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Constance Ann (Coleman) Quakenbush


1932 - 2019
Constance Ann (Coleman) Quakenbush Obituary
July 31, 1932 - Oct. 7, 2019
Constance Ann (Coleman) Quakenbush, 87, gracefully slipped away to meet her heavenly Father on Oct. 7, 2019. At the time of her death, she was residing in Apache Junction, Arizona.
Connie was born July 31, 1932, in Twin Falls, Idaho. Connie's parents worked on ranches around Wells, Nevada, but the nearest maternity hospital was in Twin Falls, Idaho, and could only be reached by a rough dirt road. Connie was born during the Great Depression, and her father soon took his growing little family on the road to find a better paying job in the gold mines of Arizona and northern California. A few years passed and "America" was getting too crowded to suit Connie's father. He loaded up his wife, daughter, a yellow dog named Poochie and all their earthly belongings into a green 1938 pickup and headed for the port of Seattle, where they boarded a steamship headed for Valdez. The Colemans arrived in the Territory of Alaska on Connie's sixth birthday and immediately departed for their final destination - Fairbanks. The Colemans built a small house on Ninth Avenue between Barnette and Cowles streets, and the family lived there for 12 years. During that time, Connie became the big sister to two more Coleman babies. 
Connie attended Main School that was located downtown on Cushman Street. In her late teens, the family moved from "town" to the family homestead on what later became Davis Road. In the early years before a road was built, Connie took a foot trail to catch the school bus at what later became the intersection of Airport and Peger roads. After graduating high school, Connie worked a summer at the Silver Fox Road House and then later as a telephone switchboard operator for the city of Fairbanks. The Coleman family lived in a two-room waterless log cabin that offered minimal comfort for the next 10 years.
A beloved family friend, Dovie Reed, introduced Connie to her future husband in 1954. When Melvin Quakenbush asked the pretty, fresh-faced homestead girl to marry him, her one request was that, wherever they lived, she would have running water and an inside bathroom! Melvin and Connie were married on a bitterly cold evening in late December 1954 in a downtown church that now is in Pioneer Park. The all-night reception was held at Hospitality House on Airport Road.
The newlyweds lived in a Spartan trailer on Eielson Air Force Base, where Melvin held a civil service job. Connie continued to drive back and forth to her telephone operator job until the birth of their first child. The Quakenbush family moved to a small piece of land on Davis Road that Connie's parents had given the newlyweds as a wedding gift. They lived in a Quonset hut on the land while they built the two-story log home later christened "Fort Quakenbush." PDQ Construction was also created at that time.
Connie and Melvin were blessed with five healthy children. Connie devoted her life to raising her four sons and one daughter. She made sure her kids got to all their sports and school activities that included baseball, basketball, volleyball, wrestling and more. She was a big sports fan and could be found watching the games from the comfort of her car or sitting in the bleachers, cheering. After her move to Arizona, she became a huge fan of the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team.
Holiday dinners were held at Fort Quakenbush while the Quakenbush children were living at home. Attendees included everyone in the Coleman and Quakenbush families and anyone who worked for PDQ who didn't have a family nearby. Connie was a wonderful and generous cook, and she knew how to put out a wonderful spread. Everyday dinner was on the table at noon sharp. Connie was known for several dishes in particular: fudge, fruit salad, carrot cake and the best fried chicken in the world - ask anybody who just happened to "drop by" around noon!
Connie was an Eastern Star Rainbow Girl as a teenager and later on a member of the Pioneers of Alaska. She also volunteered for many years with the Fairbanks Memorial Hospital Auxiliary and the Election Committee for the North Star Borough.
After Connie's children were raised to adulthood, she relaxed and wintered in Apache Junction and enjoyed summers in Fairbanks. Later in life, Connie made the permanent move to Arizona and lived in Apache Junction and Scottsdale.
Toward the end of Connie's life she joyously accepted Jesus Christ as her personal savior and was baptized.
Connie will be remembered for many reasons. She loved and honored her parents for the rest of their lives. She cared deeply about the welfare of her brother and sister. She was a loyal and patient wife. She was dedicated to raising her children to be good people and was immensely proud of each of them and their families. She was a loving and wonderful neighbor and kept in touch with the "old" neighbors till the end of her life. She was a loyal and good lifelong best friend. She loved a juicy book, a sentimental cry at the movies and a good laugh any time.
Connie is predeceased by her husband of 44 years, Melvin M. Quakenbush, and her parents, Jewel and Chauncey Coleman. She is survived by her siblings and their spouses and families: Richard (Lillian) Coleman and Gail (Carl) Coleman Barnett; and her five children and their spouses: Paul (Laura), Jay (Loriann), Loran (Julie), Glen, and Leslie (Trent) McNelly. She was also the proud grandmother of six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
An announcement will be made in the spring regarding a memorial service and burial in Fairbanks.
Published in Daily News-Miner on Oct. 13, 2019
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