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“Worriness is a bad sickness, makes all people get sick.”
“All my life I wanted to let them know. We need a calm day, a happy day all the time.”
From urban hospitals to rural clinics, Alaskans knew Della Keats, an Inupiat healer, as one who possessed a special “power” for healing the sick. At an early age, Della Keats became interested in human anatomy and folk medicine. She healed many Alaskans through traditional knowledge, personal observations, and reflection. She loved to teach people her “inupaiq ways of wellness.”
Born to wealth Louise Kellogg spent her lifetime spreading her energy, enthusiasm and benevolence to many causes. Her spirit of adventure led her to Alaska, and her love of hard work made her Spring Creek Farm into one of Alaska’s most productive dairy farms. Today, that farm houses Alaska Pacific University’s campus and education farm. Kellogg was a die-hard Republican, one of the few female pilots of the day, an Alaska pioneer and above all else, an extremely generous woman.
In June 1973 Kellogg created the DeWolf-Kellogg Trust, setting aside 700 acres in the Matanuska Valley for the use of the newly established Alaska Methodist University (now Alaska Pacific University). She wanted a place for students to come and be with nature. “Let there be no doubt about it. My aim is to protect the land for use by private educational institutions, for without the serenity of fields and woods, animals and friendly birds in their natural setting, a private educational institution can offer only book learning, not real education.”
At age 94 Kellogg received the 1997 Alaskan of the Year Denali Award. She has also been awarded an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from APU in 1984 and was the honored guest in the public celebration in Palmer on Memorial Day 2001 as Alaska’s oldest surviving veteran of World War II.
With a degree in English from Vassar in 1925 she left Chicago for California where her interests extended to the sky as she became a pilot and a member of the Powder Puffs. Some of her flights were across the country from California to Florida. Her time was divided between flying and volunteer work, serving as volunteer chair of the Outpatient Clinic of the Pasadena Hospital.
When World War II arrived, Kellogg enlisted in the Women’s Army Corps in 1942 and was classified as a miscellaneous specialist. She first worked in classification and assignment of new personnel, but after just 18 months she went to officers’ school. Her main duty became the creation of a record of personal experiences of all the outfits of the WAC. Her time in the war was spaced over England, Germany and France. In 1945 she received an honorable discharge as a major.
Kellogg’s interest in farming came from her father, LeRoy DeWolf Kellogg, who had a farm on which the family would spend summers when she was growing up, and she brought that love of farming to Alaska in 1948. In Alaska no farmer would sell land to a single woman, especially one without farming experience, so Kellogg bought an unfinished farm of 240 acres, 10 cows, an incomplete barn and a cabin. As the farm grew, buildings were added, all of them she had personally designed. Soon she had the most extensive, state-of-the-art milking barn in Alaska. It included a loafing parlor to let the cattle in out of the snow. Local farmers who mocked her new facility were shocked as her farm quickly became successful and produced some of the best milk in the Mat-Su valleys. As other farms failed or farmers chose to leave Alaska, Kellogg bought up the land. At its height, Spring Creek Farm had more than 1,000 acres and milked more than 120 cows.
This woman’s interest stretched throughout Alaska. Kellogg was not someone to sit at home and knit. Her free time was filled with volunteer work or a variety of committee meetings. She wanted to have her hand in everything and was not a woman who could be “bossed around”. In 1957 she began to serve on the Board of Trustees for AMU. She felt that a private education was much better than one gained from a state school.
Kellogg was a leader in the Mat-Su valleys’ dairy industry and was instrumental in shaping the young Matanuska-Susitna Borough. She served as the only woman on the first Assembly (1963-1966). She ran for a seat in the state Legislature in the early 1970s, and was a trustee of Occidental College and the Palmer Public Library. Much of her energy was devoted to Joe Redington and his struggles in starting the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. She was also a member of the Mat-Su Valley Health Council, Mat-Su Taxpayers Association Board, Valley Hospital Association Board, Valley Hospital Foundation Board, Palmer Historical Society, Pioneers of Alaska Auxiliary No. 11 and the Arctic Institute of North America. She was involved in a committee that helped prevent billboards from being placed on highways in Alaska. Always interested in politics, Kellogg was very active in the Mat-Su Republican Women’s Club and the Republican Party in the valley.
Kellogg stopped dairy farming in 1980 but remained active in her many organizations and in life itself. Her family claims she drove like a “bat out of hell” until her license was taken away because she was 90 going 90. She was always an avid hostess and had many guests at her farm over the years.