Lily Elizabeth White, L'Gaisk, was born to John Chester (JC) and Eliza Johnson (Dalton) in Excursion Inlet, August 6, 1925. She died in her home on November 7, 2012, in Hoonah Alaska.
Lily was an Eagle, Chookaneidi' of Naanaa Hit (Upper Inlet House). She was child of the T'akdeintaan and grandchild of the Kaagwaantaan. Lily lived her life as a clan instructor and guided her people in cultural heritage. She was very proud to have been of Glacier Bay and her heart was there to her dying day. Lily is a cherished clan instructor who had immeasurable and invaluable knowledge. In her culture, she was a song bearer and respected educator. She traveled to New York, Washington DC, the University of Pennsylvania and to the Smithsonian to identify artifacts. She lobbied for these trips to happen, she said, "All these things have a spirit and are longing to come home." She taught Tlingit Language at the University of Alaska Southeast, Juneau. She was an Integral part of the Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative, where she participated in developing curriculum in the classroom. Many materials were developed which are still utilized today. She went on many educational trips to Glacier Bay. She was valued by Sealaska Corporation and Huna Totem Corporation. Tom Thorton, a respected author, interviewed Lily in her home and utilized her information in his book about Glacier Bay. She is respected by individuals of the many paths she crossed during her undertakings.
Lily is survived by her husband Jacob White Sr.; daughters Jacqueline A. Gray, Victoria Watkins, Martha Chanell, Annajo Mercer, Rachel Mercer. Cousins Mary Rudolph and Jacqueline Martin; sons Jacob White Jr., Randall Johnson, Ernest Hillman Jr., and Oliver Hillman; Sister Mabel Lawrence; and numerous grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents, sons Joseph White Sr., Irving White, James White (died in infancy) and James Anthony White; daughter Sharon White (died in infancy); nephew John Hinchman, Jr.; niece Janice Ann White; and in-laws Annie and Joseph White.
Pallbearers: Wilbur "Jumbo" James Jr., Eric Morrison, Michael Knudson Jr., James Knudson Jr., Ernest Hillman lll, John I. Hillman, Robert Starbard and Brian James Honorary Pallbearers: Herman Davis, Paul Rudolph, Marlene Johnson, Ruth James, Lillian Hillman, John Martin, Kenneth Grant, Ethel MaKinen, Loretta Ness, Wilma Bacon, Jerry White Sr., and Debbie Picken
Published in The Juneau Empire from Nov. 13 to Dec. 12, 2012