Today's Obituaries and Guest Books
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Graff, Ray Juel*  
Ray Graff passed away suddenly, but peacefully, on May 20, 2016, in Anchorage, Alaska. He was born in Greenbush, Minn., on Sept. 19, 1953, to Ruben Manford Graff and Janet Hilda Graff (Hvamstad). Ray graduated from Haug Country School in 1971. After high school he worked for various fiber optic and construction companies. Ray had a heart of gold and he loved his children and grandchildren, playing softball, deer hunting, snowmobile racing, NASCAR, poker, the Minnesota Vikings and the Minnesota Twins. Ray was preceded in death by his parents, Ruben and Janet Graff. He is survived by his fiancee, Tina Stroman of Anchorage; brother, Roger Graff (Connie) of Anchorage; son, Jarrid Graff (Alicia) of Huron, S.D.; daughters, Janelle Graff (Chad Haas) of Sauk Rapids, Minn., and Sarah Myszewski (Joe) of Bloomer, Wis.; grandchildren, Tanner and Parker Graff, Justin, Jake and Alexis Myszewski; and nieces, Annie Howell (Graff), Helayne Callies (Graff) and Michela Graff. A celebration of life will be held in Alaska on June 26, 2016. Email kim@nickwahl.com for location details and to RSVP. Another service will be held in Minnesota. His ashes will be placed with his parents.
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Published in Alaska Dispatch News on May 26, 2016
Marcus, JoAnn G.*  
Joann Gerda Marcus, 85, went to receive her heavenly reward on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. Joann was born on Aug. 11, 1930, in Bremen, Germany. She met her first husband, who was stationed in Germany, and they were married before being transferred to the United States, where they lived at Fort Braggs, N.C. In 1960, they were transferred to Anchorage, Alaska, where she has lived and called home. In 1964, she married James Marcus. The two were always enjoying their weekends in Willow, Alaska, fishing and riding in their airboat. Joann worked at Pagoda's as a waitress and then at 5th Ave Laundry and Cleaners. Her love for travel brought her to work in the airline industry working for Reeve Aleutian Airways and Anchorage Travel until she retired. Joann loved spending time with all her friends and their family. She enjoyed traveling, gardening, reading and caring for her two beloved cats, "Mister and Missy." Joann lived her life to the fullest. She was born with a heart full of love, kindness, compassion and spirit. Strangers became friends and friends were taken into her heart like family. She is preceded in death by her husband, Jim Marcus. A celebration of life will be held on June 1, 2016, at the Salvation Army, 1701 C St. in Anchorage, at 6 p.m., with Burial to follow at JBER National Cemetery on June 2, 2016, at 3 p.m. Please line up at the main Fort Richardson gate at 2:45 p.m. for procession. Arrangements provided by Legacy Funeral Homes, Witzleben Chapel. To share word of comfort with the family, please visit www.legacyalaska.com .
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Published in Alaska Dispatch News on May 26, 2016
Rawson, Dreama Lea*  
Long time Alaska resident, Dreama Lea (Bies) Rawson, 51, died on April 25, 2016, at Alaska Regional Hospital in Anchorage, Alaska, after battling many health issues. Dreama was born on Sept. 7, 1964, in Milan, Mich., to John and Mary Bies. In 1977, at 12 years old, their family moved to Palmer, Alaska, where she lived and attended Palmer High School. Dreama married Scott Schaffer, then later James Hager and most recently Ken Rawson. She was involved in many local and world recognized charities and organizations. She helped people overcome problems with hunger, addictions and homelessness by being a part of AA/NA and ACTS Inc. Dreama leaves behind her mother, Mary Morris; sister, Pamela (Bies) Miller; and brother, Brett Bies; her children, Shawn Hager, Ralph Morris, Steven Williams, Royal Schaffer, Johnathan Schaffer, Jessica Schaffer and Briana Rawson; her 11 grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews. All brought her joy in life and will miss her very much. A viewing will be held on Saturday, April 30, 2016, at 10 a.m. at Legacy Funeral Homes Bragaw Chapel, located at 1707 South Bragaw St., Anchorage, AK 99508.
