Ethyl Peasgood

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 people -- "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.  

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.

Published by Daily News-Miner on Sep. 13, 2009.
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9 Entries
I was thinking of Ms. Peasgood this morning. My husband and I were members of First Baptist Church while my husband was stationed at Fort Wainwright. I loved Ms. Peasgood. She was a wonderful lady and very kind to us. I was excited to know she lived to be 103.
Donna Price
August 6, 2021
Across Alaska and the United States, there are scores of middle aged and elderly people learning of Miss Peasgood's passing and shedding tears as they remember a teacher who touched them and taught them the most important lessons in life decades ago. I also was a student at Nordale and I recall how dissapointed my Mother was that I wouldn't get Miss Peasgood because she retired the year before i entered first grade. I did endure dozens of stores about her from my older siblings.

I had an opportunity to visit with her a few years ago at the Nordale 50th celebration and was amazed how sharp and funny she was.

My condolences on her passing.
John Tiemessen
September 14, 2009
There is no estimating the enduring impact this wonderful woman had, not just on her students, but upon the children and grandchildren of her students. No finer human ever walked upon the dust of this earth. She was my teacher for a year, a family friend for a lifetime, and a prayer warrior for eternity. Ethyl Peasgood, you taught us to "utilize our margins of time". Welcome to eternity with no margins, no time, only love.
Clark H Smith
September 14, 2009
Miss Peasgood was my beloved first grade teacher in 1967 or 1968. She has been with me my entire life, entering my thoughts regularly over all these many years. I visited with her at the Pioneer Home in 2002 when both of my parents were also there. I regret not seeing her the two times I've been to Fairbanks since and will always cherish her strong, positive, warm but no-nonsense and matter-of-fact influence. What a gift her life legacy is. Her family has much to celebrate in her long life of positive interactions.
Karianne Kornfeind Westlund
September 14, 2009
the lord has another beautiful angel home,I will miss her beautiful smile she never judge noone ...she loved everyone and she will be greatly missed may the lord watch over her family and keep them strong in faith sincerly toni harris and family
toni harris
September 13, 2009
I need to make a correction of my first entry in this guest book. My city is in Arkansas not Arizona.
Jerry & Bonnie Taylor
Jerry Taylor
September 13, 2009
To the family of Ethyl Peasgood:
My thoughts and prayers are with you at this time of loss.
I had the priviledge to serve Mrs. Peasgood when employed at Fairbanks Professional Pharmacy. She was the kindest,sweetest lady, always a smile and a positive attitude for life.
Roger Penrod
September 13, 2009
Miss Peasgood was always an inspirational, encouraging and loving friend. Having had the privilege of being one of her first-graders at Nordale, I was further blessed to visit her over the years and knew that she was always praying for me, and ready to offer me an encouraging word, a good laugh and a fun time of Scrabble and Skip-Bo card games.
She taught me the Sunday School song that my father taught her in Fort Yukon; she met him when she was traveling down the Yukon River -- this was years before he met my mother. He died before I was one year old, and to hear about him and learn that song from him through Miss Peasgood is a cherished and precious memory.
She played Scrabble over many years with my mother, her fellow teacher at Nordale; and when Mom passed away I was up to the challenge to keep the games going. I even won a few games, but I know Emily Kemak told Miss Peasgood to be sure and let me do that once in a while!
She loved God with all her heart and never failed to share what many blessings she was thankful for when we visited. I thank the Lord for her friendship, her example, and her remarkable life.
Jayne Harvie
September 13, 2009
To the family of Ethyl Peasgood:
Words cannot express our thoughts and love for this wonderful lady.
Bonnie and I will never forget her kindness to us during the years I served as her pastor at First Baptist Church.
Many, many times we have quoted something that Ethly told us or advice she gave us or words of encouragement she expressed to us.
It is comforting to know that she now walks with her Lord that she loved and served so faithfully.
Our prayers and thoughts are with and for the family during this time
Jerry & Bonnie Taylor
Jerry Taylor
September 13, 2009
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