Family members report that former First Lady of Alaska, Ermalee Hickel, the wife of former Governor Walter Hickel, has passed away at the age of 92.
Ermalee died on Thursday afternoon with family and friends at her side, she had been suffering from health issues for weeks prior to her passing.
Mrs. Hickel became the state’s second First Lady when her husband Walter, became governor in 1969. She became Walter’s second wife two years after the passing of his first wife in 1943. She remained his wife for 65 years.
Like her husband, who passed away in 2010, Ermalee will be laid to rest at the Anchorage Memorial Park. Also, like her husband, Ermalee will be interred standing up and facing Washington D.C.
Governor Bill Walker ordered Friday, for all flags to be lowered to half-mast immediately, and to remain so until sunrise Tuesday morning.
“Alaska has lost a giant of history,” Governor Walker said. “As Governor Hickel used to say, Ermalee Hickel was most beautiful as a butterfly, but tougher than a boot. Donna, Byron, Toni, and I give our sincerest condolences to the Hickel family, and join them and all Alaskans in mourning the loss of a truly phenomenal woman.”