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Published in Alaska Dispatch News on May 26, 2016

Yesterday's Obituaries

Bell, Dorothy*  
Dorothy (nickname Aukneequat) Kuugaasiaq Nayokpuk Bell, 84, of Anchorage and formerly of Shishmaref, Alaska, passed away at Alaska Native Medical Center on May 18, 2016. A visitation will be held at Central Lutheran Church, 1420 Cordova Street in Anchorage on Wednesday, May 25, 2016, at 1 p.m., with a service to follow at 2 p.m. Dorothy was born on April 29, 1932, to Elmer Nayokpuk and Annie Koonuk in Shishmaref. She was baptized at Shishmaref Lutheran Church and a member at Alaska Native Lutheran Church. After finishing high school at Mt. Edgecumbe in Sitka, Alaska, Dorothy moved to Seattle, Wash. She worked as a grocery clerk at Safeway, then moved onto See's Candies of Seattle. While living in Seattle, she met RJay Bell. They married in July 1970 in Bellevue, Wash.; RJay adopted Dorothy's two kids, Robbie and Randy. They settled in a lovely home in Kent, Wash. During a trip to meet Dorothy's family in Shishmaref, RJay fell in love with Alaska. The next summer they moved the family to Anchorage to enjoy the outdoors, fishing and camping. Dorothy enjoyed camping, fishing, dip netting, berry picking and cooking for family and friends. She delighted in sharing her native food with extended family and friends. She loved cooking and baking for her sons and grandchildren. We loved those cinnamon rolls! Dorothy is survived by her two sons, Robbie (Pamela) Bell and Randy (Lisa) Bell; five grandchildren, Nicholas Ryan, Mikayla Marie, Samantha Morgan, Heather and Seymour; and her two sisters, Geraldine Kiyutelluk and Alma Mullins. She is preceded in death by her husband, RJay Bell; and the following siblings: Virginia, Holly, Walter, Warren, Lawrence, Roderick and Herbert. Arrangements are with Janssen's Evergreen Memorial Chapel.
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Published in Alaska Dispatch News on May 25, 2016
Bohlscheid, William T.*  
A real Alaska pioneer, William Toomy Bohlscheid, passed away on May 12, 2016, in Fairbanks, Alaska. He was born on Aug. 9,1934, in Pocatello, Idaho, as the first child to Harold and Margaret Bohlscheid. Bill was raised skiing, in fact, a sport that he enjoyed right up until 2014, at age 80! Bill attended grammar school, middle school and high school in Pocatello. He was drafted into the Army in 1958, and was assigned to the Cold Weather Mountain School (now the Northern Warfare Training Center) at Black Rapids, Alaska. At the school, Bill was an instructor of skiing, mountain climbing and river and glacier navigation, which he did until 1961. Bill was such a strong skier that he made the 1960 Olympic Ski Team. Unfortunately, he didn't compete due to his tenure in the Army. After his military years, Bill spent several years as a sporting goods salesman at a ski shop in Fairbanks owned by former state legislator, "Red" Boucher. He then moved to Ketchikan, Alaska, where he spent time rebuilding an old wooden boat, commercial fishing and bar-keeping. From there Bill got involved in the pipeline effort as a land surveyor. He talked of surveying the "Spine Road" on the North Slope by taking landmarks and walking ahead of the bulldozer. Bill continued surveying the pipeline corridor as the line was being built, until 1982. Beginning in 1980, Bill started a river boat service out of Willow, Alaska. He transported fishing enthusiasts to probable spots along the Susitna River and its tributaries, picking them up at the end of the day. He purchased a small cabin on Flat Horn Lake, which was approximately 55 river miles from Susitna Landing or approximately 45 air miles west of Anchorage, Alaska. He owned this lodge business until 1997, when he was forced to sell due to declining health and the remoteness of the area. In these years, Bill met and married his soulmate, Claudia. They moved to Delta Junction, Alaska, in 1998, where Bill enjoyed his golden years upgrading his home, river fishing, skiing and mowing his beautiful lawn (season permitting). Bill and Claudia moved to Fairbanks in 2015, just as Bill was battling his second round of cancer, feeling a need to be closer to medical facilities. Unfortunately, the second round was quickly followed by a third. Bill is preceded in death by his parents; and his brother, Hal. Bill is survived by his wife of 31 years, Claudia; and his daughters, Theresa Ramo of Texas and Christine Bohlscheid of California; as well as several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Bill requested that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Cancer Treatment Center or the Lung Cancer Society. A celebration of life is being planned for June 18, 2016, at his home in Fairbanks. For more information, call 907-456-1366.
