Professor emeritus dies after a 19-year battle with breast cancer

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Betty Jane “B.J.” Larson file

Betty Larson was an award-winning professor, an avid traveler and the first woman to serve as Faculty Senate chair at this college.

Correction: The family asks for flowers in honor of Betty Larson’s love of flowers, or donations to Diamond Dachshund Rescue or Agape Ministry.

By Emily Garcia

egarcia1009@student.alamo.edu

Betty Jane “B.J” Larson, child development professor emeritus and former dean of occupational and technical communication, died Feb. 12 at 72.

Larson died of breast cancer and urinary tract infections, her husband Ron Larson said Feb. 17.

She battled breast cancer since 1998.

Betty Larson enjoyed traveling and never turned down an opportunity to see new places, Ron Larson said.

In November, the former dean broke her ankle during a trip to Israel with her husband.

“While she was in the hospital in Israel for her ankle, the doctors found the beginning of a urinary infection, and she just went downhill from there,” Ron Larson said.

Betty Larson started as a child development instructor in 1971 and was promoted to professor in 1986, Ellen Marshall, chair of early childhood studies, said.

She served as chair of the department from 1987 to 1996.

She took over as dean of occupational and technical communication from 1996 to her retirement in 2004, Marshall said.

In 1993, Betty Larson became the first woman to serve as Faculty Senate chair at this college.

Larson received numerous awards for her service at this college, such as the Child Development Associate Curriculum Award in 1992, the Faculty Service Excellence Award in 1993 and the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development Excellence Award in 1994.

The early childhood studies department dedicated a bench in her honor in 2004 in the playground of the early childhood studies building.

“Betty was using the term ‘student success’ before the colleges were,” said Vernell Walker, dean of occupational and technical education. “She was very personable, a good listener, students loved her, and people loved to be friends with her.”

She never complained about her illness, and traveled throughout many parts of Europe, Walker said.

Walker served as interim dean while Larson traveled, but Larson always brought back tokens of her travels for Walker.

She had the “happy gene” and left an impact on students and teachers with her supportive and outgoing personality, Marshall said.

“I was privileged to have her as my wife for over 50 years, and she was an angel on Earth,” Ron Larson said. “She never met anyone she didn’t like, and everyone loved her.”

Visitation will be 7-8 p.m. Feb. 21 at Porter Loring Mortuary North, 2102 North Loop 1604 East.

The funeral service will be at 10:30 a.m. Feb. 22 at Concordia Lutheran Church, 16801 Huebner Road.

She will be buried after the funeral service at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, 1520 Harry Wurzbach Road.

The family asks in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Diamond Dachshund Rescue or Agape Ministry.

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