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Dorothy (Donahue) Wilcox


1924 - 2020
Dorothy (Donahue) Wilcox Obituary
Dorothy Donahue Wilcox

Alaskan pioneer Dorothy Donahue Wilcox died at home in Anchorage on Jan. 14, surrounded by loving family. Dorothy was born on Feb. 6, 1924, in Mobile, Alabama. Her father, James Leo Donahue, a third generation Irishman, was a railroad auditor and government statistician. Her mother, Lucile King, was born on the King Plantation in Lower Peach Tree, Alabama. Dorothy led a full, productive and colorful life.
Dorothy grew up in St. Louis and Washington, D.C., where she rolled Easter eggs on the White House lawn, sipped tea with Eleanor Roosevelt and scampered up the inside dome of the U.S. Capitol. Moving to Seattle, she met Alaska tourism pioneer Chuck West, who hired her to be his agent in Fairbanks. She flew north in a DC3 in 1948, and soon led her first group of tourists to Kotzebue and Nome. In Kotzebue she met her future husband, Donald Wilcox.
They married in Fairbanks in 1949 and honeymooned in the dead of winter along the tracks of the Alaska Railroad near McKinley National Park. They settled in Anchorage on KFQD Road (now Northern Lights Boulevard) where they endured the Good Friday earthquake in 1964.
Relocating downtown, they built their home on M Street across from Elderberry Park. Dorothy operated a bed and breakfast there for many years, hosting guests from around the world. Her sourdough pancakes were legendary. Patrons of Simon & Seaforts have long admired Dorothy and Don's summer garden in their backyard directly below the restaurant.
After Don's retirement, they wintered for almost 30 years in Alamos, Mexico. They owned a cattle ranch and employed many local residents.
Dorothy was an active parishioner of Holy Family Cathedral and the Women of Holy Family.
She was preceded in death by her oldest son, Walter James Wilcox. She is survived by her husband, Donald; children, Mary Lucy Cannelos (George), Katie Hill (George), Dee Dee Bennett (Jim), Bill (Mary Lou) Wilcox, Christine Hume, Glen (Ezra) Wilcox and Peggy (Theo Graber) Wilcox; and 16 grandchildren and many beloved great-grandchildren. Her extensive family resides in Alaska, the Lower 48 and as far away as Norway and Turkey.
A Mass celebrating her life is set for 1 p.m., Tuesday, Feb.11 at St. Patrick Catholic Church, Anchorage. A Celebration of Life will also be held later this summer.
In lieu of flowers make donations to .
Published in Daily News-Miner on Jan. 31, 2020
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