Fairbanks resident Betty A. Robinson, 74, died July 8, 2013, at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, surrounded by family and friends. She had been struggling with diabetes and had suffered a stroke.|
Betty was born on March 4, 1939, in St. Louis, Mo., as the fifth of six children to Earl and Juanita Robinson. She received her education from St. Bridget's Catholic Elementary School and Rosati-Kain Catholic All-Girl's High School. Betty left St. Louis in 1961 to escort her 1-year-old nephew, Clarence II, and 2-year-old niece, Astara Sharyn, to join their mother, Betty's sister, Carol, and their dad, Navy ET Clarence E. Goward, at Moffitt Field Navy Installation in California.
Upon her arrival in California, Betty and Carol launched a vigorous and successful campaign to get their parents to move to California. Betty then moved with her parents to Altadena, Calif., and sought work in Los Angeles, eventually finding work in 1966 with Richfield Oil Company, which later became Atlantic Richfield Oil Company.
ARCO sent Betty to Alaska in 1975 on a three-year loan to Alyeska Pipeline Construction Company as a Field Project Auditor during the construction of the trans-Alaska pipeline. She stayed in Alaska and made her home in the Interior.
Betty's talent and skills were many and varied. She attended Pasadena Community College, Pepperdine University and the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Arco provided her with extensive management and computer training during her almost 10 years in their employ. She learned welding, carpentry, plumbing, plus many other skills necessary for her job and to maintain her home. She took automobile mechanic training at Hutchison Career Center in order to maintain her own vehicles.
As an entrepreneur, Betty operated a gift shop in the Wedgewood Manor complex, a bed and breakfast for 11 years and a hostel for five years. She designed and made clothes both in California and Alaska. Through her company, Alaska Northern Enterprises, she engaged in several endeavors that allowed her to continue to live in the land that she so loved.
Betty experienced great joy learning to fly as a private pilot, an adventure she dearly loved. She enjoyed the sports of tennis, racquetball, Alpine and Nordic skiing. Outdoor adventures included whitewater rafting.
Betty always said her biggest regret was not experiencing the joy of being a wife and mother. She was a deeply spiritual person with a deep belief in God and his angels. She will be remembered for her ability to aid and assist others through her insight and caring. She will also be remembered for her writing. She had many stories about her family, and several other articles published in books and magazines. She loved writing and enjoyed the company of the members of the Fairbanks Community Writers Group.
In addition to many places in the United States, Betty traveled the world extensively many times over, visiting such places as England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Mexico, Australia and her favorite place, Tasmania. It was through her B & B that she met many of the friends from those countries who encouraged her to visit.
Betty is preceded in death by her parents, three brothers and two sisters. She is survived by her beloved nieces and nephews, Astara Sharyn Briski, Staci Goward Jordan, Clarence Eugene Goward II, Alexis Jon Goward, and Allen Michael Briski and their respective families, all with whom she had very close and loving relationships. Her godchildren, Kaitlynn and Keenan Cozzini McKirgan, and her beloved and great friends, Frank, Linda, Autumn, and Amber McKirgan, Deborah Koons and Clint Meyer will also sorely miss Betty.
Betty hoped to be an organ and cadaver donor. Memorial donations may be made to the Fairbanks Hospice Association in her name. A celebration of life will be announced later.
Arrangements were entrusted to Fairbanks Funeral Home.
Published in Daily News-Miner on July 14, 2013