Colleen (Roguska) Colson

Posted: Thursday, May 20, 2004

Former Juneau resident Colleen Laverne (Roguska) Colson, 77, died April 30, 2004, at her home in Prescott Valley, Ariz.

She was born on March 18, 1927, in Grand Rapids, Mich., to Lyle and Elizabeth Hascher. She was raised by her grandparents in Grand Rapids through her childhood, before leaving to live with her father and finish high school in Flint, Mich., in 1944.

She earned a degree in education from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids in 1948 and taught for a time in Michigan, before moving to Sitka in 1952 to marry her college boyfriend, Jerry Roguszka. The couple raised five children in Alaska, where she continued to work as a teacher, including a stint teaching Inuit children in a remote village. After the couple divorced, Colleen moved to Juneau, where she worked as the state archivist, served for a time as the secretary of the state's Democratic Party and was named "Mrs. Alaska" in 1958. She traveled to New York City as part of her award.

She met her husband, John Calvin Colson, in 1972 at an archivists' convention. The two married in 1977 and lived with her children in Sycamore, Ill., where John was a professor of library sciences at Northern Illinois University. They later moved to Chicago, where they lived for a number of years and operated a small print shop together called McQuick Printing. The couple moved to Prescott Valley in 1991 upon retiring from the printing business. In Prescott Valley, she continued a lifelong commitment to Democratic party politics, serving for a time as chair of the Yavapai County Democratic Party.

She was preceded in death by her parents and grandparents and by her former husband.

She is survived by her husband; sisters, Phyllis Gaither of Prescott, Ariz., and Maralyn Howell of Grand Rapids, Mich.; and children, Catherine Reniker of Redmond, Wash., Ben Roguska of Juneau, Joe Roguska of Big Lake, Michael Roguska of Massachusetts and Stephen Roberts of Anchorage.

At her request she was cremated, and her ashes were to be scattered over the Gastineau Channel.

A memorial service for family and friends was held on May 7 at the Arizona Wakelin Bradshaw Chapel in Prescott Valley. Memorial contributions may be made to the Yavapai County Democratic Party in her name.

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