Julia Ward Person died January 21, 2014 at Providence Hospital. While chatting and laughing with her daughter-in-law, Lillian Person, Julia died of natural causes. Her family is grateful that she was not alone and her death was swift.
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Born in Malad City Idaho, Julia graduated with an Education degree from the University of Idaho. After graduation she answered a flyer advertising for teachers in the Territory of Alaska, and despite her family's fear that she was moving to the end of the earth she boarded a plane and came to Alaska in 1950. Julia taught English at the Anchorage High School in a Quonset hut on what is now the Park Strip. She met another teacher, Richard E. Person. Julia and Richard were married on November 22, 1951, a union that lasted until Richard's death on December 8, 2010.
Julia and Richards first home was a one-room cabin they built on two and a half acres alongside Rabbit Creek. Over the years, Julia and Richard built a larger home on the property. Like many couples in Alaska at that time, they built the house themselves out-of-pocket. This home has been the family gathering place of four generations. Richard and Julia lived on this property through-out their married life, and Julia was able to live there, surrounded by her flowers and family, until the end of her days.
Julia and Richard were proud to be part of the commercial setnet salmon fishery on Cook Inlet. They bought their first setnet site in Trading Bay in 1955. Despite the isolation, hardships and risks, Julia was an equal partner in the fishing operation, balancing the demands of motherhood and the danger and extreme challenges of commercial fishing.
In 1964 the couple bought a setnet site on the East side of Cook Inlet which they fished until they retired and their son Richard J. assumed operations where it is still fished every summer by Richard's family.
Julia taught school full-time until her third child was born and returned as a substitute teacher after all her children were enrolled in school. She later started her own business, Grandma's Playhouse Day Care.
Julia loved her home and her family, and enjoyed nothing more than having the generations of children around her. Over the last several years, her daughter Julia Ann came to live with her and care for her. Julia was always grateful for the visits from family, now in Budapest, Fairbanks, Mexico, and Homer.
Julia was preceded in death by her parents, Jesse and Delilah Ward (Idaho) and her siblings Delilah Commondourus (Michigan), Edith Whittaker (Sterling Alaska), Lucretia Therber (California), Jesse Ward (Idaho). She is survived by one sibling, her brother William Ward (Idaho).
Julia was preceded in death by her husband Richard E Person, and is survived by her son Ward E Person (Anchor Point), her daughter Julia A Person (Homer), her daughter Bernie D Person (Anchorage), her son Richard J Person (Chugiak), and her son James R Person (Budapest Hungary), along with 2 daughter-in-laws, 11 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.
Memorial services will be held March 9th at 1:00 p.m. in the Viking Hall in Anchorage.
Published in Alaska Dispatch News from Feb. 2 to Feb. 3, 2014