Margaret S. Anderson
Jan. 15, 1923- Aug. 4, 2017
Longtime Homer resident and Alaska pioneer Margaret S. Anderson died Aug. 4, 2017, at the home she and her late husband, Fred, built and had lived in since 1950.
She was 94.
Margaret Anderson was born Jan. 15, 1923, in Dobra, a coal mining town in West Virginia, to Joe and Barbara Szili, Hungarian immigrants. She was the youngest of five children. When she was 3, her family moved to Cleveland, Ohio.
She graduated with honors with a degree in business administration from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.
In 1947, she flew from Cleveland to the Kodiak Naval Base, where she had accepted a teaching position in the newly established high school. The following year, she taught in Sitka.
In 1949, she married Fred Anderson, and Homer became her permanent home as it had been for Fred since 1924.
In 1950-51, she taught at the Homer Territorial School. She was one of a staff of six teachers, who taught about 100 students in grades 1-12.
She retired from teaching to start a family and become a volunteer.
Son Rick was born in 1951; daughter Maren was born in 1959.
For a piece for Homer’s 25th anniversary, Margaret Anderson wrote: “As a commentary on a very controversial issue in 1954, I gave the first major radio address in Homer entitled ‘The History of the Homer Hospital Site.’ The next spring (1955), I was urged by many local citizens to run for a seat on the board of directors of the Kenai Peninsula Public Utility District No. 1 (P.U.D.) which was our political subdivision and the predecessor of the city of Homer. Henning Johnson and I were elected in a big upset election over the incumbents, and I became the first woman elected to public office in Homer.”
In four years, Anderson served as treasurer, secretary and finally president (the equivalent of mayor) of the board. The board’s main project was the construction of the Homer Hospital-Health Center, and Anderson served for four years as chairman of the first hospital board, influencing its operation as a hospital rather than a clinic.
Leola Thome, a local nurse, and Anderson secured a contribution from friends, Mr. and Mrs. Edward Bartlett, for totally equipping the hospital and for starting the first addition, the Helen Turner Bartlett Wing.
In 1965, Anderson became the secretary of the Homer Society of Natural History. In her dual role as secretary of the society and treasurer of the Homer Alaska Purchase Centennial Committee, she developed the grant application which led to the construction of the museum as a centennial project. In 1968, she was elected president of the society and acting director of the museum and served in that capacity until 1974.
In 1960, Anderson served on the Committee on Aging which culminated in the appointment of Homer Thompson as a delegate to the first White House Conference on Aging. In 1968, Yule Kilcher introduced Anderson to the coordinator of the State Office of Aging, which led to the development of the senior citizens’ center in the basement of the museum. The Homer senior center was one of the first in the state and became a model for other cities.
In January of 1979, Anderson was appointed to the Homer City Council and won election to a three-year term in the fall.
“I always encouraged the participation of other women in local government resulting in the appointment of at least three women to advisory boards. The Parks and Recreation Board was created as a result of my recommendation to the council. I became noted for my attention to detail (fine print) and concern for the ‘little guy’ and the ‘little things’ which I felt were most important to the average citizen,” Anderson wrote for the 25th Homer anniversary piece.
Anderson and her husband, Fred, looked after the Homer community cemetery (on East End Road) because it had no official legal status until the 1967 Centennial Committee proposed that the city of Homer acquire legal title to the site. This was done, but the Andersons continued to be in charge unofficially until their appointment as sextons of the cemetery was formalized by resolution.
Anderson continued in this capacity until her death.
Among her other civic accomplishments: She served on the earliest planning commission and economic development board while Homer still was a part of the public utility district, and in the late 1960s she served on the Homer Health Board.
She was named Homer’s Citizen of the Year in 1970. In more recent years, Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Mike Navarre honored for her many contributions as a Pioneer Alaskan.
While her civic accomplishments are many, it was family and friends that meant the most to her and she loved spending time with all of them, said her family.
“Mom was always there to listen and offer advice and support through the years. She will be greatly missed,” said her son, Rick.
She is survived by her son, Rick Anderson, and his wife, Marti, of Homer; daughter, Maren Bennett of Homer; grandson, Kale Anderson and his wife, Erikka; and great-grandchildren, Cody, Malia, Raychel, Alex and Dennis.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Fred, and grandson, Michael Bennett, and all her siblings.
Memorial donations can be made to Hospice of Homer or the charity of one’s choice. To really honor Margaret Anderson’s memory, her family encourages everyone to volunteer and to vote.
Cards can be sent to the Anderson family at P.O. Box 115, Homer, AK 99603.
March 27, 1956-Aug. 5, 2017
Soldotna resident Mrs. Ann Shilo, 61, died Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017, at Central Peninsula Hospital in Soldotna due to lung cancer.
Private services will take place at a later date.
She was born March 27, 1956, in Kyiv, Ukraine. Ann moved to Alaska in 1982, living in Homer and finally Soldotna. She loved bingo and pPinochle.
She is survived by her daughter, Sasha (Arthur) Cederberg of Anchorage; grandchildren, Gage Cederberg, Shilo Cederberg and Delbert Cederberg, all of Anchorage; and companion, Jay Vienup of Soldotna.
Arrangements were made by Peninsula Memorial Chapel &Crematory. Please sign or visit her online guestbook at AlaskanFuneral.com.