Longtime Sterling resident Ruth Elaine Wilkes died Thursday, May 31, 2007, at Central Peninsula Hospital in Soldotna. She was 79.
A viewing will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Wednesday, June 6 at Peninsula Memorial Chapel’s Soldotna Chapel, 35910 Jawle Street in Soldotna Behind Big John’s Tesero off the Sterling Highway. A funeral service will begin at 4 p.m., with the Rev. Keith Ikerd officiating. Pallbearers will include John Huessy, Jeter Hertz, Earnest Wilkes, Deryl Beckel, Bob Ross and Bobbie Morris. Additional services will be held at the Portland Pentecostal Church in Portland, Ore. and she will be buried next to her husband in Heppner, Ore.
Mrs. Wilkes was born August 15, 1927, to Edwin and Gladys Bjerke in Northwood, N.D., where she attended and graduated from high school. She moved to Alaska in 1968, living in Fairbanks until moving to Anchorage in 1971. She lived in Anchorage until 1990, then made Sterling her final home. She worked for the state of Alaska as a printer for 13 years until she retired in 1990. She enjoyed gardening, fishing and reading.
The family wrote, “She was the greatest mommy in the world. Ruth was one of the most caring, generous and loving persons ever known. Her heart was pure gold and her love engulfed not only her family, but also a host of friends. She came from a large Norwegian family of eight children and parents whose home often rang with laughter. We love you and will miss you greatly, our dearest momma Ruth.”
She was preceded in death by her husband, Earnest Wilkes Sr.
She is survived by five sisters and one brother; son, Earnest W. Wilkes Jr. of Sterling; daughters and sons-in-law, Mary and Nate Thurman of Keaau, Hawaii, Elaine and John Huessy of Oregon City, Ore., and Alice and Deryl Beckel of Sterling; 10 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.
Arrangements were made by Peninsula Memorial Chapel.
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