Betty Geraldine (Larsen) Nelson

Betty Geraldine (Larsen) Nelson

Betty Geraldine (Larsen) Nelson was born in Seattle, Washington, on Feb. 29, 1932 to John L. and Bertha V. Larsen. She grew up in Anton Larsen Bay and was a granddaughter to Anton Larsen. Her family 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. 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 15 years before becoming employed by Kodiak Area Native Association (KANA) at the Port Lions Clinic. She received many rewards 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 of Port Lions. In 1999, she was delighted to receive the prestigious Delta Keats “Healing Hands” award during the Alaska Federations of Natives (AFN) Annual Convention. On May 9, 2014, the people of Port Lions honored Betty’s years of service by naming the new Port Lions Health Clinic after her.

Betty lived her life to the fullest, whether she was caring for someone, mothering her children Gloria, Abner, Victoria, Jessica, and Bruce or traveling with her husband, Abner.

She was a faith-filled woman who was never bashful about including God in her conversation 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 hymn was “How Great Thou Art”. She was a hard workingwoman 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. Whenever 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 Niblock, and her children, Gloria (Jerome) Selby, Abner Jr. (Marilyn) Nelson, Victoria (Skip) Woodward, Jessica (Norman) Ursin, and Bruce (Amy) Nelson, as well as 13 grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren and four great-greats.

Celebration of life was held on September 22 at the Kodiak Bible Chapel and was laid to rest in Port Lions next to her husband thereafter. 

Every good thing Betty had accomplished is because of Jesus Christ and that she was nothing without Him.


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