Mrs. Dorothy Bannister Larsen, age 98, of Old Fort, passed away Monday, March 30, 2020 at her home. Mrs. Larsen was born in Hart County, Georgia on September 12, 1921 to the late Clarence Bannister and Mariette Pritchard “Etta” Bannister. Moving to Asheville, NC at a young age, she was educated in the Buncombe County School System and graduated from High School in 1938. She later graduated from Columbia Bible College with a degree in Biblical Education and also audited classes at Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. She met the man who would become her husband of 68 years, Rev. Neils H. Larsen at seminary and they were married in 1942 at Merrimon Ave. Baptist Church, of which she was a charter member. In addition to supporting her husband through the many pastorates and other ministries he served in, both she and Rev. Larsen taught at Ben Lippen Boys School in Asheville. Mrs. Larsen also worked for the Sunday School Board of the North Carolina Convention, working in conventions around the state. She taught Vacation Bible School clinics in the Buncombe Association and the Blue Ridge Association. For a number of years she was on the faculty at Caswell Baptist Assembly teaching Vacation Bible School material. She also worked in the W.M.U. and served there as a Director in the Blue Ridge Association. Mrs. Larsen also taught the Mission Study books in Buncombe, Burke and Mitchell Counties. She and her husband were members of Pleasant Gardens Baptist Church where she taught Sunday School and sang in the choir. They also served on the McDowell County Council on Aging and in August of 1992 they were chosen “Senior Citizens of the Month”. Humor and joy were part of both their lives as they tried to live out the verse in Phillipians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say rejoice”. This was their testimony: “I am not what I wish to be. I am not even what I hope to be, but by God’s grace and Christ’s love, I am not what I was! In addition to her husband, she was preceded in death by her sister, Genolian Bannister. Surviving are two nephews, Robert and John Tuber of New York, a niece, Sandra Kelly of Georgia, and her cousin Tillie Fortag and husband Edward of Old Fort.
The family will receive friends Thursday, April 2, 2020 from 1:00 -0 1:30 p.m. at Westmoreland Funeral Home in Marion. A funeral service will follow at 1:30 p.m. in Westmoreland Chapel. She will be laid to rest beside her beloved husband in the Ridgecrest Cemetery in a private graveside service on Friday. The public is welcome to attend the services on Thursday at the funeral home and are encouraged to observe all precautions enumerated by the CDC in order to protect themselves and others. Memorials may be made to the “You’re Special” fund through CarePartners Hospice McDowell at 575 Airport Road, Marion, NC 28752. The family wishes to extend warmest thanks to all of the staff of CarePartners Hospice McDowell for the loving care extended to Mrs. Larsen in her final days. Thanks are also extended to the staff of Westmoreland Funeral Home for their help during this difficult time.
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