One of Alaska's oldest citizens dies

Posted: Thursday, November 01, 2001

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Lucy Adams, who lived in Alaska for all 107 years of her life, died Sunday in Fairbanks.

Born July 6, 1894, in Kechumstuk, a village that used to exist off the Taylor Highway in Interior Alaska, Adams lived a subsistence lifestyle. She was married to Alfred Adams, originally from Moosehide, Yukon Territory.

Lucy Adams never attended school but she made her mark in life through her love for others and her big family, said her grandson, Danny Adams, chief of the village of Tetlin.

Adams had lived in Fairbanks since the early 1980s when her husband died. She had 12 children, six grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren and 10 great-great-grandchildren. She outlived all but one of her children, Cora David of Tetlin.

''She taught us compassion and love,'' Danny Adams said. ''This family was blessed to have her. She was our teacher, mentor and mother. She put a lot of faith in giving us spiritual beliefs. We will carry the torch for her.''

Although Lucy Adams spoke little English she was fluent in Upper Tanana Athabascan.

Growing up in Alaska in the late 1800s and early 1900s was not easy and Lucy Adams made sure her family remembered that, Danny Adams said.

''She never tasted sugar until the 1930s,'' he said. But later in life, Adams had an affinity for orange soda. It was likely her traditional diet and lifestyle that contributed to her long life, Adams said.

Adams' granddaughter Evelyn Paul of Tetlin said she learned her Native dialect and survival from Lucy Adams. ''She just loved the subsistence lifestyle, blueberry picking, fishing and beading.''

Another granddaughter, Alice Silas of Fairbanks, said she believed Adams may have been several years older than 107.

''The BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs) assigned her a birthday. We think she might be older,'' Silas said.

Services are planned for Saturday at 2 p.m. in Tetlin, where a funeral, burial and traditional Native potlatch will be held.

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