Posted: Friday, March 09, 2001

Helen (Jukich) Pekovich

Longtime Juneau resident Helen (Jukich) Pekovich died March 2, 2001, at St. Ann's Care Center in Juneau.

She was born Aug. 8, 1912, of Serbian descent as Jeka Djukic. In 1925 at age 12 she immigrated from Yugoslavia to the United States with her mother Smilena and met her dad for the first time. They moved to Juneau shortly thereafter.

She loved Alaska and left the state only three times. She lived at two mines on Admiralty Island, at Hawk Inlet, where her daughter Violet was born, and at Funter Bay. She lived for more than 30 years on Park Street on Starr Hill, and Rie Munoz once featured her in a painting.

She married Waso "Sam" Pekovich in 1938. She was a homemaker until the late 1960s. She worked at St. Ann's Hospital and later at Bartlett Hospital for 17 years until her retirement at 67 in 1979. She was a hard and faithful worker and did not miss a day of work except to attend to her mother's death. Family friend David Stone, who worked with her as a youth and was influenced by her, said she was like a mother and provided guidance in a time of need.

She was a generous and strongly independent woman who loved and was protective of children, friends, animals and her family. She loved Halloween and spoiling the children with treats. Her true joys late in life were visits with her family and friends, and especially being able to watch her great-grandson, Kieran.

She was of the Serbian Orthodox faith and a member of the Pioneers of Alaska.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Nikola and Smilena Jukich, and her husband, all of Juneau, and her daughter Violet Kiesler of Mesa, Ariz.

She is survived by her sons, Sam and Andy, daughters-in-law Helen and Janet, granddaughter Andrea, all of Juneau, sister Mary Hoffman, grandchildren Robert and Kevin Voelker, Patricia Gronenman and Donna Reuterman all of Illinois.

An Orthodox service, presided over by the Rev. Robert Polson, will be at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, March 17, at the Chapel of the Alaskan Memorial Park & Mortuary, 3839 Riverside Drive. Honorary Pallbearers are William, John, and Don Dapcevich, Harry Lupro and Ed Foster. A gathering in celebration of her life will follow at the residence of Andrew and Janet Pekovich, 3190 Indian Cove Drive immediately thereafter (approximately 3:30 PM).

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