Marie Griffin, November 2, 1949 ~ May 31, 2010
On May 31, 2010 Girdwood lost a wonderful Friend, Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Mentor and outstanding community volunteer when Marie Griffin passed away after a year- long battle with stomach cancer at the age of 60.
Marie was born on Nov. 2, 1949. She moved to Girdwood she worked at Alyeska Resort in the ticket office. She loved working with the public and always had a cheerful smile. Marie also designed brochures and business cards and she along with her husband Dale created and maintained many websites for businesses and organizations in the valley. Marie liked to snowboard and loved the snow and being a true Alaskan she loved to go fishing too. And everyone who knew her knew she was an avid supporter of the Washington State Cougars.
Marie loved to research and would offer her services where ever they were needed, and when she did she gave 110 percent all the time. One thing we can all thank Marie for is that while she was serving as President of Four Valleys Community Schools she helped transition us from being a part of the Community Schools in Anchorage into an independent organization in Girdwood. Since her work all of the Community Schools in Anchorage have collapsed but FVCS continues strong—thanks to Marie.
Marie had this way about her to make you want to be a better person to be more like her. When you would come to Marie with a problem, she had the ability to get you to see the other side of things, to not judge and to do things for the right reason even if you didn't like doing them. When I found out Marie had stomach cancer and the odds of beating the illness were not stacked in her favor all I could do was say “God, don't take Marie from me yet, I am not a good enough person for her to go. Her work is not done.”
Marie was not only special to me but to others in our small town. A friend of Marie's told me that she mentioned how depressed she was to Marie and that Marie showed up with a beautiful yellow plant and her wonderful smile. Marie taught many how to crochet by offering classes at FVCS. She was always working a craft, knitting or was crocheting something—especially for the grandchildren or “adopted” grandchildren here in Girdwood.
When people think of Marie they too think of how kind and selfless she was to the very end. Marie has even donated her body to science, which shows she was selfless in life and in death.
There will be a Memorial Service for Marie at the Marlow Pavilion on July 24th at 6 p.m. Please come to share your memories of Marie with friends and family. Dale, Marie's husband, has asked that in lue of flowers that donations be made to Four Valley's Community School, P.O. Box 790 Girdwood, AK 99587.
Doris Bender, May 6, 1920 ~ May 24, 2010
Doris (Virginia) Bender
Former Chugach School District president and long-time Whittier resident and volunteer, born May 6, 1920 died at the age of 90 on May 24, 2010.
Virginia served on the Whittier City Council, and volunteered on the Planning and Zoning commission, Virginia also joined the Chugach Board of Education on Oct. 4, 1991, and served for 15 years. She was the epitome of a community service provider. Her endless, selfless actions, cooking, cleaning, raising funds, and spiritedly participating on numerous committees, are something the community acknowledges and speaks of with pride.
Virginia was an instrumental member of the pioneer Chugach team that helped develop CSD's educational model. She was very active in Alaska's quest for excellence in education by lobbying in Juneau. She was nominated and received the prestigious National School Boards' Association “Alaska's school board member of the year” award. On July 11, there will be a celebration of her life on the Klondike Cruise Boat at the Cliffside Dock in Whittier, boarding at 7:00 p.m.
May we all strive to attain the level of energetic service to our schools and community that Virginia Bender has modeled for us on a daily basis.