Laura Mae Bracken

Posted: Sunday, March 08, 2009

Former Juneau resident Laura Mae "Larrie" Bracken died Feb. 28, 2009, at Providence Hospital in Anchorage. She was 88.

She was born in the Rattlesnake Hills of Washington in 1920, to Earnest W. and Florence Anderson. She was raised in Portland, Ore., where she met and married E.O. "Brack" Bracken in 1943. They lived in many mining communities in the western United States before settling in Alaska in 1962.

She survived Valdez's 1964 earthquake and continued living there until 1966, when the Brackens moved to Juneau. After 42 years in Juneau, she moved with her husband to Petersburg's Mountain View Manor Assisted Living in 2008.

She attended Pacific University and left to work for the FBIS in Portland and San Francisco translating and telecasting coded messages for the U.S. Army during World War II. When the Brackens moved to Valdez, she worked as a bookkeeper for the city. In Juneau, she worked as a bookkeeper and then as registrar for the Alaska State Museum.

She also graduated from Juneau-Douglas Community College in 1976.

Her family said she was known for her many years of volunteering. She led Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts and Blue Bird troops when her children were young. She volunteered as the city librarian in Valdez. Once in Juneau, she served in several volunteer roles, including editor for Friends of the Museum Newsletter, docent at the Alaska State Museum, commissioner on Juneau's Commission on Aging and in various roles with RSVP, Good Sam R.V. Club's Visitor Center and the Juneau-Douglas City Museum. She worked a weekly shift at the Friends of the Library Bookstore until she was 87 years old, when her failing eyesight prevented further service there.

She enjoyed a variety of Alaska hobbies with her family and friends such as fishing, clam digging, berry picking, picnicking, mushroom hunting, gardening, basket collecting, craft work, cooking and playing cards. She loved to read and continued to read even with the labor of a magnifying glass until the week before her death. She was a member of MENSA.

She was preceded in death by her parents; son, Owen Bracken; and grandson, Toby Coate.

She is survived by her husband of 66 years; sons, Barry Bracken and wife, Kathy, of Petersburg, and Bob Bracken, of Spokane, Wash.; daughters, Bonnie Bracken, of San Luis Obispo, Calif., and Barbara Coate, of Auke Bay; sister, Marjorie Lusby, of Portland; and 11 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

A celebration of life is being planned for March 31 at Alaska Memorial Park's chapel. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial gifts be sent to the Friends of the Library, 292 Marine Way, Juneau, AK 99801 or the Juneau-Douglas City Museum.

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