Irene E. Erickson, 1926-2008
Longtime Alaska resident Irene Erickson passed January 6, 2008, in Juneau with her children by her side. She was 81.
Born July 4, 1926 to Ukrainian parents, Steve and Lydia Bokovoy, Irene was raised in Max, North Dakota. Working as a telegraph operator for the railroad in Washington, she met and married Pete Erickson. They were blessed with five children, moving to Alaska aboard the F/V Irene E in search of “a little more elbow room up north” to raise their family. With the vessel needing a few repairs in May 1967, Petersburg seemed a good place to plant their Alaska roots.
Irene commercial fished and worked in the industry for many years. Because of her unique and remarkable ability to make just about anything taste great, she was urged to open “Irene’s Restaurant” in Petersburg and later “Irene’s Inn” in Skagway. She will long be remembered for her homemade soups and pies. Irene was truly an Alaskan pioneer and touched lives of many.
After the passing of Pete in 1984, Irene pursued her quest of travel, once visiting 35 states in less than six weeks, in an attempt to earn state stickers for her motorhome. Aside from her extensive U.S. travel, she made many visits to Mexico and Canada including a memorable six week trip to Australia.
She was preceded in death by her parents, husband Pete and sisters Jeanette Rice and Lila Schirmann.
She is survived by: brothers Robert and Roy Bokovoy; sister, Betty Ganje; son Steve, daughter Judy, son Mike and wife Bonnie, Sue Hosford and husband Mike, and daughter Kathy Hosford and husband Fred; grandchildren Stephanie, Rachel, Becky, Jim, Heather, Jared, Clint, Desi, Eric and Christy; great grandchildren Joey, Kelsie, Brittni, Tyler, Devin, Mike, Jesse, Andrew, Camden, Carson, Kali and Aiden.
Services were held at the Alaskan Memorial Park in Juneau on Jan. 11 followed by a reception at Mike Erickson’s home/ Concluding services were held Jan. 13 at Petersburg Bible Church with a graveside service at her final resting place next to Pete. A celebration of her life followed at the Petersburg Moose Lodge.
A memorial fund has been created in honor of Irene to help create awareness of PAD disease through the American Heart Assoc., 3700 Woodland Dr., Suite 700, Anchorage, Alaska 99517.

Shirley W. Jonas, 1926-2008
Former Skagway resident Shirley Wilson Jonas died January 28, 2008 at her home in Oregon after a long illness. Shirley was born in Lansing, Mich. on January 28, 1926. She attended Michigan State University. In 1946 she married William Watts. They were divorced after their son’s birth in 1947. During the post-WWII years Shirley was employed as an artist and fashion model in Detroit and New Orleans. In 1956 she married Raphael Snowden of Detroit. They lived in Plymouth, Mich. where their children were born. Snowden died in 1965. She married Bernard von Plessen Jonas in 1966. The Baron von Plessen died in 1994.
Shirley had a lifelong interest in paranormal activity. She founded Barrie Parapsychology Associates in Barrie, Ontario and Michigan Society of Psychical Research in Lansing, Mich. and established The Winnower, a booking agency for psychic fairs and speakers, in Michigan and California. She authored two published non-fiction books, Ghosts of the Klondike, and Now Is The Hour while living in Skagway and Edmonton. This work, coupled with studies of archeology, genealogy and American Indian culture, brought lifelong international friends into her life. She was a caring, lifelong correspondent with many. Shirley moved to Grants Pass, Ore. in 2002.
She is survived by her brother Tom Wilson of Ava, Missouri, a sister Frances Turney of Grants Pass, two sons, Anthony Watts of Coarsegold, Calif., and Harry Snowden of Selma, Ore., a daughter and son-in-law Winifred and Edward Green of Coalhurst, Alberta, Canada, three step-children, Yvonne Roth and Bruce and Max Jonas of Ohio, nine grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Her daughter, Leslie Wyman of Grants Pass, preceded her in death in September, 2007.
A memorial service and internment of ashes will be held at St. Katherine’s Episcopal Church in Williamston, Michigan, in July.
Gifts may be given in her memory to Lovejoy Hospice with warm thanks for their loving care, or to Josephine County Humane Society in grateful appreciation for the companionship of all animals.