Marilynn Nickol Heddell, 74, passed away at home in Anchorage on November 18, 2016 due to natural causes post treatment for tonsil cancer.
Marilynn was born in Cincinnati, Ohio on June 16, 1942. She first arrived in Alaska directly following the 1964 earthquake. She lived in Anchorage, Valdez, Cordova, Palmer, and Juneau before leaving state in 1970. She returned in 1981, and has since lived in Whittier and Anchorage.
In Anchorage, she was employed by the State of Alaska Judicial Services and eventually became the evidence custodian at the Department of Public Safety State Crime Lab. She retired from the state in 1987, and in 1988 she and her husband became the owners and operators of Honey Charters in Whittier, as well as owners and operators of Captain Cook Books and Gifts. They operated their businesses until retirement at the end of 2011.
Marilynn was very involved in her community, serving in Whittier as an original organizer of the Greater Whittier Chamber of Commerce becoming treasurer; as co-founder of the Prince William Sound Museum in Whittier; was a representative for the City of Whittier to the Prince William Sound Economic Development Council; was a representative for the City of Whittier to the Regional Citizens Advisory Council for 17 years; and with her husband, was a recipient of the Spirit of Alaska Award from the Alaska Travel Industry. She was a life member of the Fraternal Order of State Troopers, a member of Women of the Moose Anchorage Chapter 139, and spouse to a member of the Elks Lodge in Homer #2127.
Marilynn held a current USCG 100-ton master license of inland waters, OPUV near coastal with a commercial assistance towing endorsement. She was a master mariner and was enjoying the refit of her retirement vessel, "In the Mood," currently moored in Petersburg, Alaska. She was the author of two books, Journey of Dreams and Oscar...King of the Harbor. She enjoyed annual visits to Las Vegas and Hawaii and thoroughly enjoyed spending time with her family and welcoming her first great grandchild, Aaron Pankowski, second great grandchild, Peach Morrow, and was looking forward to meeting her third great grandchild, Riley Rhodehamel. Marilynn was a respected lady, loved and cherished by all with whom she had contact. She was a wonderful mother and for the past 34 years, the soulmate to her husband as they made their life together.
Marilynn is survived by her husband, Gordon Peter Heddell; children, Michael (Raina) Rhodehamel, Diane (James) Pankowski, Lisa (Rodney) Dial, Howard (Valerie) Hoy, Gregory Heddell, and Logan (Stacie) Rhodehamel; 16 grandchildren; three great grandchildren; her sister, Carol Mann of Ohio; two nieces, one nephew, and numerous extended family members.
There will be no formal service; instead there will be a private gathering on May 6, 2017 in Whittier to scatter her cremated remains in Prince William Sound. In lieu of flowers or other gifts, the family asks that donations be made in Marilynn's honor to the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. To learn how to donate please visit www.seattlecca.org.
Kehl's Legacy Funeral Home
11621 Old Seward Highway
Anchorage, AK 99515
Published in Alaska Dispatch News on Nov. 27, 2016