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Dana A. Fabe
Achievement In: Law
Dana Fabe has had a varied, distinguished and unique career as an attorney and judge in Alaska. In 1996, she became the first woman appointed to the Alaska Supreme Court. In 2000, she was elected as the first female Chief Justice and in 2006 initiated her second term as Chief Justice. She started her career as a law clerk for the Alaska Supreme Court in 1976, moving to a position as a staff attorney at the Alaska Public Defender Agency in 1977. Governor Jay Hammond appointed her as Chief Public Defender for Alaska in 1981. In 1988, she was first appointed as a judge, to the superior court in Anchorage, and subsequently served as the Deputy Presiding Judge and Training Judge for the Third Judicial District. Through the years, she has served on local, state and national professional committees and in 2009 became President-Elect of the National Association of Women Judges. Along the way, she has mentored many young women attorneys and students.
In addition to her accomplishments on the bench and as an attorney, she has been active in a wide variety of community settings. She has trained young students as judges for the Youth Court, chaired the planning committee for the women’s reentry program, “Success Inside & Out”, at Hiland Mt. Correctional Center, traveled to large and small Alaskan communities to host the “Open court” public outreach program and served on the boards of Soroptomists and the Anchorage Museum of History and Art.
The key to her many accomplishments lies in her own words:” I’m a pretty good problem solver. I enjoy helping people resolve their disputes”.
1973 Cornell University, B.A.
1976 Northeastern Univ. School of Law, J.D.
The Women of Alaska, Vol. III, A Compilation of Interviews 1996-1997
Kay Fanning loved journalism. She served as editor and publisher of the Anchorage Daily News, editor of the Christian Science Monitor, and first woman president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors. Kay came to Alaska in 1965. She worked at the Anchorage Daily News, where she met and married Larry Fanning. Together they purchased the paper, which he edited until his death from a heart attack at his desk in 1971. She then managed and edited the paper and transformed it into a hard-hitting, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative paper and increased its circulation from 12,000 to 50,000–overtaking the circulation numbers of the larger Anchorage Times. In 1983, she moved to Boston and became the first woman to edit a national newspaper, the Christian Science Monitor. She broke through journalism’s prejudices against women and modeled success for the next generation of female reporters, editors and business managers.
Dolly Farnsworth somehow found the time to homestead, raise four children and be a civic leader in Soldotna. Farnsworth was one of those great ladies who bridged the years from territorial Alaska to statehood, exemplifying the legendary character of the era.
She came to Alaska in the late 1940s with fiancé Jack Farnsworth. They married at Fort Richardson and in 1948 they moved to the area where the City of Soldotna now thrives and homesteaded the location which became the intersection of the Sterling Highway and the Kenai Spur Highway. They built their own house, as many folks did then, on the 160-acre federal allowance, a modest home in which Farnsworth lived until her death.
During a Radio Kenai interview, Nina Kersten, Farnsworth’s daughter said about her mother: “She heard about a fellow that homesteaded down here and had a little cabin on the property and his wife decided that she was not going to go live in the wilderness so he had to give it all up. A friend of a friend told my dad about it, so he bought the cabin and then came down here and staked the claim and they decided to homestead. My mother had always wanted to own land.”
In those early years Farnsworth was a relative rarity in having some post high school education including an accounting degree acquired in 1942 which she used during the war with an aircraft manufacturing company. As Soldotna grew she used her accounting skills to open Soldotna Bookkeeping in 1959. It was, for years, the only bookkeeping company in the area and helped many a small business get on its feet.
Farnsworth acted as the City of Soldotna’s city clerk’s office from the time it became a fourthclass city in 1960 until 1967 when it became a first-class city.
Farnsworth helped to found the Joyce K. Carver Memorial Library in Soldotna in 1960. In 1965 she became the first woman to sit on the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly. She sat on the Soldotna City Council in 1972 – 1973 and again in 1983 – 1984.
She never had a problem getting elected; it was just finding the time to make the commitment she knew each post required. In 1976, to strengthen that commitment, she went back to college studying public policy and political science for an additional degree at Willamette University.
From 1984 to 1990 Farnsworth served as mayor of Soldotna. She also addressed the shortage of medical resources in the region, helping to establish the Central Peninsula General Hospital, on whose board she served from 1992 to 2001.
Farnsworth was also mayor of Soldotna from 1984 to 1990.
Early on she saw the necessity and justice in settling the Alaska Native claims. After the act was passed, Farnsworth found a special joy in her time at Wildwood Station in Kenai teaching local Alaska Native people about the Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971. She and her students created a family tree for the Wilson family of Kenai that would later be used as an eligibility guide for Native land claims in the area.