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Published in Alaska Dispatch News on May 25, 2016
Branch, Kendall G.*  
Homer, Alaska, resident Kendall Gordon Branch was born in Cordova, Alaska, to Gordon Thomas and Eva Davis Branch of Chitina, Alaska. His grandparents were Harry Kendall and Mamie Bauder Davis, also of Alaska. In Kendall's early years, the family lived a subsistence and homestead lifestyle in the pre-statehood days, doing various things to bring in cash: farming, mining, building, running a roadhouse, playing music, trapping, running a feedstore and fishing, eventually settling in Homer in the early 1940s. Kendall's mother, Eva, remarried Stanley Nielsen, the son of one of Kachemak Bay's earliest homesteading families. Kendall graduated from Homer High School and joined the Army, where he learned his trade, surveying. After a stint in Hawaii building roads on the Big Island with the Army Corp of Engineers, he returned to Alaska. His long and distinguished career surveying all over what was to become the 49th state started in the early 1950s, with the Alaska Road Commission in their road construction efforts. Kendall's survey work is well known by his peers to be reliable, precise and meticulous. As one of his surveying peers, Jerry Anderson stated, "Ken had only one surveying standard, and that was perfection. He came closer to achieving that goal than most." Kendall was known for his love of fun, the outdoors, animals and his ability to accomplish so much. When not surveying, he could often be found working on his house or shop, skiing, hunting, building cabins, snowshoeing, preparing one of his hand-built boats for sport or subsistence fishing or clamming in Kachemak Bay or Cook Inlet. Ken was fun to be around, with his positive attitude, playful nature and can-do spirit. He was always a true gentleman, usually with a smile on his face and a funny story. Kendall is survived by children, Elizabeth McBride (daughter, Angela Pellegrino) of Anchorage, Alaska, Art Branch of Tacoma, Wash., Mike Branch of Fort Worth, Texas. Mimi Tolva (sons, Kyle and Ian Tolva) of Homer, Becky Horton (sons, Michael and Bryce Horton) of Soldotna, Alaska, Christopher Branch (daughter, Erika Galloway) of Homer, Melinda Patterson of Washington and Heidi Johnsrud (husband, Craig and children, Ashleigh and Gracie Johnsrud and Stephen Wortman) of Kenai, Alaska; and cousin, Suzi Nielsen Luzadder of Homer. He is preceded in death by stepson, Stephen Kohout; son-in-law, Mike Tolva; and wife, Nancy Branch. Services will be held at United Methodist Church at 770 East End Road in Homer on June 4, 2016, at 2 p.m. Kendall will be laid to rest at the family cemetery. If you would like to share a story or memory of Kendall, please send it to Mimi Tolva, Box 2117, Homer, AK 99603.
