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Lois Jean Vrbka


1929 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Lois Jean Vrbka Obituary
Longtime Fairbanks resident Lois Jean Vrbka died peacefully Nov. 23, 2017.
Lois was born Nov. 25, 1929, in Shelby, Nebraska, to Max and Pearl (Armagost) Suddarth. The fourth of five daughters, Lois spent her early years on a Midwestern farm during the Great Depression.
After graduating from Shelby High School, Lois attended Kearney State Teachers College, where she obtained a teaching certificate. She enjoyed her time teaching at a one-room rural schoolhouse, and one of her daughter's early memories is of visiting that school.
In 1952, she married Leonard Vrbka. Leonard had spent a summer in Alaska after his discharge from the Army Air Corps. Prior to their marriage, as they discussed their future, Leonard suggested they consider living in Alaska for several years. This Midwestern farm girl had never traveled very far from home, but she promptly told her fiancé that she was ready for adventure. Their initial plan was to live in Alaska for several years and then move to New Mexico. Over time, their plans changed and they both enthusiastically lived in Alaska for their remaining years.
When their daughter was born, Lois plunged into the responsibilities of motherhood. When her daughter became a Girl Scout, Lois became a troop leader. When her daughter entered kindergarten, Lois became active in the PTA.
Lois began working for the state of Alaska in 1970. She initially worked at the Department of Health and Social Services, but later moved to a position at the Department of Corrections, Division of Probation and Parole.
Retirement years were busy with travel and a new obsession with quilting. An active member of the Cabin Fever's Quilting Guild for a number of years, Lois sewed numerous quilts for extended family members. After exhausting that list, she was active in the quilting guild's community service projects. Her community project quilts ranged from donations to the Kitty Hensley House, Forever Warm Project and Quilts of Valor.
After the death of her husband of 58 years, Lois moved to Raven Landing Senior Community. Lois was fiercely independent, and the Raven Landing supportive community allowed her to maintain her independence.
Lois is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Geraldine and Charles Collins, of Fairbanks. Numerous extended family members live throughout the United States.
Lois was first diagnosed with cancer in 2009. Her family wishes to recognize the excellent care she received at Fairbanks Cancer Center through the years. Her family suggests that memorial contributions be made to the Greater Fairbanks Community Hospital Foundation, J. Michael Carrol Cancer Center. Memorial donations can be mailed to Fairbanks Hospital Foundation, P.O. Box 71396, Fairbanks, AK 99707. Donations can also be made on the Foundation website fairbankshospitalfoundation.com.
Published in Daily News-Miner from Dec. 7 to Dec. 9, 2017
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