Vivian M. Kahklen


Posted: Thursday, September 25, 2003

Lifelong Alaskan and former Juneau resident Vivian M. Demmert Kahklen, 85, died Sept. 18, 2003, in Eagle River. Her Tlingit name was Kasteech.

She was born Dec. 6, 1917, in Klawock, one of thirteen children to Emma and Charles Demmert. She attended school at Sheldon Jackson in Sitka. At Sheldon Jackson, her family said, "she was known as of one of the three musketeers, along with Mary Cesar and Amy James."

Along with her husband, Joseph Kahklen, she taught in villages throughout Southeast Alaska, along the Yukon River and in Arizona on the Navajo reservation. She was a teacher for much of her life, maintained the Kahklen household and was an active participant as a member of the Alaska Native Sisterhood. She received numerous awards for her work with children and community development. She served as Queen Regent 2001 for the 29th Annual Chugiak-Eagle River Scholarship Program.

Her family wrote, "Her faith was a significant part of who she was and influenced everything she did. She was an awesome mother, teacher, midwife, nurse, and whatever else was needed in the communities in which she lived. Mrs. Kahklen was known for her deep love of her Tlingit heritage, and commitment to passing this onto the younger generations. She exemplified the Alaskan spirit with her incredible energy, creativity, industriousness, and an unquenchable curiosity and love of learning. She had a willingness and dedication to open her home to those who needed assistance and camaraderie and instilled this value in her family. She loved music and dance and encouraged her children and many others to appreciate the arts. In addition, she was a self-proclaimed sports freak, and was especially an ardent Seattle Mariners fan."

She was preceded in death by her husband and her son, Llewellyn "Archie" Kahklen.

She is survived by her children, Joseph Kahklen, Albert (Florence) Kahklen and Antoinette (Robert) Jones; 19 grandchildren; and 23 great-grandchildren.

Memorial services will be held at 3 p.m. today at the Eagle River Presbyterian church. A Juneau service will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 26, at Northern Light Church.

Arrangements were made with Evergreen Memorial Chapel, 737 E Street.

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