Verna Lee Heyano

Obituary
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Verna Lee (Nunn) Heyano, age 73, a lifelong resident of Dillingham, Alaska, passed away July 1, 2018, after a courageous fight against cancer. She was born in 1945, at Kanakanak Hospital, to Carl and Emma Nunn. Verna attended high school in Dillingham and began working in her teens. She held a variety of hospitality jobs throughout her life which allowed her to meet a vast number of people, whose remembrances include: "uplifting sense of humor," "so kind," "great loving lady," "big personality" and "voice and laugh unmistakable."
Her first job was at the Green Front restaurant in Dillingham. She was a nurse aide at Kanakanak and the Anchorage Medical Center of the Alaska Native Service, then worked for the Fisherman's Co-op and "old" N & N Market. Verna was married to John Heyano. They had two sons: Ronnie and Deanie. They divorced, but Verna remained close to many of John's additional 11 children. She continued to work while raising her sons, as a commercial fisherman, bartender for the Sea Inn and Willow Tree, head cook for the Dillingham School District, manager of the Dillingham Hotel, head of the laundry department for Peter Pan cannery and retiring, after 17 years, as manager for The Bristol Inn hotel, owned by Choggiung Ltd. Choggiung honored her as Shareholder of the Year in 2018, for her longstanding service. She shared 22 years with Willard "Bill" Gipson, enjoying their two granddaughters, Jessie and Kelly, until his passing. Verna wintered in California with her sons for several years, and never lost her interest in traveling to visit relatives, old friends and favorite casinos. She loved bingo and long sessions of rummy and pinochle.
Verna is survived by her sons; granddaughters; great-grandson, Athen Jensen; sisters, AnnaMay Sorenson and Ila Nunn-Evans; brothers, Charles and Lance (Lou Ann) Nunn; sister-in-law, Beryl Backford; and numerous beloved nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents; an infant brother; brother, Larry Nunn; and brothers-in-law, Ralph Sorenson and Glenn Evans.
Honoring her wishes, Verna has been cremated. A celebration of life will be held at the Dillingham Bible Fellowship on July 18, 2018, at 12 p.m., with a potluck to follow.
Published in Anchorage Daily News from July 13 to July 14, 2018