Homer Alaska - Obituaries

Story last updated at 6:51 PM on Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Helen McCrary March

Oct. 20. 1915-Feb. 13, 2012


Helen McCrary March

A proud Alaska pioneer, Helen was born in McCarthy on Oct. 20, 1915, to Nelson and Mary McCrary. Her grandfather, John McCrary, first came to Alaska in 1898 and homesteaded in Copper Center in 1902. Helen attended grade school in Chitina, high school in Cordova, and graduated from the University of Alaska in Fairbanks in 1937. In college she was very active in student organizations, enjoyed education, history, anthropology and outdoor activities. Throughout high school and college she formed many strong friendships with other pioneers that endured throughout her life.

She married mining engineering student James March in 1937.Helen had a full career at the Alaska State Department of Labor and sat on the Alaska territorial and state school boards.During their early married life, Helen and Jim lived wherever his work took them, including several summers in a tent on the American Creek gold dredging operation and two summers in a Quonset hut in Barrow. Pearl Harbor found them in Seward, where Jim worked on harbor fortification and Helen volunteered with the Red Cross. He transferred to Anchorage with the Corps of Engineers in 1944, where they raised two sons and lived until they moved to Homer in 1977.

Helen loved living in Homer. She joined the Homer Chamber of Commerce and worked as manager of the Job Service office in City Hall. However, when she realized that work interfered with fishing, she retired permanently. She kept busy by volunteering for the Pratt Museum as both secretary and president of the board of directors.Post-retirement, a succession of little boats, clam-digging, beach combing, and fishing filled Helen and Jims life on Kachemak Bay.

Helen moved back to Anchorage in 1995, living first at Chester Park Senior Housing and more recently at Providence Horizon House in Anchorage. She visited frequently with family members and long-time friends, and cherished March family get-togethers.

Helen is survived by her two sons, Tom March (Judy Wallace) and Don March (Bridjette Powers); four grandchildren, Camille March (Michael Brumm), Jamie March, Ryan March (Renee Ryan) and Andrew March (longtime girlfriend Amanda Creasey); one great-grandchild, Henry March Brumm and one more soon to arrive. She is also survived by many nieces, a nephew and several great-nieces and nephews, many of whom live on the Copper Center land her grandfather homesteaded 110 years ago.

A memorial service was held at Janssens Evergreen Memorial Chapel on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012. A celebration of Helens life followed at the home of Tom and Judy March in Anchorage.