Peninsula Reflections

Posted: Monday, October 23, 2006

Joanna Hollier says her dad told her what all women do is “get married and have babies.” She set out to prove him wrong. This Wisconsin farm girl got two jobs — one in a restaurant working from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m., the second at a dime store afternoons and evenings. When she had saved $200 she enrolled in the Radio, Television and Electronics Institute which prepared her for a position she took in Alaska. She learned there’s more out there than farm life — and a lot more money, too. Looking back, though, her father was partially right. Along with all her adventuring, she did get married and have babies. — Mary Ford with the Kenai Historical Society.

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  Joanna Hollier


The scary moose incident involving Ed and Joanna Hollier was forgotten a year later when friends celebrated New Years Eve in the Holliers basement.

Photo submitted by Joanna Hollie

I came to Alaska from Wisconsin in 1945. I say I was an original woman’s libber. I came up here as an air traffic controller and went to Talkeetna. I picked Talkeetna because they had potlucks Saturday nights and dances in the washroom.

Of course, remember, I was 20 years old and single.

Then I bid around on jobs and came to Kenai in August 1946. I met my husband here, Ed Hollier. He’s passed away now. Anyhow, I worked until our daughter Kathy was born in 1951.

Maybe I shouldn’t tell this, but it’s a typical Alaska story and is an example of my respect or fear of the law.


Joanna Hollier

Ed was working for the road commission and we homesteaded on Beaver Loop. He wouldn’t do anything illegal, afraid he’d lose his job, but our neighbor shot an illegal moose the day before the season opened in 1953 and got Ed to help him butcher it after he came home from work when it was dark.

Well, this particular day I’d been busy making “sandbakkles,” Norwegian cookies, and Gary was 3-months-old and he bawled all day long and here Ed’s out there doing an illegal thing and I’m scared to death.

About that time, I’m in the kitchen with a little propane light, we didn’t have electric lights, and a knock comes at the back door. And it’s another neighbor who never comes over to our place, so I just knew he was there to tell me that everybody’s gone to jail.

But he was just visiting. We had a cup of coffee and he left.

I looked out the window and here comes a jeep with a spotlight on it that was shooting all around. I’m so scared, I almost have a heart attack. But that turned out to be a friend, George Dennison. He’d picked up my sister who had come in to the Kenai airport. I didn’t know she was coming because we had no telephones, and he was just showing her my homestead.

Well, I don’t think I slept for three nights but the law never did catch up with us. We never EVER did anything else illegal, because it isn’t worth it!

Joanna Hollier is with the Kenai Historical Society.

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