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Long time and well known Alaska Philanthropist Mary Louise Milligan Rasmuson passed away on Monday at the age of 101.
Rasmuson moved to Alaska in 1962 after marrying Elmer Rasmuson, the chairman of the National Bank of Alaska.
Elmer, who was born in Yakutat, became the president of the bank in 1943 when his fatherEdward became to sick to continue.
By 1954, Elmer and his brother-in-law Robert Atwood, invested in oil exploration on the Kenai Peninsula and woudl realize huge profits when oil was discovered in 1957 near the Swanson River.
Elmer and his mother established the Rasmuson Foundation in 1955. In 1960, Elmer’s first wife succumbed to cancer and Elmer remarried in 1961, this time to Mary Louise Milligan.
Mary Louise would, in 1967 become involved in the Foundation and would continue to regularly attend board meetings well into the next century.
In 1968, her work would lead to the establishment of the Anchorage Museum of History and Art. She was able to take part in the ribbon cutting ceremony of the expanded museum two years ago.
Through the years, the Rasmuson Foundation has donated well over $200 million to non-profit groups in the state. Their legacy does not end there, besides Alaska, the Rasmusons contributed money to the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian and to the Benaroya Research Institute of Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle.
Besides serving on the Rasmuson Foundation’s Board of Directors, she also served on the American Cancer Society’s board as well as the Anchorage Museum Foundation and the Anchorage Fine Arts Commission and numerous other clubs and organizations.
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