Annabelle Petersen, 91, a Red Cross nursing official for 32 years, died of bronchial pneumonia Thursday at the Wisconsin Avenue Nursing Home.
Miss Petersen graduated from the Protestant Deaconess Hospital School of Nursing in Indianapolis. She was a private nurse from about 1910 until 1914, when she joined the Army Nurse Corps. She remained in the military until 1920.
She began her career with the Red Cross that year, running a program that brought nursing services to remote areas in Indiana and Kentucky. She came to Washington in 1924, and for the next eight years was assistant to the director of public health nursing in the old Washington division of the Red Cross.
From 1932 to 1938, she held a similar position in the Eastern area of the Red Cross. She was assistant to the national director of nursing services in the Red Cross until her retirement in 1952.
A year later, she received the Florence Nightingale Medal from the International Committee of the Red Cross. The award is made every two years and the number of recipients each time is limited to 36. Miss Petersen was the only American to receive the award in 1953.
Miss Petersen's later activites included the executive directorship of the D.C. League for Nursing from 1965 to 1970 and the presidency of the D.C. chapter of the American Association of Retired Persons in 1962. She was a treasurer to the American Nurses Association and served on various boards and committees of the Graduate Nurses Association.
She also was a member of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, the Indiana State Society, the American Association for the United nations, the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church and then Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church.
Miss Petersen was born in The Dalles, Ore. Her family moved to Muncie, Ind., when she was a child. She was educated at Indiana University at Bloomington and at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.
Survivors include a brother, David, of Pendleton, Ind.