Mary Alice Longworth, 93, passed away peacefully at Mt. View Manor on April 12, 2012, in the comfort of her four children, longtime friends, and the loving staff of Mt. View Manor Assisted Living.
Alice was born in Chicago, Ill., April 18, 1918, along with her twin sister Mary Katherine. Her family moved West, finally settling in Portland, Ore.
Alice and her twin sister attended public schools in Portland. In 1938 Alice completed Normal School in Monmouth, Ore., receiving a teaching credential. She later earned her B.A. in Education from the University of Oregon in 1961. After completing Oregon Normal School, Alice heard the 'call of the wild' about an interesting town in Alaska called Petersburg. She called George Beck, then the Superintendent of Petersburg Schools for a job. He interviewed her on campus and later sent her a teaching contract. Little did Beck know, Alice had a conflicting class schedule that day and sent her identical twin sister to her job interview. Kay secured Alice's teaching position.
In August of 1940, Alice arrived at Pier 42 in Seattle with her parents for her departure to Alaska on the SS Yukon. Her mother took one look at the rusted hull of the SS Yukon and declared, “Alice, you'll never make it”. Alice safely arrived in Petersburg five days later on the “teacher's boat”. Alice had an adventurous spirit and was enthralled with the outdoor activities this frontier territory had to offer: hiking, fishing, and hunting. She taught for a year, then met her future husband John E. Longworth in Petersburg. They married in July 1942 in Wrangell and raised four children who survive them in death: Anna Martinsen of Vashon, Wash., Bonnie Dolan of Denver, Colo., Mary Lou Longworth of Tumwater, Wash., and John 'Dick' Longworth of Petersburg. She is also survived by her younger brother, Richard Scroggin Foster, eight grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.
Alice taught elementary grades with an emphasis on physical education. She took 18 years off to raise her family, returning to teach until her retirement. She valued community life and contributed through years of volunteerism in many local service organizations including: Democratic precinct, American Cancer Society, Veterans Organizations, Scholarship Committees, Petersburg School Board, founding member of KFSK, also serving on the State Board for Public Radio. She also was a grant writer and supporter of Mt. View Manor's Food Service. Alice was recognized for her service by being a recipient of the Governor's Volunteer Award in 1983 and the First Lady's Volunteer Award in 1982.
Alice loved her life and home in Petersburg and as far as she was concerned, Petersburg was the ''center of the universe”. She lived 72 years of her life in Petersburg and now rests peacefully in the town that once captured her heart as a young woman of 22.