FIT FOR DUTY – Thirty-seven recruits graduating from the Alaska Department of Public Safety Training Academy's Law Enforcement Training Session 1802 take the oath of office this afternoon at the Sheet'ka Kwaan Naa Kahidi. The audience was told that during the rigorous 16-week session recruits lost a combined 200 pounds of body fat. The graduates will be taking law enforcement positions around the state from the North Slope Borough Police Department to statewide Alaska Wildlife Troopers to the Ketchikan Police Department. Speaker at the ceremony was DPS Deputy Commissioner William Comer, who graduated from the academy in 1985. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Irene Williams

    Irene Mason Williams, a former Sitka resident, died Dec. 25, 2011, in St. Louis, Mo. She was 91.
    She was born July 9, 1920, in Shaw, Miss., the third child of John and Drucilla Mason.
    The family moved to St. Louis when she was young. She graduated from Sumner High School there in 1940, and attended Lincoln University, graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in English literature. Afterward she received a degree in speech therapy at St. Louis University.
    In St. Louis, she was a mentor with the Young Women Christian Association, in which she used her talent as a speech therapist to help children with speech difficulties.
    Ms. Williams was politically active, and worked as one of the original members of the St. Louis Chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality. She, along with others, started the integration process of blacks into public accommodations in St. Louis.
    She lived in Sitka, with her sister, Clothilde Bahovec, for 40 years. The two were involved in many community activities, and she organized a Shakespearean festival here. She was a longtime member of United Methodist Church of Sitka, and the Unity Christ Church in St. Louis.
    As an explorer and adventurer at heart, she moved and lived in many places. She worked for the St. Louis County public schools as a speech therapist. Later she moved to Alberta, Canada, and then to Denver, Colo. In Sitka she continued and later retired as a speech therapist.
    Ms. Williams was preceded in death by her mother and father, John and Drucilla Mason; her brother, John Mason; and her sister, Clothilde Bahovec.
    Survivors include her nephews, John Mason (Amanda) and Leon Mason; nieces Drucilla Wilson and Irene Mason; cousins Dr. William Gibson, Dr. William Woods, Dr. Jerry Anne Woods, and Mrs. Milgret Woods; and many other relatives and friends.

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