Southeast loses longtime leader Liv Gray

Posted: Sunday, August 26, 2007

Liv Gray thought about others.

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She volunteered, she was elected, she was active and she educated her community for decades.

Gray was 58 when she lost a long fight with illness on Aug. 21.

Born in Juneau in 1958 to a Norwegian father and a Tlingit/Irish mother, Gray's Tlingit name was Yis to do. She was a Raven of the Taakwaneidi Clan and worked hard for her people's health and education.

Gray did a lot in life.

"She loved Hoonah and all of the Southeast," said her brother Johan Dybdahl, a Juneau Assembly member.

Among a long list of contributions, Gray served as president and vice president of the Hoonah Health Council, president and vice president of the Alaska Native Sisterhood Camp 12; she served on the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium for 16 years, including one term as vice president; she was a member of the Tlingit and Haida Executive Council and was on the Title IV Indian Education Committee. Gray was the first female Alaska Native to be the mayor of Hoonah.

In short, Gray was a respected leader within the Alaska Native community.

"Liv was a strong voice for us no matter where she went to represent us," said Edward Thomas, former president of Tlingit Haida Council.

Thomas said Gray brought a strong but pleasant presence to her efforts and community.

Dybdahl described Gray as a busy lady, a fantastic sister and a good friend to a lot of people.

Memorial services were held in her honor in Hoonah on Friday and in Juneau on Saturday.

To the very end she was thinking of others, Dybdahl said.

• Contact Greg Skinner at 523-2258 or

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