John L. Maakestad
1918 - 2014
Long time Alaskan John Maakestad died on Dec. 31, 2014, at the Anchorage Pioneer's Home. He was born on July 3, 1918, in the Norwegian American community of Petersburg, Alaska, where his father, Walter John Maakestad, along with Laura Ellefson Maakestad, had been called to serve. He lived there for his first two years and the family returned from 1928-'33, when his father again accepted a call to serve the Petersburg Lutheran Church. Those were lastingly impressionable years for a young man and he loved the active boyhood of a Southeastern Alaskan life. The family had a small powerboat called "The Ole" his father used to minister to the logging camps, for fishing and various family excursions. From Petersburg the family moved on to Pasadena, Calif., Norge, Va., and settled in Cranfields Gap, near Waco, Texas. Following his father's call to the ministry, John attained his Bachelors Degree in History and Classics from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, in 1941, and his Divinity degree from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., in 1945. In 1948, he married Louise Knutson from Oslo, Texas, and the young couple settled in Stanwood, Wash., Pastor John's first call to parish ministry. Alaska again beckoned and, in 1950, Pastor John and Louise moved to Fairbanks, where daughter, Laura and sons, Walter and Gene (deceased) were born. The family then moved to Shishmaref where daughter, Ellen was born and then Nome, where Muriel joined the family. In 1963, the Maakestad family moved to Berkeley, Calif., as John attended Clinical Pastoral Education. In 1963, the family drove the Alcan from Texas to Anchorage where John began service as Chaplain for the Alaska Psychiatric Institute (API) in January of 1964. Daughter, Carol was born the following year. He retired from API in 1984, yet continued chaplaincy service at Providence and Humana for several years. Pastor John loved to cross country ski and to sailboat on Kashwitna Lake. He was active in Sons of Norway, served as Wing Chaplain for the Civil Air Patrol and was most pleased to have begun the Sunday evening Alaska Native Fellowship to eventually become the Alaska Native Lutheran Church. He is survived by his wife, Louise; daughter, Laura (and John) Sullivan of Hawaii; son, Walter (and Molly) Maakestad of Lake Minchumina; daughters, Ellen and Muriel Maakestad of Anchorage; daughter, Carol (and Dr. Steve) Anderson; granddaughter, Ingrid Anderson; and grandsons, Joshua and Ethan Anderson of Mankato, Minn.; granddaughter, Kari (and Jeffrey) Gimbel; and great-granddaughters, Molly Jean and Piper Lee Gimbel of Fairbanks; and grandson, Jon Maakestad of Fairbanks, Alaska. Services will be held on Monday, Jan. 5, 2015, with a visitation starting at 4:30 p.m. and the service beginning at 5 p.m. at the Lutheran Church of Hope, located at 1847 W Northern Lights Blvd. in Anchorage, Alaska.
Published by Anchorage Daily News on Jan. 4, 2015.
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30 Entries
Dear Louise, Laura, Walter, Ellen, Muriel, and Carol, We just received the sad news, yet we rejoice in John's "passing up" to be with his Lord and Savior. Your friendship in Christ over the years has been a treasure, and each time we visited, we appreciated John's sharing with us a reading from the Bible with a devotion & prayers. Our caring prayers are with your family ...May God's love be your strength and His strength be your peace. With our love and God's blessings.
Curt & Vivian Ryden
March 31, 2015
So sorry for the loss of John. I know he was a remarkable man. Since you would not recognize me by my my married name, I am Ruth Stavlo Jones the daughter of Oscar and Marie. I always loved aunt Leona and all your family so much - you truly are a generation to be proud of. My condolences. Texas
January 30, 2015
Louise, Laura, Walter & Molly, Ellen, Murial & Carol,

I just wanted to express my condolences to all of you for the loss of John. He was a wonderful and delightful member of our family.

Tom Maakestad
January 13, 2015
Dear Louise, Walter, Molly, Ellen, Murial, and all the kids,

I just received news of John's passing and am filled with such gratitude for having known him since the 70s when Walter was attending Luther College and then when Ellen and I attended together. My time spent with your family in Alaska during the summer of 1981 made such an indelible impact on me and it was your's and John's generosity and compassion which made it such a wonderful experience. I am truly forever in debt for that summer and am so thankful you have been in our lives. John will remain one of the pillars of our family and is so well regarded in many ways. I will miss him and cherish his memory.

Tom Maakestad
Marine on St. Croix, MN
January 13, 2015
"A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things..." Matthew 12:35a

"The integrity of the upright will guide them ..." Proverbs 11:3a

John Maakestad was a man of integrity and a man of great influence for good for many people; pastor, chaplain, counselor, mentor and friend, a pillar of the community.

On a personal level, John was a very close and important part of our family from the days when he was pastor in Shismaref and Nome and then Anchorage and through the years ever since.

We wish God's blessings upon Louise and the family!

Jerry and Sarah Ringstad
Lynnwood, Washington
Jerry Ringstad
January 11, 2015
Our condolences to you, Louise. We enjoyed your friendship at Lutheran Church of Hope in the 60's and Pastor Maakestad's always making us feel welcome whenever we saw him.
Lois and Ernie Trujillo
January 9, 2015
My condolences Walt, and to all your family.
Denis Gardella
January 9, 2015
My deepest condolences to your family. The Maakestad family brings sweet Godly memories to me.
Janet (Saupe) Goard
January 9, 2015
What a Wonderful man. What a Wonderful family. God's Blessings upon you.

