By Almeda Girod
At age 102, Clara Larsen lives independently in her Hampton Square apartment and continues “a life of service for others.” She spends three evenings a week at Arbor Ridge visiting with residents in the dining rooms. Clara clips coupons to be sent to military families overseas. She participates in the Tuesday morning Bible study and making “Love Notes” monthly for every Arbor Ridge resident as well as staying active with daily 1 ½ mile walks and Wii bowling.
Clara was reared in New Castle County in Delaware in a faith-based home (Methodist) and recalls that her first Bible was purchased when she was seven, with a dollar given to her by her grandfather. Her father worked at Bethlehem Steel to support the family of four children.
She attended Beacom Business College in Wilmington before moving in 1935 to DC to work for the WPA. Charles, Clara’s future husband, had attended VPI in Blacksburg, Virginia, for a year and was now working at a grocery near Clara’s home to earn money to continue classes at George Washington University. He delivered groceries to her home and one night returned for a longer visit, and their relationship blossomed. Charles had a medical deferment, but did his service during World War II working as a mechanical engineer on sensitive projects at the Army Corps of Engineers and later with the Agriculture Department.
Clara had the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mother for her three daughters with an active life as a volunteer with PTA, Girl Scouts, and church (founding members of Holy Comforter Lutheran Church at Branch and Alabama Avenues, SE).
Charles and Clara retired from their DC home to Bethany Beach, Delaware, where they lived for 30 years. They enjoyed overseas travel and volunteer work with a senior citizen center, Meals on Wheels, and a thrift shop and Mariner’s Bethel United Methodist Church. Clara moved to Riderwood in 2003 after Charles’ death.
Clara is a role model for her daughters, five grandchildren, seven great- grandchildren, and friends at Riderwood. Thank you for your years of serving others.