Merry Allyn Tuten, 58, passed away on July 22, 2012, in Houston, Texas, of leukemia. She lived in Alaska from 1976 to 1990. Retired at the time of her death, she enjoyed restoring historic buildings in Argentina with her beloved husband, Paul Schutt, painting, traveling, and exploring the outdoors.
Merry was born in Long Beach, California, on July 4, 1954, to Audley and Martha Tuten. She graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in environmental studies and earned an M.S. in Natural Resources Policy and Management from the University of Michigan. She attended the JETRO/MITI Japanese Business Study Program as a guest of the Japanese government.
Merry began her career in 1976 working for the University of Alaska Cooperative Park Studies Unit evaluating subsistence activities on the Alaska Peninsula. In 1978, she was appointed statewide Director of Land Management for the University of Alaska. She managed the university's real estate and natural resource assets and negotiated a landmark agreement returning management of its lands from the state to the university.
Later the governor appointed her director of Pacific Rim Relations to attract foreign direct investment in Alaska real estate and natural resource industries. As Executive Director of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, she helped guide the industry through the Exxon-Valdez Oil Spill aftermath.
During her 14 years in Alaska, Merry served on many boards and commissions. She was Vice Chair of the New Capital Site Planning Commission, a member of the Presidential Search Committee for the University of Alaska, and the first president of the Association of University Real Estate Officials (AUREO).
In 1990, Merry was appointed President of the Long Beach/Los Angeles World Trade Center Association of California.
In 1995, Merry and Paul moved to Latin America and the Caribbean where they lived and worked for 17 years. They studied Spanish in Central America (Guatemala, Ecuador and Costa Rica) and Mexico. They lived six years in Chile, three in The Bahamas, and seven in San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina, in northern Patagonia, which they consider their home.
Merry established her own consulting firm in 1996 and for 10 years advised clients, primarily Australian companies, about investing and doing business in natural resource industries .
Merry will be remembered for her love of Alaska, passion for adventure and lifelong commitment to helping friends. Perhaps more than anything, she will be remembered for her radiant smile, warmth of personality, zest for life, "can do – why not" attitude, sense of adventure and love of sport and the great outdoors.
She was deeply loved and will be greatly missed by her family and many friends around the world. Merry is survived by Paul Schutt, her husband of 35 years; sister Victoria Mobley, Redondo Beach, CA; in-laws Harry and Dolores Schutt, Avon Lake, Ohio; and sister- and brother-in-law Della and Jeff Homenik of Avon Lake, Ohio.
Family and friends plan to gather privately later in the year to celebrate Merry's life. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to help cure blood cancers (http://www.lls.org).
Published in The Juneau Empire from July 25 to July 27, 2012