Longtime Douglas resident Ida Maria Noreen died March 15, 2010, in her home at the Juneau Pioneer Home where she ha resided for the past seven-plus years. She was surrounded by her family and the caregivers who have given her loving care during her long decline. She was 92.
Born March 3, 1918, in Funasdalen, Sweden, she and her husband Karl Gothe adn four children, Karin, Ruth, Sune and Gunnar, immigrated to Alaska in June 1956.
They settled in Haines for less than two years where her brother Karl Tagg lived, there she and her husband built a small boat and did set net fishing off the beach for about three seasons as they began to learn the way of life in Alaska and picked up a few new English words each day.
They moved to Juneau for more work opportunities in 1958. She began and continued work in homes and at the Governor's Mansion, cleaning, catering and ironing, the kind of work she was able to do with her limited English. She also worked in a daycare and thereafter worked as a custodian in a couple of the schools, retiring from the Juneau School District.
She was a positive, happy and service-minded person who received certificates for her service, even at the Juneau Pioneers Home.
"She was always visiting and caring for the sick and needy, singing and playing her guitar and gladdening the heart," her family said. "She loved life and always looked forward to the new day, whatever the challenge might be. She loved to be out in her yard, where things were growing, planting and weeding and enjoying God's creations."
She loved to fix up, paint and beautify her small home in Douglas, which she and her husband had strived to build together. She would often stay up after getting off work at midnight to do housework and bake goodies.
"It seemed she never tired," her family said.
Her family remembers happy gatherings at her home, holidays and parties with friends and family, where many home-cooked meals and baked goodies from her days in Sweden were served.
"I learned everything from my Mamma's good example," she always said.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 50 years, Karl Gothe Noreen; and great-grandson, William Jr. Petaja.
She is survived by her daughters, Karin Petaja and husband, Willie, and Ruth Cunningham and husband, Dennis; sons, Sune Noreen and wife, Patricia, and Gunnar Noreen and wife, Mary Kathryn; grandchildren, Bridget, Brenda, Billy and Brandon Petaja, Tyron, Tony, Troy, Travis and Trent Cunningham, Bernadine Kirkpatrick, Kristine Washburn, Rosa and Bragita Noreen, and Sven, Liv, Matthew, Kathryn and Julia Noreen; great-grandchildren, Hans, Kristian and Adele Petaja, Chance, Kalob, Dylan, Levi, Ciarra, Sara, Elana, Hailee, Joshua and Rosanna Cunningham, Savana Barzee, Zakay and Hunter Kirkpatrick, Samantha, Anya, Ammon and Brigham Washburn, and Keelan, Caden, Kajson and Carson, Audrey and Jordan Cunningham.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, March 19, at the Juneau Pioneers Home.