September 10, 1927 - January 3, 2022
BLUEFIELD - Wilma M. Larsen, a beautiful, classy woman, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother peacefully passed at 94 years and 4 months, handing on to family members a rich heritage of loving God, family, and music, and joining her husband of 69 years of faithful marriage. Named after her paternal grandmother, Wilhelmina (Frey) Junker, Wilma Minnie was the sole surviving child of six, weighing 4 pounds, birthed to Recka and John F Junker of Mountain Lake, Minnesota. As daughter of this innovative farming family, Wilma graduated at age 16 from Comfrey High School in 1944, performing on her Deagan marimba, “Glow Worm.” Early in her life, Wilma developed her love for music studying piano and marimba and beginning her teaching career to the community benefit of cousins and friends. She continued her education at North Central Bible College in Minneapolis, receiving her diploma in 1948, graduating from MacPhail School of Music with a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance in 1963. Wilma met Lawrence B. Larsen, a student musician from Staten Island, New York, while at North Central. Bud (as he was affectionately named by his sister, Alice) requested permission to marry Wilma through writing a letter to her parents. He felt that the letter of approval took forever to arrive! The family was gathered for a double birthday party for nephew Roger Thomassen and Mother Martha Larsen, where everyone except the Bride-to-be knew this was to become an engagement party. They were married June 8th, 1950, at the Assembly of God Church in Mountain Lake, Minnesota. A 2-door Chevrolet coupe, purchased with help from Dad Junker, allowed them to honeymoon in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Their first ministry position as Associate Pastor and Music Director was in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where daughter, Linda Darlene, was born in 1951. Soon the call came for L. B. to return to Minneapolis to teach at his alma mater, North Central Bible College. Following her love for teaching, Wilma who taught privately in Sioux Falls, also contributed by teaching piano and marimba at North Central Bible College and in her home studio in Richfield, Minnesota. Daughters Lois Doreen and Laurie Denise were born in 1955 and 1957 respectively. During these wonderful North Central years, Wilma performed and ministered on marimba and vibraharp with her husband, the Chairman of the Music Department and Director of the Evangelaires, a touring choir representing the College. Other opportunities to minister as a solo performer and orchestra member, came during the summer Family Camps at Lake Geneva Bible Camp near Alexandria, Minnesota. The Larsens became known for their musical interests, as inspiring parents nurturing their three daughters to develop, with Linda playing flute, Lois violin, and Laurie beginning on cello, later pursuing harp. The family performed together with L. B. and Wilma arranging many of their collaborations. Always at the foundation of their music and life was the desire to glorify God through the message and meaning of their songs. Wilma followed her mother’s footsteps in embroidery and especially as a seamstress, creating custom clothes for her daughters with a significant accomplishment of sewing the bridesmaids’ dresses for all three daughters’ weddings. She also enjoyed collecting recipes and insisted on scripture memorization to be quoted with expression. In 1970, the Larsen family moved to Springfield, Missouri, where L. B. accepted the position of Secretary (Director) of the National Music Department of the General Council of the Assemblies of God. Wilma found a musically rich community ready for her teaching expertise in piano, marimba, and vibraharp. Her many contributions included solo, ensemble, and orchestral performances for church and community occasions, and ministry with the Evangel College Woman’s Auxiliary. Wilma was a member of several professional organizations: Missouri Teachers Association, Springfield Area Music Teachers Association, Federated Music Club, American Guild of Piano Teachers, and Percussive Arts Society. In 1989, she was honored to become a member of the Society of Pi Kappa Lambda by the Epsilon Psi Chapter at Evangel College in Springfield, Missouri, where she had joined the Adjunct Music Faculty. In 1999, Mrs. Larsen was privileged to perform with the West Point Percussion Marimba Festival Orchestra, where 134 marimbas were on one stage. Wilma performed on her customized five and a third octave marimba, purchased in memory of her parents. Celebrating how special people were to them, L. B. and Wilma served many receptions and parties in their home, occasionally crafting color coordinated music mints to add a personal touch. Wilma’s culinary arts included hosting dinners for friends and family, bringing everyone together at long tables complete with matching tablecloths. Cookies or mom-made desserts were present at every meal. Years later, after the girls left home, the baking tradition expanded where large cannisters of Christmas Cookies and Chex Mix were mailed across-the-miles to family members, including annual cookie lists designating dedications to each child, grandchild, and great-grandchild as they joined the family. Following L.B.’s official retirement, Wilma added to the community by working 12 ½ years for Oxford HealthCare and by accompanying and performing with the Pioneer Praise Choir, directed by her husband. During this time, the couple made a publication of their musical arrangements printed in three volumes and recorded all 22 selections into a compilation, “Marimba Musings.” Born into a German family, the Junkers became members of the Assembly of God when Recka experienced a miraculous healing. The Larsen’s remained faithful to the Assemblies of God, as active participants with generous giving, supporting missions, and ministering in music while attending the Minneapolis Gospel Tabernacle, Central Assembly of God in Springfield, Missouri, and East River Church in Bluefield, Virginia. Filled with compassion for others, Wilma would offer to pray for people who were in need spiritually or physically. When her prayers were answered by God, it brought comfort. She leaves a legacy of giving her musical ability and her teaching talent, exuding peace and trust in God. God provided all she needed throughout her entire life. A scripture that she often quoted refers to perfect love casting out fear. (I John 4:18) “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” (Psalm 116:15) Family left to treasure her memory include her three daughters and their husbands, Linda and Marshall Flowers, Jr. of Bluefield, West Virginia; Lois and ER Freeman of St. Paul, Minnesota; and Laurie and Mark Muirhead of Pinehurst, North Carolina; five grandchildren, Luke and Jennifer Awes Freeman of St. Paul, Minnesota; Brett and Jessica Flowers of Stratford, Connecticut; JJ and Lindsay Flowers Koh of Madison, Wisconsin; and Alex and Amber Muirhead of Celina, Texas; and nine great-grandchildren, Ella, Grace, Lucy, Molly, and Betsy Flowers; Alice, Thomas, and Agatha Freeman; and Maylin Muirhead. Wilma was preceded in death by her five siblings, Fred (1924), Infant Daughter (1926), Infant Daughter (1930), Henry (1932), and Eva Darlene (1936); parents, John F (1988) and Recka (1965) Junker; her granddaughter, Rachael Rebecca Freeman Grudem (2005); and her husband, Lawrence Bendix Larsen (2019). The immediate family Committal Service was held at the Southwest Virginia Veterans Cemetery in Dublin, Virginia on January 12th at 1:00 PM. Family members will participate in a Zoom Celebration of Life. To view a video tribute to Mrs. Larsen, or share condolences with the family, please visit www.bailey-kirk.com. The family requests contributions be made to the Roger Thomassen and LB & Wilma Larsen Scholarship Fund, awarded by the Music Department at Evangel University, Springfield, Missouri. Designated contributions may be sent to the Evangel University Advancement Office, 1111 N. Glenstone Avenue, Springfield, MO 65802 or call Evangel University, 417-865-2815, Ext 7290, Advancement Office. Arrangements by Bailey-Kirk Funeral Home in Princeton. To view a video tribute to Mrs. Larsen, or share condolences with the family, please visit www.bailey-kirk.com.
BLUEFIELD - Wilma M. Larsen, a beautiful, classy woman, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother peacefully passed at 94 years and 4 months, handing on to family members a rich heritage of loving God, family, and music, and joining her husband... View Obituary & Service Information
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