-Karla R. Secor-O'Donoghue and family
January 9, 2015
Dear Louise - We have fond memories of you and Rev Maakestad from our short time in Nome, 1959 - 1961. You are a wonderful, caring couple. Sincerely Gayle and Sam Harbo
January 8, 2015
I have Bible that is signed by John Maakestad!
Forrest May
January 7, 2015
I would like to extend my sincere condolences to the entire Maakestad family. I remember Pastor Maakestad well from my younger years at Hope Lutheran Church. He was a very kind and wonderful man who contributed so much to so many others.
January 7, 2015
Dear Louise and family, I'm so sorry to hear of Pastor John's passing. I'm so thankful to have known him. Over the many years I knew you both I felt the love of Christ come through. With deep and abiding love. Your friend, Hank
Hank Roesing
January 6, 2015
Sincere condolences to pastor Maakestad's family. He was highly regarded by my late parents.
Katherine Eningowuk
January 6, 2015
Our thoughts and prayers are with you all at this time. Your family holds a very special place in our hearts.
Norm,Jacki,Gene & Melissa Tibbetts
January 6, 2015
I enjoyed working with Chaplain Maakestad at API during the early 1980's. He was a wonderful man and ministered to both our patients and staff. He led a life well-lived.
Laura Bowers
January 6, 2015
Sending my most sincere condolences to Louise and family! He will be greatly missed!
Sophie Arthur
January 6, 2015
Mrs. Maakestad, I just received an e-mail from Kay & Gail (McIver) and was sorry to read of your husband's death. My most sincere sympathy to you and yours as this time. You and your family were so good and kind to my mother when she was in Anchorage and I will never forget that. God keep you always. With love, Linda Doyle Conley
January 5, 2015
Dear Louise: I am saddened to learn of John's passing but feel so blessed to have known you both. You have been an inspiration to me as I watched your life that has been so beautifully and graciously lived. You have both made the world a better place. My love and prayers go out to you and your family.
Margaret Gamble-Denler
January 5, 2015
Our condolences to Louise and the family as you mourn John's passing and celebrate his life. We first met John and Louise in 1976 when we were cheechakos to Alaska. Louise and John called us up to make sure we felt welcomed and came over to visit that day bringing food gifts. Our lives overlapped until we moved away from AK in 2003. We have so many good memories of the encouragement they gave us as we shared the joys and sorrows of the Lutheran community in AK. John even shared his chocolate with us when we visited them a couple years ago at the Pioneer Home and Louise found us some coffee. Our lives have been enriched by their friendship.
Susanne & Obed Nelson
January 5, 2015
To the Maakestad family my sincere condolences for your loss. Pastor will always be remembered for his bright shining face and devotion to helping anyone in need. He always took the time to listen. He took our family in during the 1964 earthquake when we were displaced from our Turnagain home. As a young kid I always will remember being welcomed into their home during that destructive day.
Pastor Maakestad and Pastor Groth are now probably writing a poem together like the one they wrote about the time they shot a cow moose during bull season. It was the shot that was heard around us Lutherans.
Thank you, Rich Koutchak & Family
January 4, 2015
Louise and Family, We are so sorry for your loss. John was a wonderful man with lots of Humor and patience. Having known him and Louise has been a true Blessing to both of us. (I will never forget the boiled egg on our bus rides.) The kindness and servant hood of your lives together has been an example for all of us to learn by.
Andy & Toby Tobias-Anderson
January 4, 2015
Pastor John's service is at Lutheran Church of Hope (1847 W. Northern Lights Blvd.). Viewing at 4:30 and service at 5 pm.
Julia Seymour
January 4, 2015
Deep felt sympathy from the Magby family
Jason Magby
January 4, 2015
Our sympathy to the entire family whom we knew well when they lived in Nome. May God comfort and be with you all.

McIver family in Nome and Alaska
Kay McIver Hansen
January 4, 2015
Horribly saddened to learn of Mr. Maakestad's passing. Prayers to Mrs. Maakestad and remaining family.
Josephine Weinstein
January 4, 2015
As an infant baptized, a young boy in sunday school and a teenager being confirmed at Lutheran Church of Hope I have fond memories of Pastor John and his wonderful family.
It was a life well lived.

From Adeline Craig and Janelle Stoskopf
Our most heartfelt condolances to the Maakasted Family
Craig Stoskopf
January 4, 2015
Condolences to John's family. His son, Gene was a good friend in the early 60's, and I got to visit their home many times-good memories. It is good to see a writeup of John's life...he was quite an accomplished man.
Kavik Hahn
January 4, 2015
My heart is sad as I learn of your passing .... I recently spoke to you at Hope Lutheran and you always made me feel special and a part of Hopes Family ! Even though my family has moved I always felt welcome at Hope and a lot was because of you and Louise!!
I still remember Gene's passing as a young girl and always felt so bad because I think I remember he was trying to help someone else....and lost his life and I really did not know your other kids except We love Muriel and carol has always been so good to us all and we love her !! We will never forget you and you're legacy and do not ever forget how much you touched The. Partch Family !!
XO Jen Partch -Briske
Jennifer Partch -Briske
January 3, 2015
We remember with thanksgiving John's support and presence in the ministry in Anchorage. His wit, loyalty, stories, advice and encouragement cannot be matched. And we coveted John's beautiful garden in the back yard! We were lucky to have him on this earth as long as we did. "Well done, faithful servant." Thank you, Louise, for sharing him with so many of us in the faith community.
Karen Sonray
January 3, 2015
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