Dorothy M (Vasaonja) Hildre (1920 - 2013)

  • "She was a Juneau icon, condolence to Linda and her son..."
    - Monty Compton
  • "Dorothy was such a wonderful person. Always a smile. She..."
    - Lianne Warner Coates
  • "Dorothy was a jewel and a great neighbor to my folks...."
    - Terry & Roger Shattuck

Dorothy was born December 8, 1920 at Cromwell, Minnesota. Her parents were Lawrence and Helen Vasanoja. She was one of five children; sisters Marcella, Pearl, and Maralyn and a brother Lawrence. The Vasanoja family was part of the larger Scandinavian community in Minnesota.

In 1935 the Vananojas' applied to take part in a program under the New Deal which aimed to take 200 families from the Mid-west and relocate them to the Matanuska Valley in Alaska. The Vasanojas' were selected and soon were sailing north from San Francisco on the St. Mihiel, an army troop ship. They settled in Palmer, where Dorothy attended high school.

At Palmer High School Dorothy was a member of the girl's varsity basketball team, a sport she said, "Loved basketball". She graduated in 1938 and that year she was selected as the first "Miss Matanuska Maid" and represented Palmer as such. Out of school she worked for a year at the hospital in Palmer saving enough to enter college in Fairbanks at the University of Alaska.

In college Dorothy majored in accounting and graduated with a degree in that field. While at Fairbanks, she met and dated a fellow student, Ed Hildre. They were married, December 12, 1942. When they graduated from college in 1943, Ed was called up to serve with the U.S. Army Engineers in the South Pacific during WWII. Dorothy and Ed were apart for 25 months while he was in the Philippines and then Japan after the war ended.

After the war, Dorothy and Ed continued in the construction industry eventually owning their own road building company. Ed was an engineer and contractor responsible for many road projects in Southeast Alaska. Dorothy was the company office manager and did the accounting work. When not busy with the company books Dorothy was caring for their three children, Peter, Linda, and Kenneth. The Hildres' spent most summers on Prince of Wales and Revillagegido Islands in remote construction camps. In 1951 they built a home in Juneau on Behrends Avenue and returned there for winters and the school year.

After retirement in the 1980's, Dorothy and Ed spent all their time in Juneau. Dorothy was an avid gardener. She always had a yard full of flowers, whether in town or out at their cabin at Tee Harbor. Dorothy appreciated the companionship of her sister-in-law, Jeanette Gould; they had adjoining property at Tee Harbor. They spent many a day gardening and landscaping their Tee Harbor properties.

Dorothy and Ed enjoyed travelling visiting New Zealand, Tahiti, Finland, Norway and Germany . For many years they owned a condo in Maui and spent time there in the winter. Dorothy was a member of a bowling team and traveled about the State to various tournaments. They were members of the Pioneers of Alaska and traveled to many conventions.

Dorothy and Ed were married 52 years, he passed away in 1994. Dorothy remained living independently in her Juneau home until she passed away July 12, 2013. Up until her final days Dorothy enjoyed family dinners and visits with friends.

At her request, no services will be held. As she wished, her ashes will be spread at the Tee Harbor area cabin she loved to visit with her family since 1949.

She was preceded in death by Edwin, her husband, in 1994. Dorothy is survived by sons Peter Hildre and Kenneth Hildre, daughter Linda Carson (Norm); grandchildren Tracie DeVere (Jeff), Tim Hildre, Tiffany Sturrock (Mike), Scott Carson (Amy), Kyle Carson (Brooke), Brett Hildre (Johanna), Hunter Hildre (Felecia), great-grand children Josh, Jacob, Michael, Eli and Lauren Carson, Tristan and Jamie DeVere, and Charmed and Taylor Hildre, sisters Maralyn Hartley, Marcella Hartley, and Pearl Jensen, and brother Lawrence Vasanoja as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

Donations may be made in Dorothy's name to Hospice and Home Care of Juneau.
Published in The Juneau Empire on Aug. 26, 2013
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