Grand Marshals for 2009 both historic Juneau figures

Bell-ringer, 1958 Miss Alaska to participate in statehood celebrations

Posted: Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Juneau and Douglas Grand Marshalls are important figures from the statehood period.

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Kim Andree / Juneau Empire File
Kim Andree / Juneau Empire File

Juneau's Grand Marshal will be Romer Derr, a member of the Junior Chamber of Commerce at the time, who designed the ringing of the bell ceremony for the original flag raising. When the women who was supposed to ring the bell couldn't do it, Derr was asked to take her place.

He was also involved in "Get Out the Affirmative Vote for Statehood" in Southeast Alaska, to get voters from the Southeast region to vote for statehood at the Aug. 26, 1958 special election.

Since statehood, Derr has continued to be involved with Alaska and Juneau affairs. He is a member of the Juneau Chamber of Commerce and the Alaska Historical Commission. He has also been a member of the Juneau Harbor Board.

Douglas' Grand Marshal is Stuart Sliter, the first Miss Alaska allowed to represent the state in the 1958 Miss America Pageant.

Sliter was named Miss Alaska two days before she had to leave for New York, where the media quickly grabbed ahold of her story. She appeared on Dave Garroway's "Today Show," Jack Paar's "Tonight Show," Dick Clark's "American Bandstand," chatted on the radio with Walter Winchell and Hugh O'Brian and even had Life Magazine follow her around for a day.

Nowadays, Sliter is involved with the Division of Elections and the Juneau Senior Center. She has been the Douglas voting precinct chairman for 12 years.

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