Jim Willie Marks

Posted: Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Juneau resident Jim Willie Marks died Feb. 28, 2009, in Juneau. He was 67.

Born with the Tlingit name Jakwteen on July 21, 1941, he was delivered by family physician and aunt, Annie Marks, at Icy Straits Cannery in Hoonah to Willie and Emma Marks. He was a Raven of the Lukaax.adi (Sockeye) clan and the Mount Rapinsky House (Gei San Hit). His father's people are the Chookaneidi of the Brown Bear House and Brown Bear Nest House of Hoonah. His mother's people are from the Alsek River Canoe Prow House (Shaka Hit) from Yakutat.

His family was widely known for its traditional Tlingit artistry, according to his family. He was known as the best traditional Tlingit master carver, known for his distinctive style and designs, they said. As early as 5 years old, he began to learn carving by watching his father; brother, Alex; cousin, Horace Marks; and uncle, David Williams carve.

He was raised and worked as a commercial fishermen beginning on the New Annie vessel and many other boats over the years in the Hoonah fleet. He also worked as a carving instructor and with the Tlingit language, as he was a fluent speaker in the Juneau School District Indian Studies Program with Lenard Sevdy and family. His designs are used widely throughout Alaska. His art form is so unique that it is recognizable anywhere, as his artwork has traveled as far as Australia and Japan.

He was a proud member the Alaska Native Brotherhood Camp 2 and the Southeast Native Veterans, serving in the Alaska Army National Guard from 1958 to 1961.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Willie and Emma Marks; brothers, Alex, Leo and Raymond Marks; sister, Eva Speakes; nephew, Charles Dennis; and great-nephew, Philip Florendo.

He is survived by his daughter, Jocelyn K. Ramirez; son-in-law, Luis E. Ramirez; grandchildren, Jarred D. Philemonoff and Jimena M. Ramirez; Jocelyn's mother, Kathryn J. Dennis; siblings, Nora Dauenhauer, Florence Sheakley, Peter, John and Leo Marks, all of Juneau, and Paul Marks and Linda Marks, of Anchorage; many nieces and nephews and numerous other tribal relatives.

Memorial services will be at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 5, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall. A funeral service will be at 6 p.m. Friday, March 6, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall.

Pallbearers are Luis Ramirez, Jarred Philemonoff, Ricardo Worl, Christopher David, Larry Jackson, Raymond Dennis III, Paul Marks II and Antonio Florendo.

Honorary pallbearers are Richard Dauenhauer, Ernest Hillman, David Katzeek, George Martin, Phillip Martin, Sam Martin, Alfred McKinley, Harold McKinley, Ralph Knudson, Tom Pittman, Rosita Worl, Lisa Worl, Carla Casulucan, Kathryn Dennis, Leona Santiago, Chris Florendo, Mabel Lawrence, Jennie Lindoff, Jessie Johnny and Mary Rudolph.

Donations and cards can be sent to his daughter, Jocelyn K. Ramirez, at 4101 Birch Lane, Juneau, AK 99801, or contact her at 789-4101. Donations in Hoonah may be given to Mamie Williams at 907-945-3325.

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