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KODIAK-This weekend, Kodiak was bustling with birthday parties as two of Kodiakâ€™s well-known women and their families and friends celebrated many wonderful years of life.
Thelma Johnson celebrated her 90th birthday at the Elks in downtown Kodiak on Saturday, July 23rd. The festivities there started with Happy Hour at 5pm followed by a buffet dinner featuring turkey and ham. Over 150 friends and family attended the “No gifts” event, bringing cards, flowers and chocolates. A memory book was available at the entrance, it was filled with stories and well wishes from those in attendance. The party was Wildflower themed with center-piece arraignments selected by Thelma’s sister-in-law Linda Madsen. The birthday cake from Mill Bay Coffee bakery featured wildflowers as well.
Some of the many people who attended the observance of Thelma’s birthday included her brother, retired Judge, Roy Madsen, Her daughter Rita and her daughter’s husband Senator Gary Stevens, and grand-daughter Anna Stevens, as well as another grandson, Mathew Stevens from Los Angeles, and Natalie Stevens from Anchorage. Her son, the Chairman of Koniag, Inc, Chris Johnson and his wife Nancy attended from Seattle. Many of her nieces and nephews made it to the party as well.
Many long-time friends also made it to see Thelma on Saturday, Carol Wenholtz-Breeden made it in from Friday Harbor, as did Jim and Beth Fulford from Apple Valley, Minnesota. Another Kodiak “Old-Timer,” John Hughes and his daughter, Mary Kay Hughes and her husband Andy Eker made it to town for the event as well. Kodiak Representative Alan Austerman and Kodiak Mayor Carolyn Floyd also showed up to convey their well wishes.
After a wonderful dinner, champagne flutes were filled and a microphone was passed through the room allowing the guests to make toasts, tell stories and to offer well wishes. Stories abounded of her early years in Kodiak. It was high-lighted by a letter written and read by her sister-in-law, Linda Madsen.
Thelma would like to thank all who attended, sent cards and left messages. She says that she “is feeling very loved and special and was overjoyed to celebrate her 90th with so many dear friends and family members.” Her son, Chris Johnson says that, “She is looking forward to another big party for her 100th.”
Another party, this one on Sunday, July 24th, was held at Kalsin Bay, at the home of Roy and Lita Ecklund, where Lita and an abundance of her family and friends celebrated her 80th birthday, which falls on Tuesday, July 26th. The indoor/outdoor festivities began at 12 noon and lasted throughout the afternoon. The weather cooperated and was unusually nice.
The party, organized by Barbara Daniels-Lita’s sister, Barbara Woodruff, wife of long-time socially active, Dave Woodruff, and Jeanne Freil, sported a Salmon Barbeque, cooked by her husband, Roy, and Perok baked by her daughter Lydia Lohse. The cake, a wonderful, orange flavored Fuzzy Navel Cake topped with peaches was made by Jody Spivey.
A large collage of photos representing 70 years of Lita’s life was presented to her by Barbara Woodruff, which inspired many conversations and comments.
The event was attended by family, that included Barbara Daniels-Lita’s sister, Barbara Bundy and Donna Marshall-Lita’s nieces, two of Lita’s grandsons were also at the event, Steven and Kevin Cawley and Kevin’s wife Pam.
Also in attendance was the birthday girl from the day before, Thelma Johnson, Senator Gary Stevens and his wife Rita, Chris Johnson and his wife Nancy. Bob Hatcher and other members of the Pioneers of Kodiak also made it to the event. As did life-long childhood friends, Julie Knagin and Phyllis Sundberg.
Lita enjoyed the celebration and had a wonderful time. Of her presents, she said, “My best present was my daughter showing up for my birthday.” Lydia Lohse had snuck in for the festivities and came with a big red bow on, wrapped for her mother, compliments of her other daughter Donna Cawley.