Vivian Corrinne Stoddard Laurie

Posted: Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Former Juneau resident Vivian Stoddard Laurie died Feb. 14, 2009, at Providence Hospital in Anchorage. She was 93.

She was born March 7, 1915, in Portland, Ore., to Dayton W. and Esther G. (Graham) Stoddard. She arrived in Alaska with her mother and younger sister, Fay, on Armistice Day, Nov. 11, 1918. The three joined their father, who was stationed with the Oregon National Guard at Fort Liscum on Port Valdez. The family moved to Seward upon her father's discharge from the military, and then moved to Anchorage in 1919.

She graduated from Anchorage High School in 1933. After attending Wilson's Modern Business College in Seattle, she worked as a stenographer for the 1935 Territorial Legislature in Juneau. From 1935 through 1940, she was secretary for the managers of the federal government's Matanuska Colony project in Palmer. On the side, she worked as a stringer for the Anchorage Times and The Associated Press. She later returned to Anchorage where she worked for Star Airlines, a predecessor of today's Alaska Airlines.

While on the project she met her future husband, Bob Laurie, also a colony employee. They married on Jan. 2, 1942, in Anchorage, where they made their home and raised four children. After the children were in school, she worked for the Federal Aviation Administration and the Small Business Administration, retiring from the SBA in 1979.

She enjoyed doing crossword puzzles, reading and gardening. She was especially delighted at the opportunity to travel, with trips to Australia, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, Great Britain and France in her retirement. She was a member of Eastern Star and Rainbow Mothers, American Legion Auxiliary and Pioneers Auxiliary.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Bob Laurie, in October 1984; and sisters, Fay Eskilson and Dorothy Walling.

She is survived by her daughters and their families, Alison and Gary Lewis, of Wrangell, Fay and Pat Von Gemmingen, of Palmer, and Laurie and Kevin Richmond, of Hillsboro, Ore.; son, Robert Laurie, of Juneau; six grandchildren, Cori Hannam, of Wasilla, Tracy Lewis, of Oregon, Scott Von Gemmingen and Tammy Von Gemmingen, of Anchorage, Jason and Lyssa Richmond, of Hillsboro, Ore.; five great-grandchildren; sister, Beth Allen, of Renton, Wash.; nieces, Kim Stanton and Cindy Rabe, of Anchorage, Deborah Allen, of Renton, and Denise Walling, of Warrenton, Ore.; and nephews, Robert Allen, of Renton, and Robert Walling, of Springfield, Ore.

A celebration of her life was held Feb. 21 at the Anchorage Senior Center. Interment is planned for July in Anchorage.

The family suggests donations be sent to the Anchorage Senior Center Endowment Fund, 1300 E. 19th Ave., Anchorage, AK 99501; or the Alzheimer's Disease Resource Agency of Alaska, 1750 Abbott Road, Anchorage, AK 99507. For more information, contact Robert Laurie at 321-4612 or the Anchorage Funeral Home at 907-345-2244.

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