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Published in Alaska Dispatch News on May 25, 2016
Heery, Constance P.*  
Constance Pauline Heery passed away on April 21, 2016. She is survived by the Cowart family: son, Carl; wife, Diane; and grandson, Shaun; the Osborn family: son, Norman; wife, Susan; and granddaughters, Shirani and Brittany; the Miura family: daughter, Glorry; grandson, Stewart; his wife, Jen; and great-granddaughter, Tiana; the Cruden family: daughter, Jane; grandson, Darrell; granddaughter, Tara; and great-grandsons, Justin, Cayden, Camden and Teagen; and the Osborn family: son, Samuel; wife, Amber; and granddaughter, Riley. Services will be held on May 27, 2016, at 10:30 a.m. at the Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery, 535 East 9th Ave. in Anchorage, Alaska. Cards are welcome; however, the family requests no flowers, please.
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Published in Alaska Dispatch News on May 25, 2016
Murray, Jean K.*  
On Saturday morning, May 7, 2016, Mr. Jean Keith Murray Sr. peacefully passed away, at the age of 98, on his beloved homestead in Kenny Lake, Alaska. An original, Jean Keith Murray was born on his father's "Red Creek" ranch near Siloam, Colo., on Jan. 13, 1918, to Robert Perry Murray and Leona Ann Pratt. He grew up with older brother, Robert, and twin siblings, Francis Lyle and Virginia. The family suffered hardship during the Dust Bowl years of the 1930s, and was forced to sell the ranch and leave for California in search of sustaining livelihood. Young Jean, however, not wanting to leave Colorado, stayed on to finish school and work before finally in loneliness leaving to find his family. Soon after reuniting with family in southern California, he began working as a longshoreman in the city of San Pedro. He married Edna Calhoun in 1939, and the couple had three children: Janet, Keith and Alice. As a young father, Jean was drafted by his country into World War II and was stationed on Guam where he was injured while serving in the U.S. Army. Returning home to California after the war, he trained himself to become a plastering contractor, ultimately specializing in three-dimensional wall decor and sculpting unique artifacts such as cherubs, original furniture and lamp bases. He had a unique style of craftsmanship, and become a sought after artistic plasterer in the Los Angeles/Palos Verdes area. Jean worked on numerous unusual and iconic projects, including The Wayfarer's Chapel and the giant doughnut atop Randy's Donuts in Inglewood, Calif. His artistic interest led him to work with a famous Portuguese sculptor Agostinho Rodrigues, with whom he developed unique fiberglass artworks from original rubber molds. Buyers included Hollywood Studios and Caesar's Palace. Working alongside renowned sculptor Howard Ball, he completed the lifelike imperial mammoth at L.A.'s La Brea Tar Pits museum as well as many fiberglass figures for the opening of Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. During this time he was afflicted by severe grand mal seizures stemming from his war injury and lived a period of time at a Veteran's Hospital facility. He remarried twice more in California, fathering two more children: Sandy (Candice) of Una Eskesen and Robert N. of Patricia Montepiano. While he loved his children, Jean, in suffering epilepsy, felt continuing tumult from the increasingly chaotic urban southern California environment. He longed for the pioneer's life of his youth in Colorado, and for his survival, moved with his young son, Robert, to Alaska's Copper River Valley to homestead in 1968. Armed with little more than ax and Swede saw, he acquired 80 Alaska acres and became one of the country's last successful homesteaders. After many years, Jean had finally built a life suiting his soul: one of subsistence, one of resonance with his Colorado childhood. For shelter and a garage he initially built two primitive teepees out of knowledge of American indigenous shelter and financial necessity. Later, after building a log cabin, he began growing oats, barley and Canadian field peas on his 10-acre clearing. Comporting with homesteading requirements and needs, he acquired livestock, goats and chickens, from a fellow homesteader and quickly benefited from their suitability on the land. He produced goat's milk and cheese for personal use and as his herd grew, Jean came to be known as "Goat Man" as well as "Tee Pee Man." A