Edith T. Olanna
Edith T. Olanna arrived into this world on February 22, 1930 as one of 13 children. She was raised in and around the Teller area and flourished under the teachings of her large extended family. Later, Edith and Washington lived in Nome and raised their combined family along the coast from Cape Nome to beyond Shishmaref following the seasons and their bounty.
Edith grew up in a time when one lived off the land and migrated with the fish, plants, and animals. She lived a subsistence lifestyle and knew the best places and times to gather, hunt, fish and pick. Mr. and Mrs. Olanna gladly took the kids wherever they ventured and shared their knowledge.
Edith lost her first husband in the late 1950’s. Washington lost his first wife around the same time. Common interests formed a devotional marriage that lasted for 33 years. They raised many a child and took in many family members considering each their own. There was a time and place for everything and it seemed as if there wasn’t anything our grandparents couldn’t do. Their guidance taught us to love and appreciate the land and each other.
Edith became skilled at preserving and preparing Native foods, tanning and sewing fur garments, making traditional kuspuks, dolls, masks, and various forms of beadwork.
All of the grandchildren have their own special memories with the grandparents and loved being adorned in the beautiful parkas or mukluks our gramma made for us. The delicious foods she prepared for small and large family gatherings were savored. We all have our own stories and lessons she passed on from when we spent time with her. We all had our own special bond.
Edith is preceded in death by her first husband Vernon Konukpeok Sr., sons “Bobby” and Harry Konukpeok and parents William and Rachel Topsekok; brothers Norton and Frank Topsekok; sisters May Keelick, Fannie Okpealuk and Daisy Rock; her husband Washington Olanna; sons Clifford and Eugene Olanna; granddaughter Belinda Smith; grandsons Vernon Konukpeok III and the first Darin Olanna, along with great granddaughter Darlene Moses.
She is survived by daughters and granddaughters Dora Davis, Betty and Penny and Gloria Olanna, Nellie, Clarissa and Cori Eide, Rachel Olson, Agnes Moses, and Piama and VamreGail (Konukpeok). Surviving sons and grandsons include Foster, Elliot, Gilbert and Darin Olanna, Edwin Punguk, Eddie and Luke Smith, Norton Konukpeok, and Tyler and Reed Eide. Over 60 great grandchildren also survive Edith with some on the way.
The family would like to express sincere appreciation to those who took care of Edith during her elder care, those who helped prepare for the service, as well as those who contributed food, kind words and prayers of comfort.