Longtime Fairbanks resident, Lillian Somaduroff, 87, passed away Feb. 16, 2013, in Palmdale, Calif., surrounded by her three children. She had the opportunity to meet a new great-grandchild and enjoy time with her California-based relatives before passing.|
She was born Lillian Nemanic, on Dec. 2, 1924, to Marguerite and Anton Nemanic, in Sunnyside, Utah, the youngest of 10 children. Her father worked in the coal mines. When she was about 10, the family moved from the coal mine company housing in Utah to San Francisco. After graduating from high school in San Francisco, Lil began working as an upholstery seamstress, got married and had her first child, Jane "Maggie."
She divorced shortly after the birth, and after some time, met her future husband, Austin Somaduroff, who also worked in the upholstery shop. Upon marrying Austin, she had the privilege of becoming stepmother to Austin R., Bob and Richard. In 1954, John was born in California.
Austin began going to Alaska during the summer to work with his brother, Mike Somers. Upon returning to San Francisco one fall, Austin got the kids to talk Lil into moving to Alaska. Austin and Lil, with three children younger than 8, drove a 1953 Chevy sedan from San Francisco to Fairbanks in March 1957. Their daughter, Cindy, was born in Fairbanks in September 1957.
Although Lil had agreed to try Alaska for only one year, Fairbanks became her cherished home for 55 years. She and Austin operated Lil & Austin's Upholstery and Draperies on Slater Dr., in Island Homes, until his death in 1987. Lil loved to sew and made many beautiful parkas for her children and grandchildren. Cindy still wears one of those parkas after 39 years. During Lil's lifetime, she enjoyed spending time with friends and family while fishing, walking, swimming, skiing and gardening. A favorite pastime was visiting Pete and Renie Blankensop at Birch Lake or Skiland, where they had so many good times. During her later years, she had a great time at the Alaska Senior Games, lounging at Chena Hot Springs Resort with her children and grandchildren, and attending family reunions in Idaho and Slovenia.
Mom will always be remembered for her ability to help friends and family see the bright side of any situation. She is dearly missed. The family appreciates the caring support of her physician, Dr. S. Gayle Kaihoi, the staff of the Fairbanks Memorial Hospital PACE Program and the staff of the Fairbanks Resource Agency Adult Day Center. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to one of these valuable community programs.
She is survived by her brother, Karl Nemanic, of Walnut Creek, Calif; daughter, Maggie Crank, of Rosamond, Calif.; son and daughter-in-law, John and Ellen Somaduroff, of Chugiak; daughter and son-in-law, Cindy and George Salmon, of Fairbanks; stepson, Robert Somaduroff, of Anchorage; daughter-in-law, Grace Somaduroff, of Maui, Hawaii; 23 grandchildren; and 27 great-grandchildren in Alaska, Hawaii and the Lower 48.
At 2 p.m. today, June 25, 2013, friends are invited to join the family at Birch Hill Cemetery, followed by a casual gathering at 828 Crossman Road. For more information, contact Cindy at 590-3832.
Published in Daily News-Miner on June 25, 2013