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Carolyn Bless Larsen, right, is presented the 2014 Betty Soper Historical Award from Betty Soper, Executive Secretary, at the Fall Dinner Meeting held on Oct. 26 at the Platte County R-3 High School
CAROLYN BLESS RECEIVES BETTY SOPER AWARD
Carolyn Ann Bless Larsen is the recipient of the 2014 Betty Soper Historical Award, which was presented at the Fall Dinner Meeting on Oct. 26. The award is presented annually to a member who exhibits outstanding accomplishment in preserving the history, architecture and genealogy of Platte County, Mo.
Carolyn was the first girl born into the Bless family in 50 years; she was born the same year her grandmother Bertha Bless was elected president of the National Women's Press organization. Carolyn is the mother of seven children and has 13 grandchildren.
As the oldest sister, she was a born leader and an inspiration. As an Army wife, she was both mother and father through most of her marriage. She and her family went through two Vietnam deployments, a stint in Germany and many state-side assignments before retirement in 1977. All the while Carolyn was involved with the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts, the PTA and countless school trips, concerts and plays.
When her parents decided to retire, Carolyn became the managing editor for The Weston Chronicle and saw it through change-over to offset printing. Never to be caught idle, she also took and taught EMT training for HELP, Inc., Weston's ambulance service, as well as going on ambulance runs whenever the need arose.
After the sale of the Chronicle, Carolyn filled her time with lots of civic work, including two terms as a member of the City Council. She helped revitalize the park system in Weston and was honored with the Raymond Dydell Award.
Using the degree in history she received from College of St. Mary's in Omaha, Carolyn worked as a Missouri State Archivist, helping communities and government entities preserve records and documents that had been left to rot in basements, gone through fires, or were just plain "too much to handle".
She is a member of Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Weston and has served as a lay person, a catechism instructor and a choir member, among others. And it has been this foundation in faith which has seen her through many years of health issues.
As the daughter of the co-founder and curator of the Weston Museum, Carolyn knows everything that is in it.
She provides genealogical information and does research for people doing family history formerly from Weston. She organized the first Cemetery Stroll, as a fundraiser for the museum, and then continued to chair the event for several years. She Chairs the Trivia Night fundraisers twice a year for the Weston Museum. She works closely with the Weston Chamber of Commerce. She is a past director of the Platte County Historical & Genealogical Society.
Carolyn has written several short books on Weston’s history, including “We, too, Lived”, a book about the history of the African American community of Weston (which is on sale in the display area today); “Meet me in Laurel Hill”, a book about the history of the families buried in the oldest cemetery in Platte County.
She recently worked to complete the Weston Business Histories, a lengthy compilation of every commercial building in Weston, dating from the earliest days in Weston to the late 1830s through today.
A co-volunteer of Carolyn’s said, “I am so thrilled that Carolyn is receiving this award! She is so very deserving. She works tirelessly on Museum projects and keeps the rest of us on track. She is responsible for making the Weston Historical Museum the outstanding facility that is.”
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