Farnsworth received many honors and awards during her life including: 1994 – Soldotna Chamber of Commerce commendation for dedication and support of the community; 1996 – State of Alaska commendation for outstanding service in developing the Kenai River Management Plan; 1998 – Soldotna Chamber of Commerce commendation for outstanding service as board chair from August 1995 to July 1998; 1998 – Soldotna Chamber of Commerce Pioneer Award; 2000 – Resolution by the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly commending Farnsworth for her service and dedication as a member of the Central Peninsula Hospital Board of Directors; 2001 – Soroptimist International Woman of Distinction Award for professional accomplishments in the area of economic/social development in education and health; 2005 – Central Peninsula Health Foundation for contributions as a founding member.
Farnsworth was a role model for many women in Soldotna and on the Kenai Peninsula. She set an example for young women everywhere by her resilience as an Alaska Pioneer, her success as a business woman and her dedication as a public servant. Homesteader Dolly Farnsworth left a permanent mark on the community.
Farnsworth’s daughter added to her Radio Kenai interview: “She was wonderful, everybody loved her. She was very hospitable and very knowledgeable. Of course she basically grew up with the area so she knew just about everything there was to know about the area and the city. She had a mind like a steel trap; she never forgot about anything. She was a mentor … for many people. She loved Alaska, she loved her homestead and you couldn’t get her to leave here.”
Born: Sept. 4, 1933, Mary Jane (Evans) Fate, a Koyukon Athabascan born in Rampart, labored tirelessly to improve all aspects of Alaska Native people’s lives. As one of the original Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act lobbyists, she worked with others to convince the White House and Congress of the fairness and justice in conveying 40 million acres and $1 billion to Alaska Native peoples through the passage of the Native claims act in 1971.
After graduating from Mt. Edgecumbe boarding high school in Sitka in 1952 she went on to become one of the first Native women to attend college at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks where she studied accounting. Because of her numerous accomplishments, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws degree from UAF in 1992.
Fate was recognized for her leadership abilities by becoming the first woman co-chair of the Alaska Federation of Natives in 1988-89. She served on her Alaska Native village corporation board, the Rampart Village Corporation (Baan O Yeel Kon), since its inception in 1972 until recently and was its president for many years. She is also a founding member and past president of the Fairbanks Native Association.
She helped found the North American Indian Women’s Association and in 1975 was its third national president. She directed a national research project which was presented to Congress and made an impact on the treatment and care of Indian children and women.
The Alaska Natives Commission was created by Congress in 1990 at the urging of many Alaska Native groups. The first meeting was held in 1992 and within months Fate and Perry Eaton were named co-chairs. They led the commission’s two-year study, including holding nine regional hearings across the state which produced a three-volume report designed to serve as a blueprint for change regarding the way the federal and state governments deal with Alaska Native issues. Co-Chair Fate stated: “Above all else, the Commission focused on the needs of people. If the world can make drastic changes overnight for rights for animals, bugs and even future fashion styles, we surely must and can make great changes for our Alaska Natives.”
Appointed at the end of 2001 by President George H.W. Bush, Fate served as the only indigenous member on the U.S. Arctic Research Commission for a little more than four years with her last meeting held in June 2006, USARC’s 80th meeting which was held in Barrow, Alaska. This Commission, formed in 1984, was to establish a national policy for scientific research in the Arctic including its natural resources and its Arctic residents, to obtain the broadest possible view of Arctic research needs and then to communicate its policy recommendations to the President and Congress.
In 2003 President George W. Bush appointed her as a member of the U.S. Census Advisory Committee on American Indian and Alaska Native Populations to expand the committee’s awareness of Alaska issues, enabling it to better respond and advise the Census Bureau on this population.
Fate played an important role in numerous organizations helping found several, including the Tundra Times and the Institute of Alaska Native Arts.
In 2012 Fate was honored by her Native regional corporation, Doyon, with their most prestigious award, Citizen of the Year: “for her leadership, strong commitment, competence and sensitivity in the educational and cultural survival of Alaska Natives.” At the award ceremony Georgianna Lincoln said: “Fate was one of the early Alaska Native women leaders, and her obvious outer beauty never affected the woman’s inner beauty.”
