Florence Lorraine Tallman Lancashire

Posted: Tuesday, April 18, 2000

Longtime Alaska resident and Soldotna homesteader Florence "Rusty" Lorraine (Tallman) Lancashire died Tuesday, April 11, 2000, at Central Peninsula General Hospital in Soldotna. She was 80.

Services were held April 15.

Mrs. Lancashire was born May 12, 1919, in Pontiac, Ill., located in Livington County. She was educated through high school. On June 19, 1948, she moved to Alaska to homestead. In the mid-1950s, she worked as a clerk in the Kenai Commercial store, she started and owned the first travel agency in Kenai and she was the first rural route mail carrier for North Kenai. She also ran Larry's Club and the Maverick with her husband of 58 years, Larry Lancashire. Mr. Lancashire died in December 1997.

Mrs. Lancashire was a member of the Kenai Art Guild, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Elks Club. She also served on the board of directors of the Kenai Community Library in 1949. She worked for statehood and was an alternate to the Constitutional Convention for the new state of Alaska.

Her hobbies included pottery and playing bridge.

Her homesteading stories began the day she arrived in Kenai by plane with her three daughters.

A former model for Montgomery Wards, Mrs. Lancashire was dressed to the nines, after a long absence from her husband. She stepped off the plane wearing platform shoes and a hat with her dress. Neither she nor the Pacific Northwest Airlines pilot who brought her to Kenai thought she'd be here long.

In a 1998 interview, Mrs. Lancashire relayed the pilot's parting comment: "The pilot, Sig, said 'I'll see you in a week.' Then, I didn't think I'd be here very long either."

The wall tent she found at the homestead on Pickle Hill wasn't what she had expected, but she didn't leave.

In 1954, a man from Better Homes and Gardens knocked on the family's cabin door and asked to do a story about the city folks turned homesteaders. The family was featured in the February 1955 issue of the magazine.

Mrs. Lancashire lived on the homestead for 52 years and was known for her contributions to the farming, educational and economic development of both the Kenai and Soldotna areas.

"She will long be remembered for her wit, her entertaining stories, her charm and style and her service to others," her family said.

Mrs. Lancashire is survived by her daughters and their husbands, Martha and Donald Merry, Lorraine and David Mackstaller, and Abby and Harry Ala; grandchildren, Robert Seitz, James Seitz, Erin Brownell, Martha Ferreira, Amy Seitz, Samuel Merry, Gabrielle Merry, Natasha Johnson, Nicole Shelden, Eero Ala, Amber Cefalio, Kyra Ala, Owen Ala, Brook Ala, David Ulfers, Kimberly Ulfers, Grant Perry, Tamara Johnson, Adam Mackstaller and Wells Mackstaller; great-grandchildren, Jesse Milhiser, Jentry Milhiser, Isabelle Seitz, Maya Johnson, Kier Johnson, Taylor Shelden, Emily Ala and Ashley Ala; brother, Richard Tallman; and sisters, Jayne Brunskill and Vernette Kirkpatrick.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to the Kenai Community Library, 163 Main Street Loop, Kenai, AK 99611.

Arrangements were made by Peninsula Memorial Chapels.

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