Berneice Ruby Kelm (1928 - 2017)

  • "Sorry for your loss. May the God of all comfort care for..."
    - cara Brown
  • "I am so sorry for your loss. Mrs. Kelm lived a long,..."
  • "Dear Kelm Family, So very sorry to hear about your mother...."
  • "Dear Kelm Family, We met at Good Shepherd Lutheran in..."
    - Wayne & Marilyn Kubat
  • "Berneice was a very special lady and a true Alaskan. We..."
    - Jane Johnson

Berneice Ruby Kelm, age 89, with her family by her side, passed away peacefully of natural causes in Anchorage, Alaska, on Dec. 10, 2017.
A service will be held on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017, at 2 p.m., at the Lutheran Church of Hope located at 1847 West Northern Lights Blvd., in Anchorage.
Berneice was born in Enderlin, N.D., on June 22, 1928, to Erwin and Vieta Fraase. She worked at Roehm's drugstore during high school and graduated from Enderlin High School.
Berneice married Leslie Julius Kelm on Sept. 21, 1946. Les' sister was part of the original Matanuska Valley colonists and encouraged them to come to Alaska. Les and Berneice flew to Alaska, where they homesteaded in Anchorage, settling on 160 acres and building a house at what is now Victor and West 100th, but at that time was a mile and a half from the nearest road. They lived on the property for 32 years. Berneice was a true Alaskan pioneer who loved to hunt and shot three moose on the homestead. After the last one Les said, "Don't shoot anymore - too much work."
Berneice worked for District Engineers on Elmendorf for three years before staying home to raise her five children. She then worked as a substitute for the Anchorage School District offices until Les retired in 1984. They then sold the last five acres of their homestead and moved to Wasilla, Alaska. They took up "snowbirding," spending summers in Alaska and part of the winter at their second home in Florence, Ariz. Les and Berneice moved back to Anchorage in 2002, and gave up the snowbirding lifestyle in 2010.
Berneice discovered her love for running at age 40, continuing to run regularly into her 80s. She won multiple age group trophies for local running races and was a repeat age group winner in the Gold Nugget Triathlon. While Berneice was a fierce competitor, she always made sure she was well put together and would blow dry her hair and apply lipstick after the swim portion of the triathlon. Berneice loved to bowl, camp, travel, play golf and hike, even backpacking the Chilkoot Trail, at age 77, with family. Berneice was a fantastic cook, seamstress and gardener, and enjoyed sharing her skill and knowledge with others. This is evidenced by her granddaughter, Michelle, who says "I always loved that no matter what we were doing with her, she made it fun. From digging up potatoes in the garden, to camping, float trips, teaching me to cross stitch and how to keep a plant alive! Her love was always unconditional in good times and bad. She loved each of us in her own special way."
Berneice was a charter member of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Anchorage. In Wasilla, she attended Good Shepherd Lutheran and, after returning to Anchorage, attended the Lutheran Church of Hope.
Berneice is survived by her sister, Eileen Kelm; daughter and son-in-law, Toni and Larry Adams; daughter and son-in-law, Sandra and Christopher Arndt; son and daughter-in-law, Scott and Mary Kelm; daughter and son-in-law, Robin and Kevin Iverson, grandchildren, Laurie Walters (husband George), Shawn Arndt (wife Denise), Troy Adams, Michelle Gauger (husband Darrin), Hannah Iverson and Jordan Iverson; and great-grandchildren, Allison Arndt, Tyler Arndt, Bradley Walters, Riley Arndt, Brooke Walters and Aden Gauger.
Berneice was preceded in death by her husband of 68 years, Les Kelm; son, Jerry Kelm; and sisters, Norma Bearman and Jeanne Buss.
The family asks that donations be made to the Lutheran Church of Hope, or the .
Arrangements have been entrusted to the Legacy Funeral Homes.
Religious Service Information
Lutheran Church Of Hope
1847 W Northern Lights Blvd
Anchorage, AK 99517
(907) 279-7714
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Published in Anchorage Daily News from Dec. 14 to Dec. 16, 2017