Liv Cheryl Gray


Posted: Thursday, August 23, 2007

Lifelong Hoonah resident Liv Cheryl Gray died Aug. 21, 2007. She was 58.

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She was born Dec. 6, 1948, in Juneau, to proud parents Bernice and Paul Dybdahl Sr. She was the fourth of six children from Gaax'ayi (Duck Point). Her Tlingit name was Yís tu du. She was of the Yeil (Raven) moiety, Taakwaneidí Clan, Taan (Sea Lion) Hít of Hecata Island. She also was Norwegian yadi, Shangukeidi dachxán.

According to her family, she would dive headfirst into a rich part of her life when she made a grand escape from the village and eloped with her lifelong love, Dennis H. Gray Sr., who she married on Aug. 30, 1964, at the Sierra Bells Chapel in Reno, Nev. They shared nearly 43 years of love and commitment, her family said. She proudly mothered five children with her husband, her family said.

She was proud of her heritage as a Tlingit and worked diligently for her people, her family said. She was a respected leader and held many elected and voluntary positions within Alaska's Native community. She served on the Hoonah Health Council for six years as both president and vice president; the SEARHC board of directors for 16 years, including one year as vice president; the JOM/Native Education Committee for six years; the Alaska Native Sisterhood Camp 12, as both vice president and president; and was a life member of the Tlingit and Haida Executive Council for 14 years, recently serving as the executive council emeritus, the Hoonah City Council for 10 years; Title IV Indian Education Committee for one year; the mayor of Hoonah for three years; the Hoonah Tlingit and Haida Community Council for 18 years and the THREA Board of Directors for seven years, as both member and chairwoman.

She was preceded in death by her maternal grandparents, Edward James and Katherine Rowan; paternal grandparents, Anders and Johanna Dybdahl; and parents, Bernice Rowan Easterly and Paul Dybdahl Sr.

She is survived by her husband; children, Denise Pauline Gray, Sonya Marie Smith and her husband, John, Dennis H. Gray Jr. and his wife, Renee, Andrew Paul Gray and his wife, Tesh, and Howard Leif Gray; brothers, Paul Dybdahl Sr. and his wife, Sally, Johan Arnt Dybdahl and his wife, Ethel, and James Leif Dybdahl and his wife, Ladonna; sisters, Dorothy Marie Johanson and her husband, Doug, and Johanna Kathleen Dybdahl and her husband, John; auntie, Regina Skan; uncles, James Rowan and Jonathan Oliver Rowan; 10 grandchildren; and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews, with whom she treasured.

Services will be at 6 p.m. Friday at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Memorial Hall in Hoonah, and at 6 p.m. Saturday at Centennial Hall in Juneau.

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