ACADEMY GRADUATION – Governor Mike Dunleavy shakes hands with graduates at the Alaska Department of Public Safety Law Enforcement Training Session 1902 graduation ceremony this afternoon at the Sheet'ka Kwaan Naa Kahidi. Twenty-six law enforcement officers from across the state received their badges in the ceremony and will be taking jobs as Alaska State Troopers, a Wildlife Trooper, and city and borough police department officers.  (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Morgan Rowan Daniels

Morgan Rowan Daniels

Losing someone you love is not something one easily gets over. They’re gone, you grieve.  You love them, think of them, miss them and wonder what your life would be like if they were still alive. It’s been over a year since her death and finally, I can sit down to write an obituary for my daughter, Morgan Rowan Daniels of Columbus, Georgia.
Morgan’s birth name was Rachel Marie Cropley. She was born and raised in Sitka, the daughter of Alice C. “Abby” Cropley. She was Tlingit, Yeil (Raven), T’akdeintaan (Sea Pigeon) and of the Kaa Shaayi Hit (Severed Head House).
Even before she was born, Rachel spent a lot of her time in her Grandma’s restaurants. When she was two, she would march up to a table with a notebook and confidently tell the customers what they would like to order and pretend to write the order down. She was ready to run before she could walk. We would often find her chatting with a customer and discussing books or news.
Rachel was active, awesome, beautiful, beloved, dedicated, competitive, demanding and independent. Rachel was an original.  Her great-grandmother, May Molly Moy, and her friends spoke Tlingit around us. They would chuckle and call Rachel ‘dell lummut.’ I had to laugh when I finally realized Grandma wasn’t speaking Tlingit.  She was saying “Rachel was the limit.”
Rachel loved the water and swam like a seal. One time (to her instant regret) she jumped into the freezing Pacific Ocean in winter. I swear, we didn’t see how she got out of the water, yet it seemed seconds later… she shot up into the air and landed standing on the dock. After that, she was a bit more cautious of winter swimming.
 When she was young, we spent a lot of time boating, camping, swimming, beachcombing and hiking. Almost always active, Rachel liked her quiet time, too. She would wander by herself on island beaches then sit down where deer would walk right up to her, only inches away.
Rachel was persistent and impatient in her quest to be an adult. She wanted independence. When she was 16, Rachel was granted emancipation. She moved in with her Grandma Mabel, continued with her education and had a job at the theater.
Rachel graduated from Sitka High School with honors in 1990. She enjoyed discussion, debate, news, politics and the study of government processes. She applied for and won a Summer Internship in Washington, D.C., with Sen. Ted Stevens and the U.S. Senate, 101st Congress in the summer of 1990. She loved her time there.
Rachel was patriotic and wanted to serve her country. She joined the Navy in 1992. Her basic training was in Orlando, Florida, and she served and was injured during the Persian Gulf War, in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
Rachel married and divorced. She  remarried July 1, 1995, and had two children, Eve and Hunter.
Rachel attended DeVry Institute in Kansas City 1995-96; DeVry in Phoenix 1996-97; and the Art Institute of Phoenix in 1997-98.
In 1999 she moved back to Sitka to be near family. Her children were her main focus and she wanted them to always have confidence and to believe in their abilities. Rachel was creative and intelligent and following her Grandma Mabel’s example, she would put her hand to anything: artistry, construction, design, crafts, small business and more.
Focused on creating the future she dreamed of, in 2006 she and the kids left Sitka. She redefined her life, changed their names and followed her dreams.
She spent her adult life fighting the effects of her service injuries, and the added toll it took on her health was too much to bear. Morgan’s strength and her heart gave out on Aug. 14, 2016. At age 44, at a Cardiac Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama, Morgan passed away peacefully with her daughter and friend at her side.
Morgan was preceded in death by her grandparents, Ida and Morris Brown Sr.; Ivan and Pearl Rezek; and Alton “Ike” Cropley. Her grandmother Mabel Moy passed away this August.
Morgan is survived by her daughter and son, Evelina and Hunter Daniels of Columbus, Ga.; her parents, Abby and Alvin, and her dad, Buzz Brown of Sitka; sister Tamsyn Cropley of Sitka; uncles and aunts, Delores “Laurie” Cropley of Wasilla, Alton “Sonny” (Jo) Cropley of Sitka, Michael Cropley of Tennessee, Patti (Bill) Crossen of Montana, Craig Keener of Wisconsin, and Kathy McGraw of Washington, and Flora Ouellette of Oregon; and cousins Patrick, Walter, Paul and Raino Hill; Chris, Tyler and Megan Cropley; Michelle Bruce; Alicia Pasterski; Nikki Carson; and Charles, Jonathon and Stewart Ouellette.
Her friends, who were dear to her and were the family of her heart, were Melissa Baggen Turvey, Angela Murphy, Stephanie Weddell and family, the Melody and Ron Owens family, Amanda Parker, Tammy Hands, Kia Jackson, and many other friends and family too numerous to list.
Morgan was cremated and a celebration of her life was held at her favorite park in Columbus, Ga., on Sunday, August 21, 2016.
A memorial with U.S. Navy funeral honors was held at Sitka National Cemetery, Oct. 14, 2016 and Morgan Rachel Cropley Daniels’ ashes were placed. As the service ended, two deer came out of the woods, walked over to where her ashes were to be buried; then turned toward us, unafraid and slowly checking us out. They stopped in front of us for a moment. It was as if they were saying, “Morgan, I know you… you’re from the cove by the ocean. Come. It’s time. Walk into the forest with us.”
Dear daughter, no longer in pain; rest in peace. God has you in his keeping. We’ll keep you in our hearts.
Cards sharing memories and condolences can be sent to Abby, or Eve and Hunter Daniels c/o Abby Cropley; at 2010 Kainulainen Drive, Sitka, AK 99835.

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