Elizabeth "X’aakwu Haa’" Samato Martin (1913 - 2013)

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Lifelong Alaska resident Elizabeth Samato Martin died February 16, 2013, surrounded by her family. She was born October 16, 1913, in Killisnoo to Harry and Annie (John) Samato. She was a Raven Dog Salmon L'eineidi'. She was also very proud of her Japanese heritage. She moved from Killisnoo to Juneau in 1940.
Elizabeth was preceded in death by her grandparents David and Sophie John; parents Harry and Annie Samato; sisters Elsie Samato and Emma Licon; brothers Matsu and William 'Bill' Samato; husband Arthur J. Martin; and children Joan England and Arthur 'Rusty' Martin.
Elizabeth is survived by her cousin, Elsie Hughes (Juneau), daughter Darlene M. Tyson (Juneau) and her husband Bud, and children Missy, Ringo, and Derek; daughter Beverley Licon (Seattle) and children Lisa and Kevin; son Lyle Martin (Juneau) and his wife Diane, and children Donna, Randy, Brian, Lynn, Lynnete, Byron, Lyle Jr., and Kimberly; son Alvin F. Martin (California); and son Shane; son Harold J. Martin (Juneau) and son Aaron; son Dennis D. Martin (Wasilla) and his wife Tracey, and children Scott, Jeremy, Jami, Randy, and Trevor; granddaughter Tina Eckles and sons Jason and Nicholas; daughter-in-law MaryAnn Martin (California); and the Samato family of Angoon. She also leaves behind her cat Buster and her adopted dogs Charles, Tanner, and LittleMan.
Elizabeth was a kind, strong woman who was loved by many in her community and who was the matriarch of her family. She loved visiting with friends and family, who called her 'Gram'. She also enjoyed fishing, berry picking, and picnics. During her lifetime, Elizabeth volunteered with the Salvation Army, the Presbyterian Church, and the Alaska Native Sisterhood. She was a lifelong member of ANS, working diligently for her Camp for over 65 years, and receiving the Mildred Sparks Kooge'inna Award for Exemplary Service. She also belonged to the Juneau Tlingit Dancers and performed with them at many functions and Celebrations, and traveled with the group to various U.S. cities to perform. Elizabeth worked for many years for St Ann's Hospital as a nurses' aid in the surgical unit. She also worked at the Alaska State Museum. She retired from the U.S. Forest Service in her 80's, after working in the Federal Building for more than 20 years as the Region 10 Mail Clerk. Elizabeth attended Juneau Douglas Community College and was the 2005 recipient of the GED Hall of Fame award.
Elizabeth was an avid Elvis Presley fan and collected Elvis memorabilia. Elvis impersonator Archie Cavanaugh performed many of Elvis' hits at Elizabeth's 90th birthday party. Her most memorable trip was to Elvis' home, Graceland, with daughter-in-law MaryAnn Martin. It was one of many wonderful trips they shared together. Elizabeth's special friends include Irvin J. 'Ty' Tyson (Anchorage); Winston Toliver (Anchorage); Vern Hardin (Juneau); Robert Truett (Fairbanks); and Larry Riley (Juneau). Her adopted family includes Janet and Joe O'Malley, Sandie and Leroy Coon, Susan and Nico Bus, Melinda and Archie Cavanaugh, and Dee and Robert Pearson, all of Juneau.
A memorial service for Elizabeth will be held Sunday, March 17, at 2 P.M at the Tlingit and Haida Community Center at 3235 Hospital Dr. Juneau. The family can be contacted at P.O. Box 21246, Juneau 99802, or at 790-6652
Published in The Juneau Empire on Mar. 5, 2013
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