Emely DuBeau, a 75 year resident of Alaska, died June 22, 2012 while undergoing hip replacement surgery at Alaska Regional Hospital, Anchorage, after a fall. She was born in Seattle July 26, 1916 to Albert and Marie Abrahamsen and would have been 96 in July. She was proud of her Norwegian decent. She was the first female charter member of the Seattle Motorcycle Club in 1935 and rode her own Harley. She was trained by her father as a boxer and wrestler.
Emely married Fran “Frenchy” DuBeau Nov. 21, 1935 and had a son in 1936. Upon hearing how wonderful Alaska was, they moved to Port Moller on the Alaska Peninsula in 1937. She learned the true subsistence style of living. She sewed their clothes, took care of fish and game, carried her own water and washed clothes on a scrub board. Twice a year a supply of canned goods, flour and dry goods would arrive on the cannery boat. She baked her own bread and kept her small family warm, dry and clean. There was only one other white woman in the area. Emely became mid-wife for her sister-in-law; had a tooth pulled using rum as a painkiller; operated on a young Native boy’s abscess using only Morse Code for instructions. She was taken to Unalaska by a Geodetic Survey Cutter in a huge storm to have her appendix removed and was witness to the huge eruptions of Mt. Shishaldin and Mt. Pavlof. She surely took her place as a true pioneer.
The family moved to Seward in 1941 so son Pete could attend school. Emely managed a small hotel and Frenchy worked as a longshoreman. They bought a house on First Avenue and built a cabin at Lower Summit Lake and enjoyed spending time there. Emely earned a CNA degree and worked as a nurses aide until her back pain forced her to stop. She was baptized into the First Baptist Church and taught Sunday School. As a stubborn activist, she walked a picket line for a year. In 1981 they moved to Anchorage because of Frenchy’s health. After his passing she moved from senior housing to the Anchorage Pioneers Home..
On her 95th birthday she was taken for a ride on a big, new Harley. She wore a huge smile as it was a dream fulfilled.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Frenchy; son Al Andy “Ole”; and brothers Hank and Al Abrahamsen. She is survived by her son Pete DuBeau of Wasilla; sister Beverly Dunham of Seward and many grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews. At her request there will be no services.