Margaret Roberts obituary (1929 – 2021) – Fairbanks, AK

Mother was born on November 17, 1929, above Fort Yukon in Salmon River, the second child of Mary Elizabeth “Abbie” and Philip Peter. In its early years, the family traveled by dog ​​sled to and from Fort Yukon for supplies and schooling. Margaret enjoyed these trips. All the children would be tied up in the warm moose skin slide under skins and webs. Margaret attended public school until the fourth grade. She was out of school after that, so she was able to help take care of her younger siblings and support her mother and father. One year, the Marshal came to town to take the children to boarding schools. Philip Peter met him at the gate and told them his children were not going anywhere. We now know that they were all very lucky that Philip severely fired them. They stayed and went to school in Fort Yukon.
At the age of 17, mom went to work at the old Hudson Stuck Memorial Hospital. She worked 12 hours a day and was paid $ 1 a day. She shared many memories of working with very sick patients. In 1949, Fort Yukon suffered a devastating flood. Mom remembers the water from the river rolling along the banks towards the hospital. From the roof of the hospital, patients and workers watched the houses fly away. Mom said it was scary and sad.
Mom attended St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. His father Philippe was the ordained minister. One Sunday morning at church during the announcements, Hannah Solomon got up and announced that Margaret and Mardow would be married in August of the same year; that’s how mom found out she was getting married. When they got married, Mardow had $ 4 to her name. They were poor but with the support of their families they made do. Mom has done odd jobs in town to help support her family, still working to keep herself busy. Two years after their marriage, Bentley was born. Almost every year after that another child was born; Diane, Grafton Mardow Jr., Veronica, Phillip, Kevin, then Georgianna. Washable diapers, no running water, a wood stove, no television, just a radio – life was good and always busy.
Margaret and Mardow had a difficult marriage. Mom loved deeply, but the struggle became too difficult. Mardow joined the Carpenters Union and they moved to Fairbanks. Mom had two jobs at the same time. She worked at the old St. Joseph Hospital and Model D Cafe, sometimes after working all day. She was coming home and Hannah was taking her to bingo next to Anderson and Clear Air Force Staton. She was tired but never said no. Living in Fairbanks didn’t last long. The kids didn’t like it and he missed the house. Mom thought that if she moved her family to Canyon Village, her marriage would be healthier. She packed up her house and moved out. Canyon Village was wonderful; his sister Madeline also lived there. Caribou were plentiful and life was good. Mom learned to support her family on her own because Mardow did not follow. Mom later brought her family back to Fort Yukon and continued to raise children.
Mom opened a cafe in a room off her log cabin. The cafe, perhaps named Midnight Sun, was a popular evening hangout. Memories of the jukebox screaming as young couples danced, ladies in their go-go boots, puffy hairstyles and guys with oiled hair and straight jeans twisted or fluttered all night long. Margaret always had baked goods for sale in her window – pies, breads, cakes – and the place was always full of happy young people. Margaret worked as a food educator for a short time, teaching locals how to prepare healthy foods. Mom also taught traditional sewing in school or college. Many canvas boots, fur hats, and gun cases came out of his teachings. Mom made hats and boots for her family and friends until she was 91. Mom worked for BLM for many years. After turning 13, she decided to stop working and live on her subsistence. Mom was happier in the woods relaxing.
Mom met Sammy Roberts years later while raising her children on her own. Sammy stole mom’s heart. They were together for many years. He helped her hunt for her livelihood and provide for her children. In 1985, they adopted the most wonderful newborn baby, Johnny. He was 5 days old when he joined our family. He brings joy to our family and has taught us all to say openly that we love you. I love you more than a lot! Mom and Sammy got married a few years later. Mom said that whenever the military chaplain told Sammy to repeat after him, Johnny would laugh loudly, point a finger at Sammy and hold his belly rolling with laughter on the floor. Mom and Sammy both worked in our community teaching traditional values ​​and lifestyles. They were mentors to many in our village. We have all learned a lot from them.
