Posted: Tuesday, March 27, 2001

Blanche Arelene Radie

Juneau resident Blanche Arelene Radie died March 23, 2001, at the Juneau Pioneers' Home.

She was born Sept. 29, 1910, in Dayton, Ore. She moved to Juneau in 1984. She worked for the Senior Service program in the day care and the Bridge program.

Services will be held March 29 in McMinnville, Ore.

She is survived by her sons Fred and Richard Radie and daughter Dorothy Lewis, all of Oregon, 13 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

Betsy E. Sears

Former Juneau resident Betsy E. Sears (Sneesby), 89, died March 17, 2001, in Wasilla. She was the widow of Sterling S. Sears, the superintendent of schools in Juneau from 1949 to 1964.

Born April 25, 1911, on a homestead farm near Chugwater, Wyo., she graduated from Chugwater High School in 1929. She attended Colorado State Teachers' College in Greeley and the University of Wyoming in Laramie.

In 1937 she married Sterling S. Sears, the principal of the school in Wyoming where she was teaching. In 1949 the family drove the Alaska Highway to Juneau. Sterling became school superintendent and Betsy worked for the state Department of Vital Statistics. Because the law disallowed spouses from working in the same school district, Betsy gave up her teaching career. She raised her children, was actively involved in the community and enjoyed boating with her family.

In 1964, the family moved to Kenai where and she was an active volunteer in the development of the Kenai Library. In 1968 she and Sterling moved to Camano Island, Wash., following his retirement. She enjoyed reading, sewing, gardening, and volunteering in the activities of the Methodist church. They made several motorhome trips in the country. She always took an interest in the world and was especially interested in United States and Alaska history.

Her greatest joy in life came from her family. After Sterling's death in 1992, she moved to Chugiak to be near her children and grandchildren. She volunteered with the reading program at Chugiak Elementary School. When her health began to fail in September 2000, she moved to Northstar Assisted Living in Wasilla.

She is survived by her son Stanley E. Sears (and Alice) of Eagle River, and their children Marlys and Sterling; daughter Sharon S. Russell of Palmer and her children Todd and Tonya; step-son Bob Sears (and Ruby) of Seattle and their children Douglas, Craig, and Lisa; her brother Gene Sneesby (and Elsie) of Casper, Wyo., and nieces, nephews and three great-grandchildren.

A service was held March 22 in Chugiak. She will be buried beside her husband in Stanwood, Wash.

Elaine B. Mitchell

Longtime Juneau resident and Alaska public broadcasting pioneer Elaine B. Mitchell died March 16, 2001, in Juneau.

She was born in Sept. 26, 1920, in Chicago and moved to Juneau with her family in 1965. In the 1960s, she worked as a cook at Taku Lodge, as a reporter and photographer for the Juneau Empire and as information director for Gov. Keith Miller.

She was a "founding mother" of KTOO radio and television in the early 1970s. She reported for the first public radio coverage of the Alaska Legislature in 1973 and the first public television coverage of the Legislature in 1977. She then served on the Alaska Public Broadcasting Commission until retiring in 1982.

She is survived by her husband David Mitchell of Juneau, children Mike Mitchell (and Barbara) of Anchorage, Melanie (and Jim) Prevost of Palmer and Kelly Mitchell of Juneau and grandchildren Mary, John, Annie Prevost of Palmer and Gwyn Howard of Anchorage. At her request, there will be no service. However, well-wishers are encouraged to remember her as they enjoy and support public radio and television in Alaska.

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