Posted: Wednesday, March 07, 2001

Joseph Matthews Kahklen

Lifelong Alaska Native educator and former Juneau resident Joseph Matthews Kahklen (Tlingit name Saiche), 93, died in his sleep March 1, 2001, in Anchorage.

A memorial service will be held 4 p.m. Thursday at Northern Light United Church and a celebration of life will be held at 7 p.m. at the ANB Hall.

He was born Feb. 28, 1908, and raised in Kake. Demonstrating an early love of education, he left home after eighth grade to attend high school in Petersburg. He was on the basketball team that won the first All Alaska High School Basketball Championship in 1929 in Fairbanks, something of which he was very proud. He attended Central Washington College, earning a bachelor's degree in education. After working as a teacher and school administrator, he earned a master's degree in education from Northern Arizona University. For being a "respected educator and humanitarian," he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from the University of Alaska Southeast.

His career spanned 45 years, serving as a teacher, principal and district superintendent. He and his wife, Vivian, were devoted to promoting equal opportunities in education for all Native people.

He was active in community organizations over the years serving as an elder in the Presbyterian Church, member of the Sealaska Heritage Foundation Scholarship Committee, and as a member of the Kake Tribal Corp. board. He assisted in a 1946 study by the Department of Interior documenting Southeast Alaska Native aboriginal land rights. This work laid the foundation for later settlement of Alaska Native Land rights issues.

He had many interests and talents. He had a trained tenor voice and sang for weddings and special events. He also passed on to his family his special knowledge of hunting and fishing.

He was preceded in death by his son, Llewellyn Archie Kahklen. He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Vivian Demmert Kahklen, son Joseph Kahklen, son Albert (and Florence) Kahklen, daughter Toni Kahklen-Jones (and Robert Jones); 19 grandchildren, and 18 great-grandchildren.

May Key

Juneau and Ketchikan resident May Key died March 3, 2001, at her home in Juneau.

She was born May 3, 1920, in Blunt, S.D. She lived in Ketchikan for many years before moving to Juneau in May 2000. She was a wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.

She is survived by her daughters Mary Martin and Eileen Stacy of Ketchikan, Carol Bartlett of Juneau and Billie May Key of Brazil, and son Bill Key of Oregon, eight grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

Services were March 6 at Chapel by the Lake.

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