Mom loved to celebrate birthdays. No matter who was celebrating her birthday in the village, she would bake them a cake, family or not. Mom was the most generous person. If anyone needed anything, she would help them. She said never to refuse anyone. If they need anything, give it to them. Mom made a point of visiting anyone who was sick and always brought them something to eat. One evening in the 1960s, Mom brought out her last package of moose meat to cook for her children. With a knock on the door, a little boy appeared with a note, “I have no food to cook for my children.” Mom wrapped up her last package of meat and gave it to the boy. She then went to the NC store and bought corned beef to cook for her family. We have never been hungry, even with a large family. She made do with what she had. Mom always had a clean house, food prepared, tea ready, children dressed and clean. Mom always dressed well with her lacy clothes, pretty jewelry, lipstick, and perfectly curly hair. Mom loved her scent and would often spray her brothers to tease them.
Mom’s house was one of the first houses to have a telephone, a rotary dial wall phone. It didn’t ring a lot, but we would often listen to calls from the party line until we got picked up or we got a collect call from someone who wanted to talk to a neighbor or ask us to call them. operator to call his landline. Not everyone had long distance so they would ask us to call the operator to call their phone so they could arrange a call.
Mom was a real lady and always presented herself well. She was always strong, healthy and independent and always prepared for the season to come with country foods. Mom especially loved her porcupine and her ground squirrel. She always kept one or two for her sister, Teresa Frost, and made them ready for him when she came down from Old Crow. There are two more in her freezer waiting for Teresa.
Summers were spent at the fishing camp where salmon was plentiful. She remembered them bringing back bundles and bundles of dried fish, then stored in the cache to be used sparingly so that they had enough for vacations and friends.
Mom loved to drive. In her early days, she used to bomb her Bridgestone motorcycle while wearing her cool stirrup pants, sleeveless tops and black sunglasses. Later, she drove her four-wheeler, zooming in all directions. The inhabitants knew how to watch her. She drove until May 2021, 91 years old.
Mom always said what she thought, she was a sane person. Say what you think. Sometimes I held my breath without knowing what she was about to say. She has always supported our people in everything they have done.
Mum will be remembered as a strong traditional Gwich’in woman. Very strong mom! She was everyone’s friend, caring, generous, classy, ​​caring, energetic, always stylish and she had the best sense of humor and loved to tease! She loved her 17 year old little dog Poochie and told her she would miss her.
Mom has planned her own service; she wasn’t ready to go until everything she had planned had happened. Mum’s presence will be missed, but we can find comfort in knowing that she now rejoices in Heaven and is no longer in pain. Her relatives greeted her at the pearly doors and welcomed her into her home.
Mom said she lived a long life and did whatever she wanted to do. She said she was ready and not afraid. Be happy and know that she is now where she dreamed to be, in her heavenly house in the clouds where pain and pain are no more. Mom said Gwiheezyaa ga doonchyaa! It will be fine!
Margaret is survived by her brother, Donald Peter; sister, Teresa (Harold) Frost; his sons, Bentley, Mardow Jr., Phillip, Kevin, Johnny and son-in-law Bob; daughters, Veronica, Georgie and stepdaughter Terry; grandchildren, Nathan, Vincent, Wally, Isaac, Owen (Dora), Isaiah, Jordan, Johnny, Chris (Andrea), Julianna (Ray), Alyssa and Dawson; great-grandchildren, Ben, Natalie, Alexis, Christian, Taya, Easton; goddaughter, Freda Joseph and Charlotte (Alexandre); and many nephews, nieces, cousins, friends and relatives across the Gwich’in Nation, Canada / Alaska.
Margaret is predeceased by her grandparents, Mae and Richard Martin; parents, Abbie and Philip Peter; siblings, Madeline (Stanley) Jonas, Zelma (Amos) Kelly, Ethel (Stephen) Frost, Jim (Charlotte) Peter, Johnny (Susie) Peter, twins, MacCarthur (Jinga) Peter; sister-in-law, Carolyn Peter; first husband, Mardow; second husband, Sammy; daughter, Diane; son Grafton and wife Patty; godmother Mary Thompson and goddaughter Anjanette Taylor.

Posted by Daily News-Miner on December 2, 2021.


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