Retired Missionary to Africa Dies

Mrs. Margarete Anna Larsen, retired missionary to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, entered the Lord’s presence on March 24, 2010, in Deland, Florida. She was 91 years old.

Margarete, known to her friends at the Alliance Retirement Community as “Gretta,” was born into a Christian family in Stuttgart, Germany, on November 1, 1918. At the age of 21, she resigned from and renounced the Hitler Youth and immigrated to the United States, becoming a naturalized citizen.

Margarete enrolled in the Missionary Training Institute (now Nyack College) in Nyack, New York, in 1940 and married fellow student Norman J. Larsen after graduation. Together they took on pastoral duties for churches in Fredonia, New York; and Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, in preparation for foreign missionary service with The Christian and Missionary Alliance.

In 1947, they were appointed to the former Belgian Congo (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) where they served for 21 years, building two new mission stations, establishing numerous schools, and developing the African Bible Institute for national pastors. During the revolutionary violence of 1960, when all Europeans were advised to flee the country, the Larsens were the only missionaries to remain in their district under the protection of the local church. 

In 1968, they returned to the United States due to Margarete’s health issues. Norman enrolled in Simpson College and the University of California, Berkeley, to complete his certification in social services. Margarete continued in a supportive role to Norman’s chaplain/counseling ministry with the Salvation Army’s social services outreach, serving in Oakland and Santa Monica, California.

Norman and Margarete retired in 1980, living in Salem, Oregon; Brea, California; Boone, North Carolina; Bradenton, Florida; and Deland, Florida, until Norman’s passing in 2005. 

To the end of her life, Margarete practiced her linguistic skills and kept her mind sharp by reading her German, French, and English Bibles every day. Margarete is survived by her sons Timothy Larsen of Las Vegas, Nevada; and Lance Larsen of Poughquag, New York; her daughter Marian Samson of Danville, California; five grandchildren, and five great grandchildren.


Get Involved...


We cannot “Live the Call Together” unless prayer is central to all we do.
Pray with us »


Is God calling you to service? We’re here to help you connect your passion with God’s purpose.
Serve with The Alliance »


Help build Christ’s Church by supporting the ministry and workers of The Alliance.
Give today »