Johanne ‘Jo’ Sandra Ask
March 1934 - February 2012
Born in Skagway March 14, 1934, daughter of Skagway merchant Harry G. Ask and Irma Williams Ask, Johanne passed away February 20, 2012, at 77 after a courageous battle with ovarian cancer. Jo relished the outdoors and fished, skied, snow shoed, biked, hiked, and boated throughout her life. After Harry moved his family south, Johanne played the saxophone at West Seattle High, (class of 1952). A strong swimmer, Jo was a lifeguard at Lake Chelan and a camp counselor at Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho.
When she graduated from Washington State University in 1956 (Tri-Delta Sorority and synchronized swim team), Jo embarked on her adventurous life. In Japan she climbed Mt. Fuji, her first of many successful climbs. She worked for the Army Special Services in Sendai and Tokyo, exploring India and SE Asia on her own before returning to the US. Johanne used her degree to teach fifth grade, her favorite group of students.
Johanne climbed Mt. Rainier in Washington, and charted a new direction in 1982, moving north to Juneau. Her adventures continued with two treks over the Chilkoot Trail (first pass accompanied by her 14-year-old son) and riding her bicycle the length of the Dempster Highway to Inuvik in the Canadian Arctic. Jo descended the Yukon River from Whitehorse to Dawson in a canoe. She built her own kayak, and was often seen paddling through the maritime beauty of Gastineau Channel. Jo loved attending Fireside, Audubon, Evenings at Egan, Mendenhall Glacier Visitor’s Center programs (where she often took her grandchildren), and Mt. Roberts Tramway Tlingit presentations.
A scout leader, Jo created a Girl Scout Camp Songs book and encouraged her son all the way to Eagle Scout. Shge was a Mmmber of Sons of Norway Svalbard Lodge, Resurrection Lutheran Church, Pioneers of Alaska Women’s Igloo #6, and Gastineau Channel Historical Society. Jo was honored by the National Ski Patrol with a special commendation for many years of dedicated service, most recently tending injuries in the first aid room at Eaglecrest Ski Area.
Jo traveled much of Alaska via the ferry system. She loved going to Evergreen and Skagway Cemeteries to honor deceased relatives, and had a tree planted on the road from the Skagway Ferry terminal to town in memory of her father.
Jo was quietly gratified by helping children and families while working for the State of Alaska. She loved collecting and reading Alaskan and Scandinavian history, literature, music and dance. Everyone enjoyed her sweet fun-loving nature, artistic creativity and love for all things Alaskan.
Johanne is survived by her brother Charles Ask (Leada); daughter Kristin Robertson (Graham); son Stefan Nelson (Olivia); grandsons Graham, Stefan and Anton; granddaughter Olivia Marie; cousins John Holmquist (Kathy) and Chris Roust (Gail); niece Karla Schultz, nephew Rick Ask, and a community of many friends who miss her.
A Celebration of Jo’s life will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 5 at Resurrection Lutheran Church in Juneau.
— Submitted by the family