Lillian Edith Fickus

Lillian "Lill" Edith Fickus, 69, passed away at her family home, Crevice Creek Ranch in the Brooks Range, on July 21, 2009.

Lill was a proud Athabascan "princess" whose father, Moses Sam, was chief of Venetie, and later, the traditional chief of Arctic Village. Her mother, Jennie Sam, bore 14 children in the Alaska wilderness, and Lill helped raise many of them. She lived in the Venetie, Christian Village and the Fort Yukon area during her girlhood.

In 1959, Lill married William "Bill" Fickus, making their first home in North Pole. After growing up in villages, Lill was ecstatic to be living in the "big city," and she bore her first two children there. But when Bill packed up the family to move to an isolated placer mine in the Brooks Range, she supported his decision, having her last two children while living at Crevice Creek. They lived there full-time until Bill's death in October 2007.

Lill was truly a life partner. To support the family, they hunted, trapped and fished, and mined for gold. She and Bill grew a half acre garden that produced vegetables for the winter, and raised many farm animals. They maintained the farthest north ranch in the United States, including a herd of horses. She served as assistant guide to Bill's guiding business and was able to prepare the most delicious meals from very basic ingredients.

Lill was a prolific and talented Alaska Native artist, beading beautiful articles of clothing and accessories. She enjoyed knitting, sewing and crocheting, gifting those she loved with lovely pieces. Lill also loved caring for her grandchildren, and was "Grandma Lill" to many children.

After losing her husband, Lill divided her time living with her children in Fairbanks and Reno, Nev. She recently spent happy months in Hawaii with friends, enjoying the tropics for the first time.

Lill was preceded in death by her husband of 47 years; her youngest daughter, Linda Kay Manns; her parents and many siblings.

She is survived by her daughter, Deborah; sons, Matt and Timothy; and her grandchildren, Michael, Denali, Matthew, Blake, Garret, Kylie, Dawson and Aana. She's also survived by her sisters, Margaret and Elizabeth, and her brother Edward.

Funeral services will be held at Door of Hope Church, 270 Fairhill Road, Fairbanks, at 4 p.m., Tuesday, July 28, 2009.

Arrangements were made by Chapel of Chimes Funeral Home.



Published by Daily News-Miner on Jul. 26, 2009.
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9 Entries
dear tim, matt, debbie !

my heart is broken since I heard that your mother, lillian fickus - mamma lill for me - has died.
she and her husband, your father bill fickus, helped me a lot when I walked from anaktuvuk in spring 93´and they both became very good friends of me. i will keep them in loving memory.
your friend in austria, hans goger
hans goger
August 7, 2009
To the family of Lill Fickus we send our heartfelt condolence and love as you grieve the loss of dear Lill and at the same time celebrate her life. Etched in our minds are the wonderful visits we had at Crevice Creek with Bill and Lill. While flying one day with our son, Eddy, Bill's voice came over the radio asking us to land and visit. Lill served us some freshly baked lemon cake, coffee and tea and delighted us with some homemade moose jerky. With an invitation to come back we returned with more of our family a month later. Lill with her gun and five dogs took us gold panning. Our son, Charles, said while walking back to the plane, "This is a day I will remember as long as I live"! We all felt that way! The following year Lill and Tim were so kind and thoughtful and attended our son, Eddy's, memorial service in Fairbanks. Eddy's father and our son, Charles. were fortunate and blessed to have spent more time at Crevice Creek with Bill and Lill later. We were always treated like family and feel truly blessed to have met the Fickus family. May God grant you peace!
Bill and Joanne McKenney
August 1, 2009
Dear Auntie Lill,
You touched so many of us during your rich life, what a blessing to us all to have known you. Our family will always remember those Thanksgiving nights at Crevice Creek. The wind howling outside,a warm and comforting fire snapping in your cabin. You always livened up everyone with your humor, and you were always teaching us little girls in your kitchen, and teaching us how to respect nature and the animals in the wilderness. We will forever treasure those days and be so thankful for being a part of our lives. I'll always remember when Lolly and I went hunting for spruce chickens with you - we were only 9 or 10 years old I think. Those darn birds let us get so close to them without flying off, and one of us called the spruce chicken "dumb". Right away you told us to respect those animals, and to never ever call a wild animal dumb. You explained that they survive all year long on their own, and they dont depend on Fred Meyers like we do. That little hunt with you taught me something new about respecting wild creatures and being thankful for what we have. Thank you so much Lill!!! We'll think of you when we pick berries, we'll think of you when we work hard outside, and we'll think of you when ever we sit down to have a warm and comforting Thanksgiving dinner. Thank you for the many many memories we shared with you out in Crevice Creek. We will miss you, and God Bless you because he sure blessed all of us who knew you! Much love, Lolly and Polly, Roger and Masako
July 30, 2009
Debbie,Timothy,Matt and family. I send my heart felt condolences on the passing of Auntie Lil, Our prayers are with you and your families. She really looked like my mother Sarah Sam Hopson, Miss all of them too. Love Always Cousin Harriet Hopson-Akpik
Harriet Hopson-Akpik
July 29, 2009
Deb, Tim, Matt and Family - I send my heart felt condolences. We were so happy to have her in Hawaii last winter. She hoped to winter here every year. She loved to sit on the beach and crochet! She taught me how to make blueberry pie. She gifted me with a beautiful crocheted blanket, made all the more special as it was made with Linda's yarn. I will treasure it always. We love her and feel blessed that we were able to spend time with her this year. We will miss her. She was an extraordinary woman.
Naomi Stefaney
July 27, 2009
Tim ,Matt and Deb,
Both Ruth and I are sadden to hear the passing of your mother. Lill will be truly missed. I know that we only met her one time , but she will never be forgotten! May God bless and all of you are in our prayers.
Paul Moyer
July 27, 2009
Matt, Tim, and Deborah: You are in my thoughts and prayers, along with all the grandchildren. Lill was such a dynamo; always doing, making, fixing, welcoming, and laughing; charging through life and loving everyone. She will always be in my heart, along with Bill and Linda, and will be greatly missed. May God bless you all and keep you safe. Love to all..
Sheila Desmond
July 27, 2009
Tim,Matt,&Family: I enjoyed the times your mother & I spent together crocheting,knitting, & her trying to teach me how to bead & cook (O! how we laughed). I can still hear her saying "Hi doll, how are you doing?" All of you are strong & keep "the memories", as no one can take them away. - Selina DeValcourt, North Pole, Alaska
July 26, 2009
Deb, Tim & Matt - May God bless and keep you in this time of sorrow. I'll always be grateful for the beautiful beaded slippers your mom made for mine when she passed, and for the smiles and hugs I always received when I saw her. Rest in peace Lill.
Donna Cofield
July 26, 2009
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