voracious reader, he maintained a lifelong interest in the arts and sciences, particularly classic literature and astronomy. He designed and built several structures both on his property and in the surrounding community; Among these were fishing boats and many fish wheels, which he used to catch subsistence salmon from treacherous wild banks of the Copper River. Through his kindness of character, generosity in helping others and captivating human qualities, Jean became a beloved member of the small community of Kenny Lake, Alaska. He was also a terrific storyteller, but indeed some of the best stories heard are those that others love to tell about him. He was a true citizen of the earth, synonymous with the land where he lies at rest: honest, wild, original. A very loved man, Jean Keith Murray is survived by his children, Janet Colmerauer, Alice Guerra, Sandy Murray (Devitt) and Robert N. Murray; daughters-in-law, Susan Murray and Angela Murray; grandchildren, Andy Colmerauer, Crystal Leventhal, Jill Ostrom, Jeff Guerra, Chet Guerra, Robert Keith Murray, Leandra Murray, Autumn Murray, Hailey Murray, Elaine Merando, Kelsey Merando and Johnna Teuber; and great-grandchildren, Thomas Leventhal, James Leventhal, Tyler Ostrom, Jenna Ostrom, Gabriel Guerra, Kayden Swensen, Kynslee Swensen and Sacoya Calimon. Jean was preceded in death by his wives, Edna, Una and Patricia; brothers, Robert and Francis Lyle Murray; sister, Virginia Tucker; son, Keith Murray; son-in-law, Dennis Colmerauer; and grandsons, David Colmerauer and Trenton McCarthy Murray.
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Published in Alaska Dispatch News on May 25, 2016
Savovich, Angelina  
Angelina Savovich, 90, passed away on March 1, 2016. Angelina was born on Jan. 19, 1926. She will be laid to rest at Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery in Anchorage, Alaska, on Friday, May 27, 2016, at 2 p.m. Arrangements are with Janssen's Evergreen Memorial Chapel.
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Published in Alaska Dispatch News on May 25, 2016

Obituaries from Two Days Ago

Bielefeld, Robert "Bob"*  
Long time Kenai, Alaska, resident Robert Theodore "Bob" Bielefeld, 85, passed away on Thursday, May 19, 2016, at Central Peninsula Hospital in Soldotna, Alaska. Memorial services will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 28, 2016, at Star of the North Lutheran Church in Kenai. Pastor Corbie Cross will officiate. Bob's cremated remains will be scattered over Mt. Redoubt at a later date. Bob was born on Nov. 1, 1930, in Anaheim, Calif. He graduated from Anaheim Union High School and attended Orange Coast College. Bob served in the U.S. Navy for a year and then in the Naval Reserves for 2-3 years. He took a leave of absence from General Petroleum in 1955 to drive to Alaska, returning to California with a desire to move to Alaska someday. He moved to Kenai in December 1959, and worked for Coastal Drilling. Bob learned to fly beginning in 1958 in Chico, Calif. In 1961, he began flying as the owner/operator of Kenai Aviation. Bob taught many, many people to fly and issued several hundred pilots licenses as a designated Pilot Examiner. Throughout his career he traveled all over Alaska and even parts of the Lower 48. After he was not able to keep his pilot's medical certificate, Bob continued to work in his business, right up until the last week of his life. Bob was a member of Star of the North Lutheran Church. He had received the Kenai Chamber of Commerce Pioneer Award and was an "Alaskan Aviation Legend" in the Alaska Air Carrier's Association in 2015. Bob also served on the Kenai City Council in the early 1970s. He loved gardening, especially growing strawberries and tulips. Bob was preceded in death by his wife, Norma T. Bielefeld; and brothers, Edward, Richard and William "Bill" Bielefeld. He is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, James Bielefeld and Karen Hartley-Bielefeld of Kenai; daughter, Julia Bielefeld of Anchorage, Alaska; brother and sister-in-law, Arthur and Rose Bielefeld of Stockton, Calif.; and sisters and brother-in-law, Kathleen Smith of Fallbrook, Calif. and Elouise and Carl Andresen of Anchorage. Rather than flowers, please send donations to the Peninsula Food Bank or the Challenger Center of Kenai.
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Published in Alaska Dispatch News on May 24, 2016
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