LOOKING AT PATHWAYS – Pacific High School freshman Virginia Lestenkoff, right, wears a police utility belt as she talks with Alaska Public Safety Academy Corporal Jonnathon Stroebele during the Pathways to Success Career Fair at the Sitka Cloud Teen Center Monday. Dozens of students attended the fair which was held as part of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day observation in Sitka. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Mable Didrickson

Services are pending for longtime Sitka resident Mable Didrickson, who passed away peacefully on Jan. 3 in Anchorage at the age of 100.
Mable was born to Anne (Johnson) Jones and Phillip Jones May 27, 1911, in Sitka. She married John Didrickson and raised their six children here.  Mable’s Tlingit name was Heex’e and she was of the Deisheetaan clan.
Mable worked for many years at the Sitka Pioneers Home before retiring and spending more time with her grandchildren. She was a life member of the Alaska Native Sisterhood, Camp 4 of Sitka.
Mable most enjoyed her time with her family. She also loved to gather, prepare and eat all the traditional Tlingit foods. One of her favorite pastimes was playing bingo, but many in the family felt it was more the chance to see her friends and visit. She moved to Anchorage in 1997.
Mable was proceeded in death by her husband John Didrickson, son John Didrickson Jr., daughter Janet (Robin) Staffenhagen, grandson Larry Mark Judy,  and grandson Skyler Eugene Staffenhagen.
She is survived by her daughters, Joni Lewis and her husband Fred of Anchorage, Chris Judy and her husband Larry of Big Lake, and Jewel Didrickson of Anchorage; and son Clyde Didrickson of Juneau.
She is also survived by grandchildren Larry Garrity of Washougal, Wash., Dawn Brady of Enumclaw, Wash., Heather Zaputil of Tacoma, Wash., Vince Judy of Sitka,  Jon Didrickson of Juneau, Charlie Ann Staffenhagen of Kathleen, Ga., Jana Zaputil of Puyallup, Wash., Roman Judy of Sitka, Chasady Didrickson of Sitka, and Dustin Zaputil of Enumclaw. She is also survived by many great-grandchildren.
Mable lived a long and incredible life filled with family and friends.  She was a very strong lady growing up at a time where there were no modern conveniences in a home of 13 brothers and sisters. Up until she moved into the elderly housing, she would cut her own firewood and pack oil up her steps to pour into a day tank to heat the house that she and her husband built for their family.  She refused to let anyone help her, because she said that is what keeps you young.
She enjoyed her walks, preferring to walk then to take a ride. She would walk regularly through Totem Park to visit her grandkids while enjoying the scenery.
“We were all blessed to have her in our life for so many years,” her family said.  “She was a beloved granddaughter, daughter, sister, wife, aunt, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Although she lived a long life, she will be remembered with love and fondness for her ready smile and wisdom and will be missed every day.”
The family expressed appreciation  to the staff of the Pioneers Homes of Sitka and Anchorage for their care of Mable during the latter part of her life.
“We thank you for making these final years as comfortable as possible while treating her with kindness and respect,” they said.
The family suggests in lieu of flowers that donations be made to Alaska Native Sisterhood Camp 4.

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