Martha Anagick Aarons, 58, passed away peacefully in her sleep on June 7, 2013 at her home in Anchorage, Alaska, after a more than two-year battle with Lou Gehrig's disease.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, June 12 at First Covenant Church, 1145 C Street.
Martha was born on June 26, 1954 to Betty and Lowell Anagick in a log house in Unalakleet, Alaska that had no electricity or running water. As a child, she loved to play outside with the other village children, camp upriver with her grandparents, and berry-pick with her family. She was a life-long avid learner and education was very important to her; too young to enroll in school, she asked her next oldest sister Joan to teach her everything she had learned in school that day. She attended school in Unalakleet until grade 10, and then moved to Anchorage during the school year to attend Dimond High School, from which she graduated in 1972. She graduated from Stanford University in 1976 with a bachelor's degree in economics.
Martha was proud of her decades-long work as a commercial fisherwoman, both in Bristol Bay and Unalakleet. She was an Alaska Native corporation leader, homemaker, volunteer and proud grandmother. She served on the Unalakleet Native Corporation Board for 27 years (six as President and 12 as Vice President), on the Bering Straits Native Corp. Board Director from 2009 to present, and was a Court Appointed Special Advocate for abused and neglected children until her illness forced her to stop. Martha was also selected as the Miss World Eskimo Indian Olympics queen in 1973. She was truly a kind, loving, compassionate person and was dedicated to serving others, especially those less fortunate. She continued to be generous with her time and resources up until the very end.
She was a motivated athlete, and exercised daily despite her illness up until a week prior to her passing. Her dedication to personal health continues to inspire her daughters Elizabeth and Sarah to pursue long-distance running. Her compassion for others, and for learning and education, inspires all three of her daughters and many others.
Martha's hobbies included traveling, berry-picking, fishing, dipnetting, clam digging, going to garage sales with her sisters, playing Sudoku, and collecting Alaska Native artwork. Her favorite quote was, "Judge not, lest ye be judged."
Martha was married to Dr. Charles Aarons for more than thirty years. As a loving couple, they traveled extensively throughout the world and shared a love of animals, owning several cats and a dog.
Her premature departure has left a void in her family's lives that will never be filled. Yet, she will be remembered for her grace, humor, beauty (inside as well as out), soft-spoken voice and loving, positive presence.
She is survived by her husband, Dr. Charles Aarons; her daughters, Elizabeth, Miriam (Joe Hegedus), and Sarah Aarons (Chris Ash); her mother, Betty Anagick; her grandson, Charles Aarons Hegedus; her sisters Rose, Dorothy, Ella and Gwen Anagick, Joan Johnson (Harry Jr.), Gail Schubert (Edward), and her brother, Edgar Anagick; and many extended relatives and a large network of friends.
Arrangements are with Janssen Funeral Homes.