Her achievements do not stop at serving only her people. Fate was among four prominent Americans honored nationally for promotion of cancer awareness in 1998. She and Nancy Murkowski, wife of then-U.S. Sen. Frank Murkowski, along with Sam Donaldson, ABC News White House correspondent, and Sue Ann Thompson, wife of Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, were chosen to receive the awards. Fate’s was given because she was long an advocate for educating the public about the value of prevention and early detection in the fight against cancer. During the 1970s and at the height of the oil pipeline construction, mammograms were very difficult for women to obtain. She, along with Nancy Murkowski and other Fairbanks women, organized to solve the problem. Through their efforts, the Breast Cancer Detection Center, a non-profit organization, opened in 1976 to provide education and mammograms to interior Alaska women regardless of their ability to pay.
Fate served as director on the Alaska Airlines board for 25 years, the first 23 years as the only woman to do so. Appointed by Governor Hickel, she was the first woman and first Alaska Native to serve on the Alaska Judicial Council from 1981 to 1987. This body screens and nominates judicial applicants and evaluates the performance of judges making their evaluations available to the voters. Hickel also appointed her a Regent for the University of Alaska where she served from 1993 through 2001. She has also served on the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education and the Alaskan Command Civilian Advisory Board.
Sheila Justice, president, Rampart Village Council says: “Mary Jane is a gracious, caring, kind person who has helped numerous individuals, from providing a home for those in need, to writing letters of recommendations for jobs and scholarships. She is admired for her contribution to the advancement of the Alaska Native community and the well being of women in particular and her kindness and grace toward people from all walks of life. She is a role model for Alaska Native women and for all women.”
Mary Jane Fate married Dr. Hugh “Bud” Fate and together they have raised three daughters and her cousin and the couple now has a dozen grandchildren.
Arriving in Alaska in 1945, Helen Fischer became involved in political activities and the struggle for statehood. She was elected to serve as a delegate to the Alaska Constitutional Convention (1955-56) where she served on the Committees on the Legislative branch and the structure of the Administration. She argued unsuccessfully to include gender in the non-discrimination clause of the Alaska Bill of Rights, “Mr. President, I think sex definitely should be (protected) in this proposal because there are still states in the Union where women are not allowed to serve on juries.”
Ms. Fischer served in the last Territorial House of Representatives in 1957-59 as well as in the first legislature of the new state. She returned to the legislature from 1971-75 where she was a tireless advocate for women’s rights. She also served as the Alaska representative to the Democratic National Committee from 1956-1963.
Lanie moved to Anchorage in 1971 from Washington, D.C., where she had enjoyed exploring the area by bicycle. She was astonished to find that Anchorage had no trail system that would allow residents to connect with the outdoors, explore the greenbelts or view the mountains. Her vision was a trail system that would connect children to schools, parks and libraries without having to be driven. When three hundred enthusiastic people turned out for the “bike in” event she organized, Lanie and the Bike Committee went to work. In 1973, the group succeeded in getting a bond issue passed to finance construction of Anchorage’s first paved trail, the four-mile Chester Creek Trail.
Lanie has been an activist in a myriad of local and statewide issues. She considers her work on the Anchorage Citizens Committee for Goals and Objectives for the Comprehensive Plan in 1973 to be some of the most important work she has undertaken. She was one of the original volunteer staff, and, later, board member of the Alaska Center for the Environment; president, Parks and Recreation Council of Anchorage, 1972-78; Parks and Recreation Commission, 1981-85; on the original KSKA Board, 1978-81; organized the original eight community councils and created the Federation of Community Councils; member of the Town Square Advisory Committee (after successfully fighting to save Town Square Park); founder of the downtown Anchorage Saturday Market and Market Master for three years; helped start the optional school choice program and served on the parents’ committee for Chugach Optional School. Lainie also served on the Performing Arts Center Board of Directors; South Addition Community Council member and president; ACLU Board of Directors; and on the citizens committee to develop the master plan for the Park Strip. Gov. Hammond appointed her to the State Growth Policy Council and the State Investment Advisory Board (which drew up the legislation creating the Permanent Fund). Gov. Knowles appointed her to the TRAAK (Trails and Recreational Access for Alaska) Board and, in 1995, appointed her to be chair. She was also appointed to the Statewide Charitable Gaming Task Force to advise on regulations for this industry. Lanie currently serves on the Task Force, Anchorage Veteran’s Memorial Committee and continues to be active in the South Addition Community Council.
Lanie raised three children in Anchorage. Over the years, she has used the trail system as a skier, runner, biker, hiker and even as a roller blader. In her professional life, she was the executive director, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Anchorage, 1990-2005.
