OBITUARIES

Barbara McNeill, 1958-2007

Skagway resident Barbara Lynn (Denney) MacNeill died on May 7, 2007 in Anchorage, Alaska after a battle with cancer.
She was born on March 25, 1958 in Tacoma, Washington, and lived in Skagway for the past six years. She had worked at Sgt. Preston’s Lodge the past four years.
Barbara leaves behind her husband of 28 years, Dale MacNeill, of Skagway; son Dennis MacNeill and family of Spokane; sisters Karen Taylor of Puyallup, Wash., Deborah Blakeley of Spannaway, Wash., and Cindy Watts of Puyallup, Wash; and four grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held on June 23 at 1 p.m. at the Presbyterian Church. Memorial gifts are being accepted. No flowers, please.

Cheryl M. Benze,1958-2007
Cheryl Marie Benz passed away May 28, 2007 at her home in Pine Lake, Georgia after almost a four year struggle with cancer. She was 49 years old. Cheryl is survived by her husband Steve, daughter Rachael and husband Jeremy Sheres of Atlanta, sons Nathan and Steve who are attending college. She is also survived by her mother, “Tooky” Soldin Harlow and husband Douglas Harlow of Gig Harbor, Wash., her father Les Griffin and wife Judy, of Sun City West, Ariz., her brother Bob Griffin and wife Chinh of Eagle River, her sister Deborah and husband Keith Dorff of Ithaca, NY, her sister “Tish” and husband Marvin Lagerwey of Oroville, Wash., her Aunt Irene Henricksen of Skagway.
Cheryl, who is a descendant of the pioneer Skagway Hukill family had numerous nieces, nephews and cousins, Vickie and Amanda Griffin of Eagle River, Andy Lyman of Albuquerque, N.M., Keith Knorr and Thor Henricksen of Skagway, Tim and Bob Henricksen of Juneau, Lori Soldin Mitchell and “Bubby” Soldin of Anchorage, Marvin Knorr of Edgewood, Kent., Mark Knorr of Folsom, Cali., and Rick Soldin of Kingsport, Tenn.
Cheryl Griffin attended high school in Anchorage, but graduated from Curtis High School in University Place, Wash., received her bachelors degree from Whitworth College, in Spokane, her masters degree from University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and her Doctor of Education degree from Florida International University in Miami. Cheryl, who wanted to be a missionary, started her teaching career as a grade school teacher in the Hispanic area of Chicago, then to Albuquerque, Guatemala, Dade Community College and Florida International University in Miami, and until November was Chair of the Foreign Language and English as a Second Language Department at Georgia Perimeter College in Atlanta. She has written several texts on English as a second language and recently written one with her husband, Dr. Stephen Benz that will be published later this year.
In 2005 she received the TESOL Lifetime Achievement Award in Los Angeles. While teaching at Miami Dade College she was featured in a full page ad in the Miami Tribune as “What it takes to be a good teacher.” Her son Nathan said of her, “She always saw potential in people and things (old houses).”
Cheryl’s father, Les Griffin worked summers in Customs in Skagway when Cheryl was little and she spent her summers here. Later he was in Customs in Juneau where Cheryl started school, in Anchorage where Cheryl attended high school. and in Tacoma, where Cheryl graduated from Curtis High School. The summer of l978, Cheryl spent in Skagway working as hostess in the dining room at the Westmark and at Kirmse’s and stayed with her great aunt and uncle, Goldie and Duncan Hukill. That September she married Steven Benz in Spokane. Jean Worley made her wedding dress.
Cheryl saw much of the world in her short life, but always considered she was an Alaskan and chose that her ashes should come to rest in Skagway. Her husband Steve, will bring them next summer.
A scholarship has been set up in Benz’s name. Checks should be made out to GPA Foundation earmarked for CHERYL BENZ SCHOLARSHIP. Mail to: Erica Hart, GPA Foundation, 3251 Panthersville Rd., Decatur, GA 30014
Each year the scholarship money will go to an international student who contributes to community service. Contributions also may be sent to the American Cancer Society earmarked for Ovarian Cancer Research.