Barbara Elliott in her garden with Miss Goose after they won the Edith Lee Award in 2003. Dimitra Lavrakas

Remembering Barbara Elliott, 1928-2005
Barbara June Elliott was born on March 27, 1928, in Batavia, New York to Vernon Paul and Clara Goff. The lights went out just as she was being born and since everyone knew how much her father wanted a boy, she was briefly known as Vernon Paul Goff II. The mid-wife was putting a diaper on the baby when the lights came back on when the proud parents heard her gasp, “He lost his tassel!” He was then dubbed Barbara June Goff and that name stuck. Barbara was the middle child of three girls.
At the age of 171/2, Barbara traveled to Washington, DC to take a job with the Navy Department as a file clerk. After she was hired it was learned that she had lied about her age and was not old enough to be employed there, but she convinced them to let her stay. After all, the government had spent the money to bring her to Washington DC! One of her favorite memories from that time was running into Admiral Nimitz…literally…on a day when she was late for work. Barbara was in DC for V.E. Day.
Barbara moved to California where she met her first husband, Stan, who was stationed at March Air Force Base. When he was transferred to England, she gladly went with him. Her love of travel was evident even then. Her son, Terry, was born there. Five years later, back in California, her daughter Debbie was born.
Barbara and Debbie moved to Las Vegas in 1962. Barbara began working at Peter Pan Playschool where she was known as Miss Barbara and taught preschool for 14 years. She taught the two-year-olds and by the time they left her class, they knew their full name, phone number, address, the Pledge of Allegiance and the names of ALL the planets! She also acted as the lifeguard at the Playschool and taught many children how to swim. Debbie remembers standing outside the gate to the swimming pool in the hot Las Vegas sun while Barbara took her sweet time swimming around the pool “checking the temperature” before letting the kids in to cool off.
In 1975, Barbara took a cruise to Alaska. She arrived in Skagway on the Prince George and fell in love. She went home and announced to Debbie that they were moving to Skagway. Debbie was not too keen on the idea since she was just starting her senior year at Las Vegas High School. Barbara stayed long enough for Debbie to finish school, then, as she liked to say, “she ran away from home.” Skagway has been her home since 1976.
Barbara spent many years working at Skagway Hardware; and then Kirmse’s. After she “retired” she opened her own business, Barb’s Bookkeeping, and took care of many local accounts. She operated her business until about two years ago when she had her first of three strokes and could no longer write legibly.
Barbara loved both cats and birds. She would tie suet in her trees so that she and her cats could watch the bird eat. She also loved to garden and spent many hours working in her yard. She was the proud recipient of the Edie Lee Award for the most beautiful garden in Skagway in 2003. It was a wonderful moment in her life.
Barbara’s love of traveling took her on a memorable trip to Hong Kong with her friends, Mary, Joyce, and Margaret. Alone she traveled to Australia, Russia (in the days of the Soviet Union), and Europe visiting Budapest in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Germany.
Barbara was an active member of the Skagway Senior Citizens group. You would often see her arriving at the post office or the grocery store in the Senior van, a vehicle of independence for her. She never had a driver’s license.
Barbara was a dedicated Democrat in a Republican family and she never hesitated to voice her opinion…and she was not Pro Road!
Barbara was an active member of the Order of the Eastern Star, Naomi Chapter #9. In recent years she held the offices of treasurer and sentinel.
Standing watch by Barbara at her service was her yard sentinel, Miss Goose…Goosie to her friends. Miss Goose sat in Barbara’s yard where she attracted much attention with her sense of fashion and various outfits designed for any occasion.
Miss Goose recently took a trip down to Juneau with Deb Boettcher, Su Rappleye, and Connie Conard to visit Barbara in the hospital. She forgot her glasses and Skagway Air held the flight while someone ran home to retrieve them. She brought a smile to Barbara’s face as she modeled her newest outfits. Mother Goose (which she was wearing)…a wedding ensemble complete with pearls. Barbara lovingly released Miss Goose into Debbie’s care and Debbie brought Miss Goose, attired in her BBQ outfit, home with her…after all it was Memorial Day and doesn’t everyone BBQ Memorial Day!
Barbara June Elliott passed away on Tuesday evening, June 14 at Bartlett Memorial Hospital in Juneau, Alaska. She is survived by her eldest sister Juanita Winton, son Terry, and wife Debbie; daughter Debbie’s husband Ron; two granddaughter, Amber and Wendy, and a great-grandson, Thomas, the apple of her eye. She also leaves behind her two cats, Precious and Jewell, and her many friends in Skagway.
– Submitted by her family

Betty Herpst memorial June 24

A memorial service for long-time Skagway resident Betty Herpst, who died on Jan. 1, 2005, will be held on Friday, June 24 at 7 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church.