Helen Alice Atwater (1948 - 2018)

Obituary
  • "So Sorry for your loss. She was a wonderful lady. She..."
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  • "To the Atwater Family. I would like to extend my..."
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    - Vicki Abeita

Helen was born in a plane over Lake Minchumina, en route to Fairbanks, Alaska, and passed away, at the age of 69, on Feb. 11, 2018. She was named after the midwife that accompanied her mother on the flight to Fairbanks. Helen had been battling cancer for the past two years, but she had been fighting it with her all.
Helen graduated from Mt. Edgecumbe High School in 1966, and was the salutatorian for her class. After graduating from high school, she attended Fort Lewis College for two years before beginning a long career with the federal government. She started out with the Public Health Service in Anchorage as a Timekeeper. She moved on to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, where she worked for 42 years. She started out in the education program, where she was involved in the "Student Movement." This involved arranging for travel of high school students from their home villages to Mt. Edgecumbe High School in Sitka, Alaska. Although, she had other duties, this is one aspect of her job that she thoroughly enjoyed. She went on to become a Probate Specialist, a Legal Instruments Examiner and finally ending her career as a Legal Administrative Specialist. She loved to laugh and loved a good joke.
Helen loved needlework, needlepoint, knitting and crocheting. She was a master at the art of Japanese Bunka, crocheting and knitting afghans, socks, gloves and sweaters. Her Bunka art was prized by anyone that was lucky enough to receive one of her pieces. She made beautiful quilts that are also prized and cherished.
But, most of all, Helen loved her Boston terriers. Later in life, she learned to love cats as well. She was preceded by her beloved Bostons, Snuffy, Peaches, Dixie and Molly; and her cats, JD and Waverly. She leaves behind her cats, Jasper and Willy; and Bostons, Georgia and Savannah.
Helen was preceded in death by her parents, Harding Dawes Atwater and Alice Atwater; and her brother, Steve Allen Atwater. She is survived by her long time companion, Scott Houk; daughter, Kristine Kienberger; granddaughter, Hannah Whipple (Cole); sisters and brothers, Jane Jimenez (Jim), Mary Sweeney, Rose Brady (Bill), Everett Atwater (Johnnie), Benjamin Atwater and Carol Atwater; and nieces and nephews, most notably, her nephew, Edward Atwater, who was her caretaker in the last year of her life and brought lots of humor in her final days.
Upon request, Helen requested to be cremated and that no services be held. In a quiet moment of reflection, the family asks that you think of a time that Helen brought a smile to your face. She loved animals, so donations can be made in her name to Friends of Pets.
Published in Anchorage Daily News from Feb. 25 to Feb. 26, 2018