Claudia Kelsey


Posted: Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Longtime Juneau resident Claudia Juanita Dona Kelsey died peacefully Dec. 6, 2007, at home in Juneau. She was 95.

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She came to Juneau in November 1946, with her housemate, Bea Shepard. They intended to stay about two years. While Shepard worked for the Territorial Department of Health and Kelsey used her talents as an artist and worker with children in church work and in arts and crafts, it soon was apparent that Alaska was the place to stay for both, and they put down roots in Juneau.

"Claudia will long be remembered for her work in the development of both the Douglas Community United Methodist Church and the Eagle River United Methodist Camp at Mile 28 outside of Juneau," Shepard said.

According to Shepard, Kelsey helped establish Sea Week and the Artists in Schools program. Most recently, she and Shepard received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Juneau Chamber of Commerce for "outstanding contributions to the community and citizens of Juneau and the state of Alaska."

She was preceded in death by most of her immediate family, her mother, Genevieve Gayton Kelsey; father, Richard Marcellus Kelsey; and two sisters, Adelaide Kelsey Petty and June Kelsey Montgomery.

She is survived by one niece, Adelaide Amneris Thiel, of Costa Mesa, Calif.; one great-nephew, Neal Ewing; great-nieces, Carol June Ewing and Kay Newell, of Phoenix, Ariz., and Michele Jett, of Costa Mesa; several great-great-nieces and nephews; housemate for more than 65 years, Bea Shepard; and many friends and admirers.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Friday at the Douglas Community United Methodist Church. Persons wishing to make memorial gifts may send them to the Eagle River United Methodists Camp, P.O. Box 20272, Juneau, AK 99802, or the Douglas Community United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 240509, Douglas, AK 99824.

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