Dora Maria Larsen

May 12, 1937 - February 05, 2023

Dora Maria Larsen

May 12, 1937 - February 05, 2023


Dora Maria Larsen passed away in Bellingham on February 5th, 2023, at the age of 85 with family by her side.

Dora was born in Managua, Nicaragua May 12th, 1937. She is the eldest daughter of Francisco Estrada and one of four children (Dora, Ronald, Lea and Rene) born to their mother, Angela Carroll.

Growing up Dora was very ambitious. She wanted to do everything the boys could do. She was the first daughter to graduate from high school.  After completing high school at Colegio Bautista Managua, her father wanted her to study Chemistry. She studied for one year in Costa Rica however she knew deep in her heart she wanted to be a nurse. Dora worked and saved money for a plane ticket.  At age 19, she informed her father she was emigrating to the United States to pursue her dream to be a nurse.

On March 15th, 1957, she arrived in Los Angeles with $20 in her pocket.  She found work and studied the English language. After working hard and learning English, she completed necessary requirements to be accepted into the nursing program at California Lutheran Hospital School of Nursing.  Dora completed her certification on August 21st, 1961. Dora pursued further education and completed her Bachelor of Science in Nursing on August 1st, 1968 at California State College in Los Angeles and became a board certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner on December 30th, 1981.

While pursuing her nursing degree she met William “Lars” Larsen. Dora and Lars married on February 11th, 1961. As Dora completed her studies, they began their lives together and started a family. February 13th, 1963, Lars and Dora were expecting their first child and were surprised with twins.  Jan Marie and Elsie Maria were born followed by Marcus Herbert on May 23rd, 1966, and Julie Ann on March 21st, 1969.

Dora worked in several hospitals in California until 1971 when the family moved to Raymond WA, then Bellingham WA and they eventually purchased a farm in Ferndale WA in 1974.  After several years working in hospitals Dora landed her dream job working for the Bellingham Health Department as a Public Health Nurse serving the public by conducting basic health and immunization clinics and home visits. After 10 years of service in Bellingham, Dora served the last 15 years of her career working at the Skagit Health Department.

Dora decided to retire early, said “she wanted to help raise her grandchildren”.  After retirement she spent time as a Spanish Translator for the medical community and volunteered at local schools to help children with a language barrier and those who wanted to learn Spanish

Dora enjoyed traveling. Over the years she traveled several times back to Nicaragua to visit family. As her grandchildren grew, she made sure to take them travelling with her and expose them to the culture that she and her brothers and sisters grew up in. Dora placed a high importance on education and encouraged her grandchildren to attend school and learn Spanish while visiting Costa Rica during their summer vacations.

Dora especially enjoyed traveling to France to visit her adopted exchange student family. The Gignoux family – Murielle, Alex, Oksana, Guillaume, and Eloise. She loved the challenge learning the French language and enjoyed everything the French culture had to offer – especially the bread! She considered herself the original “Dora the Explorer”.

Dora had many other passions that she enjoyed. She loved weeding in her flower garden, running marathons, hiking, century bike rides, cross country skiing, dancing. She loved bird watching, collecting leaves and rocks and of course enjoying a home cooked meal with friends and family.

Dora discovered a love for books when she was young. She was a lifelong learner she enjoyed sharing and reading books. She was fascinated with history books.  Her legacy will be remembered that she shared her love for learning with everyone she encountered.

Dora had a faithful relationship with Jesus. Her devotion to Christ showed through her kindness, love, patience, generosity, caring and nurturing of friends, family and even complete strangers. Her weekly highlight was attending church.  Dora loved writing scriptures on notecards and sharing them with family and friends.

Dora was a dedicated daughter, sister, mother, grandmother and aunt. She always emphasized the importance of being joyful, patient and faithful (Romans 12:12). She instilled strong values that influenced her children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews that has followed them throughout childhood and into adulthood.

Dora is survived by her twin daughters Jan Larsen and Elsie Hazlett, son-in-law Scott Hazlett, grandchildren Nicole Burbank, Brandon Burbank, Clark Hazlett, Kimberly (Hazlett) Peters and husband Christian, sisters Lea and husband Harvey Conrad, Mirian Estrada, brothers Ronald Estrada and wife Nidia,  Rene Estrada and wife Adelia, Donald Estrada, cousin Daisy Campbell, brother-in-law Monroe Hermes, nieces Katherine, Liz, Lisa, Nancy, Angie, Lety and Oneyda, nephews Eric, Marc, Steve, Wil, Ronald Jr, Rene Jr, Ivan, Alex and many, many more extended family brothers, sisters, cousins, nieces, nephews, grand-nieces, and grand-nephews.

Preceded in death by husband Lars, son Marcus, daughter Julie, mother Angela, father Francisco, brother Francisco Jr. (Ponchito), sister-in-law Carol Hermes and brother-in-law Bill Ahrens.

Memorial donations in lieu of flowers can be made to the Juan Pablo II Specialized Technical Institute in Managua, Nicaragua (

Memorial Service

  • Date & Time: March 03, 2023 (1:00 PM)
  • Venue: Northlake Community Church
  • Location: 1471 McLeod Rd. Bellingham, WA 98226 - (Get Directions)

Juan Pablo II Specialized Technical Institute

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3 responses to Dora Maria Larsen

  1. Dora was a wonderful person and role model. I’ll never forget that she encouraged me to join Elsie’s ski to sea team. Then she drove us to the start line and later, back to town to celebrate!

  2. I worked with Dora at Skagit Health Dept. She was a dedicated nurse with the warmest heart! I really enjoyed her live for others and will never forget her. I talked eith her a lot after her retirement. Hugs to all her family.

  3. Dora was like a second mom to me from the early 80’s to my early high school years. I have many great memories of sleepovers at the Larsen Farmhouse in Ferndale. Dora was always busy studying. Jan & Elsie my big sister role models (I never had sisters) & Julie my best buddie. A beautiful, loving, encouraging family. My heart is with your family.

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