Wade, Katherine Mae (Wickersham)

Chickaloon, Alaska (NFIC) 6-09

Respected Elder and Clan Grandmother Katherine Wade (86) passed peacefully into the Spirit World on March 22, 2009 at 9:49PM. She was surrounded by family members.

Katherine was born at Old Man Lake near Chickaloon. She and her late husband ‘Tiny’ bought 40 acres of land near Moose Creek where they raised their family and everyone who stopped by felt welcome. She opened and ran the Moose Creek Drive-In from 1956 to 1976. She was a cook at various restaurants in the Palmer area.

Katie was instrumental in starting Alaska’s first Tribal School, Ya Ne Dah Ah in 1995 and it received the High Honors Award from Harvard University in 2002. It was important for her to revive her Ahtna language and culture that had nearly been lost in our area. She started hosting the Memorial Day Pow Wows on her lawn in 1995. She received the Living Cultural Treasures Award in Portland, Oregon in 2000. She was CIRI Shareholder of the Year in 2002 and received the Governor’s Award for Native Arts and Languages in 2007. She wrote stories of her life in the book, Chickaloon Spirit published in 2003.

Katie was a strong and powerful force throughout her life, and even upon departing this plane, the strong winds weren’t quite enough, so the volcano blew its fireworks for her grand exit.

Katherine is survived by her children, Lawrence, Patricia, Larraine and Douglas; grandchildren Lisa, Gregory, Tony, Angie, Ryan and Alex Wade, Justice McPherson, Dimitrios and Alexander Macheras, and Daniel Fry; and great grandchildren Kaylan Wade, and Tara and Ayla Agnew. She leaves her brothers Albert and Harold Harrison and Norman Oleson, and sisters Shirley Sorenson and Mabel Harrison, as well as the entire Chickaloon Village Tribe. She was preceded in death by her brothers Raymond and William and sisters Helen, Jesse and Angeline.

A visitation/gathering was held at Kehl’s Mortuary in Palmer from March 28. Burial followed in Chickaloon.