Miss Ethyl Peasgood left us peacefully on Thursday, Sept. 10, 2009.
Ethyl, the youngest daughter of Kate and Robert Peasgood, was born in Sykeston, N.D., in 1906.
Ethyl grew up and attended school in Sykeston where her parents farmed. She graduated from Jamestown College in North Dakota, and 11 years ago she was inducted into the college's alumni hall of fame. She taught in North Dakota for one year before traveling to Alberta in 1933. She attended Prophetic Bible Institute in Calgary from which she graduated and was sent out as their first missionary teacher.
In the seventh grade, Ethyl had a desire to go to Alaska -- that dream was fulfilled in 1936 when she took a boat from Seattle to Seward and a train to Anchorage. She knew God wanted her in Alaska, so in a short while she embarked on a wonderful career of teaching and influencing hundreds of children's lives in very profound ways.
Her first assignment in 1936 was a to one-room school in Takotna with a facsimile of a teacherage attached -- an 8-by-12 room. She had her own dog team, was the school janitor, taught Sunday school at every age level, conducted funerals and was on call for many emergency situations. Conditions were very primitive -- she washed clothes by hand, and in winter she chopped a hole in the ice to obtain water.
Her next move was to Bethel on the Bering Coast where she taught for 12 years. Conditions were not quite as primitive, but she learned to handle outboard motors, travel with snowshoes, chop wood, and shoot game with her .410 shotgun. In 1953 she taught school for one year in Healy. The following year she moved to Fairbanks and Nordale School where she was a first grade teacher for 19 years. She was an enthusiastic teacher who not only equipped the children with the necessary tools of education but taught them life skills. They remember her as a gentle, happy teacher who never raised her voice. She retired from teaching in 1972.
Ethyl loved to travel. One summer she traveled the length of the Yukon River -- 2,000 miles -- 800 miles were on the riverboat Nenana and the other 1,200 miles were by by "hitchhiking" rides on the river from village to village. In her other countless journeys, she visited every continent except Antarctica and enjoyed numerous cruises.
She was a member and past president of Delta Kappa Gamma Sorority. In 1971, she was honored as teacher of the year for Fairbanks. She spoke at many conventions. For 25 years, she volunteered with the Fairbanks Literacy Council and taught English as a second language. Ethyl received many honors from colleagues, community and the state legislature for her 36 years dedicated to youth, community and state.
An obituary can never fully capture the essence of who Ethyl Peasgood was. She lived life to the full. "In the end it is not the years in your life, but the life in your years that count." Ethyl had both. She was the kind of person who could enjoy the scenery on a detour. Ethyl had a venturous spirit and a deep trust in God. She appreciated that God had blessed her with a long, happy life and was always ready to give and share with others. Ethyl loved Alaska and its peopleÂ -- "The Lord brought me to Alaska and has taken good care of me."
Ethyl will be greatly missed by her nieces, nephews and cousins, her church family at First Baptist Church where she faithfully served, playing the piano up to her 100th birthday, and countless friends many of whom were former students. The family is very grateful to the staff at the Fairbanks Pioneers' Home for the outstanding, compassionate care and attention they gave Ethyl, especially in the past few months, and to her special friends who lovingly attended to her daily needs when she could not help herself. May God reward you for your kindnesses.
Today, we rejoice in the knowledge that she has passed the barrier of time as we know it and is forever at home with the Savior she faithfully served.
She was preceded in death by her parents; sisters, Bessie Baumbach and Alice Comfort; and brother, Ted.Â Â
A funeral will be held at 11 a.m., Tuesday, Sept. 15, at First Baptist Church. She will then be laid to rest at Northern Lights Memorial Park.
At 4 p.m. at the Pioneers' Home tea will be served as we honor and reminisce the life of Miss Ethyl.
"Well done, thou good and faithful servant."
Arrangements were by Chapel of Chimes Funeral Home.