Mimi Gregg

Posted: Sunday, January 11, 2009

Haines resident Mimi Gregg, of Port Chilkoot, died Dec. 16, 2008, at the Ketchikan Pioneer's Home. She was 92.

Born Regina "Mimi" Guyer on Jan. 19, 1916, in New York, her mother was an opera diva of French descent and her father was the U.S. ambassador to South America.

A strong promoter, supporter and sponsor of the arts and culture, she was a founder of the Lynn Canal Community Players Group and was instrumental in bringing worldwide artists to Haines, more often than not housing these people in her own home.

She was active in the Alaska Community Theatre Association, volunteering herself and Haines for the first State Drama Festival. She remained chairperson for 12 years and in 1984 chaired the National Community Theatre Drama Festival, bringing more than 400 thespians to Haines from around the nation.

She arrived in Haines with her husband, Ted, and a small family in 1947 as part of a group of veterans who purchased Fort William H. Seward (Port Chilkoot). The couple started a gift shop selling their own creations, manufactured locally and based on Northwest Coast Art.

With a desire to "place Haines on the map," she started Alaska World Travel Service, which occupied a corner of the gift shop. She then served on the Alaska Marine Highway Task Force, participated in the formation of the Alaska Division of Tourism and helped establish the Alaska Visitors Association.

Often referred to as "Mrs. Chamber of Commerce," she helped form the Haines Chamber of Commerce. For years, she reported the local news over Juneau's KJNO Radio, as well as writing for the Juneau Alaska Empire and articles for Alaska Magazine. At 80, she was still volunteering time at the Haines KHNS Radio Station.

With adventurous spirit, Mimi and Ted traveled the world together and upon each return she would maintain that Haines is still the most beautiful place on earth.

She raised her four children in House No. 3 on "Officer's Row" in Port Chilkoot, which was truly her "castle," her family said.

"For Mimi, there were two kinds of people, Doers and Watchers, and the Watchers watch what the Doers do," her family said. "Doers make things happen, and Mimi certainly did that."

An only child, she is survived by her children, Tresham Gregg and Annette Smith, of Haines, Allan Gregg, of Clarkston, Mich., and K.A. Swiger, of Ketchikan; grandchildren, Juge Gregg, Rahsaan Gregg, Tina Smith, Jade Smith, Nick Swiger, Andrew Gregg and Kim Bell; and great-grandchildren, Cooper Gregg and Haden, Pearson, Evie and Reese Bell.

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