Julia Coburn Obituary

Julia Rebecca Coburn
Julia Rebecca Coburn

August 13, 1921 - May 23, 2020
Born in Kasaan, Alaska
Resided in Anchorage, Alaska


Julia "Julie" Rebecca Jones Coburn died peacefully in Anchorage, Alaska, on Saturday, May 23, 2020, at 98 years. She was born in the Haida village of Kasaan in southern southeast Alaska. Her Haida name was Wahaal Gidaak - the one who distributes the potlach gifts. She was Taajaanas clan (Sand beach people), Raven, Brown Bear.

Julie attended Kasaan's one-room schoolhouse and then transferred to Sheldon Jackson Presbyterian Mission School in Sitka. She loved to sing and was known for her beautiful voice in church choir. Julie graduated high school in 1941, then continued and completed her education at Haskell Business College in Lawrence, Kan. On her way to college on a steam ship heading from Ketchikan to Seattle, she met Perry Christian Coburn, and they married on Dec. 23, 1942, celebrating 64 anniversaries prior to his death in 2007.

Perry and Julie lived in Los Angles during World War II, when Perry served in the Merchant Marines. After the War ended, they moved to Seattle, Perry's birthplace, where their two sons, Christian Laird and Brian Arthur, were born. Julie worked as a secretary in the Seattle Smith Tower, then the tallest building downtown.

Julie and Perry moved to Kasaan in 1949, and their two daughters Della Anne, and Jeane Marie, were born in Ketchikan. After the children were raised, Julie joined Perry fishing for king salmon and albacore tuna on the MV "High C" up and down the coast from Cape Fairweather to the Baja peninsula in Mexico.

In the 1960s, Julie made the effort to re-learn her Haida language, studying with Robert and Nora Cogo and Erma Lawrence, and eventually taught the language in Kasaan, and at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Julie belonged to the Alaska Native Sisterhood (ANS) and was enrolled in Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indians of Alaska, (CCTHITA), and a shareholder in Sealaska Corporation and Kasaan Village Corporation (KAVILCO).

Prior to her death, Julie was the last living child of Louis Lear Jones (Staast), Anna Frank Jones (Tahiwaat). Her brothers and sisters preceding her in death were: Raymond, Melinda, Henry, George, Catherine (Kerstetter), Leah, Evelyn, Louise and Willard Jones. Julie was also preceded in death by her husband, Perry; and two sons, Chris and Brian. She is survived by her daughters, Della Coburn and Jeane (Chris) Breinig; grandchildren, Marcia Lynn, Rebecca Lee, Anna Lathen, Lee Breinig and Luke Breinig; two great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews. As she wished, her ashes will be scattered at Sonihat beach in Kasaan.

Julie had a buoyant, positive attitude, loved to process fish, bake bread, speak Haida, garden, laugh, sing, dance and tell stories. Ha'waa dagwaang. We miss you.

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