Helena Marie Bartman Andree
Dec 24. 1, 1920-Jan. 20, 2016
Greatly beloved and surrounded by her family, Helena Marie Bartman Andree, 95, died Jan. 20, 2016, at the Alaska Native Medical Center from complications following hip surgery. “She went home to the Lord,” her family said.
Affectionately known as Lena, she was born Dec. 24, 1920, at a saltry near Igushik, Alaska, to a Dutch father, Wilhelm (Billy) Bartman from Rotterdam, Holland and a Yupik mother, Amalia Rose Acitmuq from Toklong, Alaska. From her mother Lena learned the Yupik language, and from her father English. Without an opportunity to get much of an education Lena achieved many, many accomplishments by self-educating herself. This and her bilingual ability proved valuable when she worked as an interpreter at the Kanakanak BIA hospital and at Western Alaska Airlines, as dispatcher. She was also employed at Lowe Trading Co. interpreting for the Natives who came to sell their furs. Lena’s interest in politics and bilingual ability enabled her to accompany three of Alaska’s governors, Bill Egan, Jay Hammond and Sarah Palin, when they were campaigning.
Growing up in the Igushik area, Lena learned subsistence skills from her mother. She became adept at filleting, smoking and canning salmon, basket making and skin sewing, skills she passed on to her family. Lena commercial set net for salmon, teaching her young family these skills and the value of hard work.
In 1941 she married Bill Roberts and had three children, Freeman, Blanche and Willie. She helped raise Bill’s daughter, Audrey. She was widowed in 1949, and later married Al Andree and had one more son, Lanny.
Lena was preceded in death by her husband, Al Andree, and son, Willie; and five siblings, Simeon, Paul, Sassa, Vera, and Mary.
She is survived by her children, Freeman Roberts (Emily), Blanche Kallstrom (Bob), Lanny Andree (Ruth) and Audrey Rearden (Jim); 12 grandchildren, 33 great-grandchildren, and 13 great-great grandchildren; and many nieces, nephews and dear friends.
Lena’s contributions were many. She was always available as a volunteer or helping hand for any native issue. She received a plaque from the Alaska Native Heritage Center, was BBNC Elder of the year, member of the Homer Senior Citizens Board, member of the Alaska Rural Science Initiative, and taught basket weaving at the Kachemak Bay Campus, Homer.
She was a treasure to her family, sharing stories from old times, subsistence skills, and the value of hospitality and kindness. She will be held forever close in their hearts.
Visitation was held Jan. 26, 2016, at the Anchorage Moravian Church (2150 E. Dowling Road), followed by a service from 2 to 3 p.m., with the Rev. William Nicholson officiating. A potluck followed. Memorials may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, or charity of your choice.
Arrangements are with Janssen’s Evergreen Memorial Chapel.