GONE ELECTRIC – Skipper of the F/V Sunbeam, Fabian Grutter, unplugs the vessel from the Crescent Harbor dock prior to testing out a new electric motor Wednesday. The Sunbeam is the first  hybrid diesel electric fishing boat in Sitka. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Edith Joan Mork Dies; Longtime Sitkan was 85


Edith Joan Mork

Longtime Sitka resident Edith Joan (Max) Mork passed away peacefully in the early morning hours of September 25, 2018, at the age of 85 in Sitka.
Her son William (Gig) lovingly cared for her after the passing of her husband Raymond, and all of the way until she finished her journey.
Edith (Edie) was born February 6, 1933, in Sitka to Roscoe Ahlahk Max Sr. of Barrow, and Harriet (Newell) Max of Sitka. She was Inupiaq and Tlingit; her Inupiaq name was Sarana, Tlingit name Kaanal.aat, and she was Kaagwaantaan from the Eagle Nest House of Sitka.
Edie was raised in Sitka with her sisters Charlotte and Esther (Jeannie) and brothers Roscoe, Alden and Arthur. Her father was a Presbyterian pastor and together the family lived in the old neighborhood once called “the Cottages,” located off Lincoln Street near what’s now Sitka National Historical Park. She recollected in a journal entry how she enjoyed playing on the beaches in front of her house and along the banks of Indian River.
She later attended and in 1952 graduated from Sheldon Jackson Junior College.
After graduating, Edith moved to Pelican, to be a part of the new community and the establishment of its seafood processing industry. It was during this time that she met her future husband Raymond Mork. The two married at the Presbyterian Church in Juneau on June 18, 1954, after Ray was honorably discharged from service in the Marines during the Korean War.
When asked to share the story of how she and Ray found each other, she joked that they decided to marry because they were the only two left in Pelican who weren’t already married.
The newlyweds returned to Pelican where they lived and initially ran a fish packing scow in Deer Harbor. Together they raised their five children (Frederick, Marie, Raymond Jr., William, and Keith) while Ray worked various jobs including as a sawmill operator, fisherman and fish house worker for Pelican Cold Storage. In 1979, they relocated to Sitka, where Ray took part in the construction of the Seafood Producers Cooperative.
Ray and Edie had a deep love for and commitment to each other that provided them with 55 years of marriage, friendship and life together until Ray’s passing in 2009.
While living in Pelican, Edie enjoyed volunteering in the schools as a chaperone for school trips, ran the movie theater with her husband that was originally located in the “old Quanset Hut,” and coordinated a lot of youth activities to entertain the kids of Pelican.
Her house was always open to the kids of family and friends during the commercial fishing season. She shared many stories of having a full house of kids (over 13 under her roof at one time) and how much she enjoyed it and the lasting friendships she made with the kids, even after they grew up and became adults with families of their own.
She also served as a Tlingit & Haida Delegate for the community of Pelican where she quickly made many new lifelong friends and received the unofficial title of “Chairwoman of the Social Committee.”
Throughout her life, Edith held several jobs while raising her family, such as salmon roe processing, working at Vivi’s Restaurant and bartending in Pelican, and running bingo at the ANB Hall in Sitka.
She loved to play card games with friends, but never liked to lose. In her quiet time, she enjoyed reading, knitting and listening to music. (She even had a favorite play list ... Elvis Presley made the cut).
She also enjoyed watching the neighborhood children play from her dining room window, and every kid would always to wave to her as they passed by.
In her later years, Edith enjoyed drives at dusk in Sitka, walks out Starrigavan to collect artesian well water, catching up to her friends at the “bingo social club,” and visiting with family and friends. She also took special joy in her young grandchildren Kasiana, Raymond and Gus. Nothing was more special than the time she spent with them. She was also so very proud of her adult grandchildren.
She will be remembered by family and friends as a mother and grandma to many, for her love of life and good jokes, and her sharp sense of humor and wit.
She was preceded in death by her parents Roscoe and Harriet Max, brother Arthur Max, sister Esther (Jeannie) (Max) Anderson, husband Raymond Mork, son Raymond Jr. (JR) Mork, and daughter Harriet (Marie) Mork.
She is survived by her brothers Roscoe (Barbara) Max Sr. and Alden Max; sister Charlotte (Bill) Churchill; children Frederick (Michele) Mork, William (Gig) Mork and Keith Mork; grandchildren Randy Soderberg, Jamison Mork, Raeanne (Chris) Holmes, Jody Aubuchon, Kasiana Mork, Raymond Mork and Gus Mork; great-grandchildren Randy Joe Jr. Soderberg and Ocean Blue Reft; numerous relatives – cousin, nieces and nephews – and many children she adopted over the years, all whom she loved.

A memorial service is tentatively scheduled for 1 p.m. on Sunday, October 14, 2018 at the ANB Founders Hall in Sitka, with a potluck reception following the service. Side dishes, salads and desserts are welcome.
In lieu of flowers, condolence cards and donations in memory of Edith can be sent to The Family of Edith Mork, 108 Rudolph Walton Circle, Sitka, AK 99835.

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