Myrna M. Maynard passed away on April 18, 2019. She was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Sept. 6, 1934, to William and Gertrude James. She had a wonderful childhood in Edenvale, South Africa, tormenting and being tormented by three older brothers. She also had two older sisters. In 1948, she spotted a young man riding a bicycle by the school bus and told her friend that she was going to marry him. After years of scheming and plotting, she did marry that cyclist, the love of her life, Kenneth D. Maynard, on Feb. 4, 1956. They moved to Empangeni, a farming town in Zululand, for a year, but returned to Johannesburg to have their first child, Colin. They soon added a daughter, Vivien.
In 1960, they decided to leave South Africa, and chose Anchorage, Alaska, based on the recommendation of Ken's brother, who had moved there four years previously. Ken came first in October 1960, while Myrna and the children followed in February 1961. She was not impressed at first or second looks. She was used to playing tennis outdoors three times per week and attending cultural events featuring premiere European performers, none of which were available in Anchorage in the early 1960s. She wondered why Ken had brought her to this "god-forsaken" place.
After working for Northern Consolidated Airlines and International Building Supply, she settled in as the office manager of Ken's architectural firm. When not at work, she concentrated on her children and volunteering for various groups. She found political volunteering to be right up her alley, starting with Sen. Ted Stevens' first campaign in 1968. Her interest in politics and her desire to vote led her to become a United States citizen in 1985. Even before her citizenship, she was vocal in her praise and chastising of government officials, receiving a proclamation from Mayor Knowles regarding her "verbal vigilance" on her 50th birthday.
She went to work for Rep. Drue Pearce in the Alaska State House, as a legislative aide, in 1988. She didn't like being away from Ken for four to five months, so she went back to work for him. Eventually, Sen. Pearce lured Myrna back to Juneau, when Drue was Senate President, to be the "stone wall at the front door." Myrna then worked for Rep. Gail Phillips when she was Speaker of the House, and ended her legislative career with Rep. Carl Morgan.
Myrna then started assisting legislative candidates with their APOC reports and became close to several of them. This assistance came with giving advice, wanted or not, and scolding them when they did something of which she did not approve. This also applied to Rep. Don Young, on whose campaign she worked from 1994 to 2010. She always said that she didn't want anything from them, so they couldn't do anything to her. Her last campaign was doing the FEC reports for Sen. Dan Sullivan and, with Ken as her assistant, they entered thousands of checks into the database. Her long history of volunteerism recently earned her the title "Saint of the Republican Party."
Myrna spent the last few years of her life enjoying time with Ken, her children and grandchildren. She spent many hours watching planes taking off at Point Woronzof, birds at Potter Marsh, Jeopardy, and just going for a drive to find moose or to see how the city had changed. She still found time to impart words of wisdom to those in office, or those for whom she had worked.
She was preceded in death by her parents; sisters, Winnifred and Flora; and brothers, Ken and Desmond. She is survived by her husband, Kenneth; brother, Robert; children, Colin Maynard (Pattie) and Vivien Noll (Neil); grandchildren, Douglas Regan and Melanie Regan; three great-grandchildren Wyatt, Holton and Sorrel Beckman; and many cousins and in-laws.
A celebration of Myrna's life will be held at the Petroleum Club of Anchorage on Friday, April 26, 2019, at 5 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Abused Women's Aid In Crisis.
Published by Anchorage Daily News on Apr. 23, 2019.