniag and Afognak.

 Per her request, a grave site service will be held on August 28th at 11:00 a.m.   Service location will be at Evergreen Washelli in Seattle (11111 Aurora Ave N.).  In lieu of flowers or condolence cards please feel free to donate to her beloved church, St. Spiridon Orthodox Cathedral, 1310 Harrison Street, Seattle, WA  98109.

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