Juneau resident Matilda Josephine "Tillie" Benson Brown died peacefully on June 22, 2008, at the Wildflower Court. She was 90.
A Kaagwaantaan of the Killerwhale House of Klukwan, her Tlingit name was Oshtawn.
She was born July 4, 1917, in Ketchikan, to Mary Kelly Benson and Gus Brown. She later moved to Juneau with her husband Pete.
She attended Sheldon Jackson College, where she met her husband, Pete Brown. This was also the place she first started her interest in basketball. She was later recognized by the Lions Club during the Gold Medal Tournament, as one of the first women basketball players.
The couple later moved to Juneau, where she continued to reside, even after her husband died.
There were many hobbies she enjoyed, including sewing for family members and playing bingo. Her favorite pastime was spending time with her family and friends, sharing stories and telling jokes.
She lived life to the fullest and made everyone she knew smile and laugh, her family said.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Mary Kelly Benson and Gus Benson; brother, Arthur Luke Benson; and daughter, Joann Murry.
She is survived by her daughters, Evelyn Beglay, Barbara Zambrano, Mary Ann Joey, Harriet Brown, Lucille Brown, Lisa Heifrich and Janice Brown; one son, Arthur Luke Brown, who was named after her brother; and numerous grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews and cousins.
Pallbearers are Smith John Katzeek, Pete Katzeek, Martin Smith, Lamar Sanford, Roy Joey, Dan Katzeek, Nels Lawson and Raul Lopez.
Honorary pallbearers are Ollie Olson, Paul White Jr., Andy Ebona, George Williams, Al McKinley Sr. and Ronald Williams.
Her family will hold a viewing for family members and friends from 1 to 4 p.m. Friday, June 27, at the Alaskan Memorial Park and Mortuary. Funeral services will be held at 11 p.m. Monday, June 30 at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall. A reception will follow.
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