Longtime Alaska pioneer Helen Irene Erlwein died Sunday, July 21, 2002, at Alaska Regional Hospital in Anchorage of congestive heart failure. She was 81.
Her remains will be scattered Aug. 17 on the Kenai River.
Mrs. Erlwein was born Sept. 11, 1920, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. She met her future husband, Ted Erlwein Sr., in high school in Seattle. They married in 1941.
The family moved to Alaska in 1952, living in Sitka, Seward, Kodiak and Kenai. In 1957, they blazed the road that is now Forest Lane for a homestead on Longmere Lake in Soldotna.
They raised five children there, the first year with no electricity and no running water. The Erlweins managed construction camps in the 1960s and '70s. In 1971, they bought the Harbor View Restaurant in Kenai.
After her husband's death in 1976, Mrs. Erlwein worked as a baker at the Happy Horse Hotel on the North Slope and treated the construction workers to her specialty cakes and bear claws before retiring at age 66 when she returned to Soldotna to live on the bluff of the Kenai River.
Mrs. Erlwein enjoyed crocheting afghans for her family, entertaining her many friends and family who came to visit, and "just sitting and watching the Kenai River go by."
"Friends and family remember her generosity and kindness. She was 'Mom' to everyone who knew her," her family said.
Mrs. Erlwein was preceded in death by her husband, Ted Erlwein Sr., in 1976, and her oldest daughter, Barbara Taylor, in February 2002.
She is survived by her daughter, Beverly Walters of Corvallis, Ore.; daughters and sons-in-law Susan and Gary Davis of Soldotna and Kathleen and Tom Wood of Anchorage; son and daughter-in-law, Ted Erlwein Jr. and Terry Erlwein of Bishop, Calif.; grandchildren, Heidi Inman, Brian Davis, Karen O'Hara, Carol Davis, Kara Erlwein and Laura Walters; great-grandchildren, Alexandra, Brian and Caitlyn Inman and Aily O'Hara; sisters, Edith Watson, Kathleen Morrison and Rose Mahurin; and brothers, Leroy and Bill Maxwell.
Funeral arrangements were made with Evergreen Memorial Chapel in Anchorage.
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