Lanie, considered to be the “Mother of the Trail System,” was recognized and honored by the mayor and assembly in 1994 when it named that initial trail the “Lanie Fleischer Chester Creek Trail”. For her civic work, she has received a number of awards, including the Woman of Achievement, Anchorage YWCA; Ethics Award, East Anchorage Rotary; Woman of Distinction, Soroptimists International of Anchorage; State Senate citation for initiating a world-class trail system; and Jay Rabinowitz Public Service Award, Alaska Bar Association.
Lanie’s sense of civic responsibility and involvement sets a standard for activists throughout Alaska. Reflecting on her experience, she advises that if you speak up with a good idea, others will join in; you need not be an expert to make a meaningful contribution; to be a leader means that you must have followers. Lanie knew her vision had been realized when she heard two young boys playing in Goose Lake say “we just saw this trail and followed it; we never knew there was a lake here.”
Carolyn Floyd is a leader and advocate in education and municipal government. She was instrumental in starting the Kodiak Community College, serving as its first president from 1969 to 1987 and growing the college from a few small classes in the Kodiak High School to a comprehensive community college program located on its own 57-acre campus. In recognition of her legacy, the college library is named in her honor. Floyd also served as mayor of the City of Kodiak for l8 consecutive years. Throughout these years she served on and chaired both statewide and national boards, educating officials throughout the nation about Alaska and its distinctive issues.
Floyd’s love of education and community has shaped her life and that of the City of Kodiak. Her love for Kodiak began in l955 when she arrived there as a young bride with her husband Joe, a teacher. The couple settled there for good in l963 to teach at Kodiak High School – Carolyn now with her own degree in business education. In l966 she completed her master’s in business education and became an “adjunct instructor” for the University of Alaska Off-Campus Programs in Kodiak. Classes were held in the high school. At first there were few students and instructors, but Floyd immediately saw the need and possibilities for a full time college in Kodiak. “I didn’t see this as an impossible challenge,” she recalls. “I just wanted to get a real college going here.” And she did. Students who wanted more opportunity came to the classes and invited their friends. She convinced the university that a community college could be successful in Kodiak, and in l969 Carolyn Floyd was appointed the first campus president of the new Kodiak Community College. She served as president for l8 years, convincing the Kodiak Borough to set aside land for the college, attracting new instructors and new students and arranging financing for new buildings. The Kodiak College Carolyn Floyd Library, located on campus, was dedicated in l989.
A successful college requires community support and Floyd worked to build that support. She was so well respected that in l993 she was asked to run for mayor of the City of Kodiak. She served as mayor for the next 18 consecutive years. In her first term as mayor she was instrumental in establishing the Kodiak Multicultural Forum which includes representatives from Kodiak’s many ethnic groups and continues to be active today.
During these years she also served as president and board member of the Alaska Municipal League, president and member of the Alaska Conference of Mayors, board member of the National League of Cities, and member of the National League of Cities Advisory Council, a position she still holds today.
Among her many honors, Floyd was listed in “Who’s Who in International Education” (1985); awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Education, University of Alaska Anchorage (l989); awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Alaska Municipal League (2003) and a Community Leaders of America Award by the same organization (l990); Certificate of Achievement in Leadership Excellence, National League of Cities (2008) and honored as one of six finalists for the Women in Municipal Government Award, National League of Cities (2010).
Pat Branson, mayor of Kodiak, who nominated Floyd for the Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame on behalf of the City of Kodiak, says, “Carolyn has worked to improve programs and services for citizens for nearly 50 years. Her legacy will serve Alaskans for many years to come. Carolyn Floyd leads with honesty, strength, dignity and grace. She has served as a role model throughout her professional life.”
Carolyn and Joe Floyd will soon celebrate their 57th wedding anniversary. They have four children: Virginia, JoeMax, Scott and Patrick.
Lucy is an educator, curriculum developer, businesswoman and accomplished rabble-rouser for all feminist causes. Raised in Missouri, she earned a bachelors degree in education, masters degrees in English and history, and a doctorate in women’s history. She lived in Alaska from 1957-1993. She taught school for 18 years, was the Social Studies Coordinator for the Anchorage School District and co-owned the Alaska Women’s Bookstore. She and her colleagues established “The Learning Tree,” a consulting firm that created curriculum and trained teachers from Barrow to Ketchikan. She helped found the Alaska Women’s Political Caucus and the Alaska Women’s Resource Center. Many remember her for fermenting feminist causes in her living room under the aegis of “Sing Alongs” and potluck dinners.
Lucy is the recipient of many awards for advancing women’s rights across Alaska. One of the proudest aspects of her life was the opportunity to work with youngsters – both boys and girls – teaching them that women are equal and that girls can do whatever they aspire to do.