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Klukwan resident Ruth Margaret Kasko, 77, died July 8, 2006, at Bartlett Regional Hospital in Juneau, surrounded by her family and friends following a lengthy illness.
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She was born Aug. 18, 1928, to Daniel and Margaret Katzeek in Klukwan. She carried the names Kadaykalt and Yikdatoo of the Khutees Hit daxh, "Looking Out House," of the Ghaanaxhteid clan of Klukwan.
She attended Sheldon Jackson through grade eight and received her GED. On Feb. 8, 1950, she married Edwin Kasko, of Klukwan. Together they worked for more than two decades to promote Edwin as a pre-eminent Tlingit carver and silversmith.
Her family said, "Ruth was totally dedicated to her family and Tlingit traditional values. She was a dedicated mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and aunty to her entire family." She was a skilled weaver of Chilkat and Ravenstail blankets, as well as cedar baskets, and an accomplished skin sewer, they said.
She took a leadership position in 1998 as a prime promoter of Keet Gooshi Tours, one of the first all-village based cultural tours to be led by Tlingit guides. According to her family, she was an avid supporter and cultural advisor to the Bald Eagle Foundation of Haines.
She was preceded in death by her parents; sisters, Alice Katzeek and Marian Kelm; and brothers, George, James, Frank, Watson and Tom Katzeek.
She is survived by her brother, Smith Katzeek Sr.; daughters, Alice Morris, Lorraine Kasko and Marjorie McWhorter; grandchildren, Denise and Dennis "DJ" Morris; Cortes and Jessica McWhorter; great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Visitation in Juneau was held July 13 at the chapel at the Alaskan Memorial Park and Mortuary. Memorial Services are planned for July 15 at the Alaska Native Sisterhood Hall in Klukwan. Details to be announced.
Memorial donations may be made in her name to the Chilkaat Kwaan Cultural Heritage Center, care of the Chilkat Indian Village, P.O. Box 210, Haines, AK, 99827.