Julie Knagin, 85, passed away on Friday, April 25, 2014, in Kodiak, surrounded by loved ones. She was born December 28, 1928, in Karluk, Alaska, and baptized Yuliana.
Julie was preceded in death by her parents, Alexandra “Sasha” (Kvasnikoff) Christensen-Noya of Karluk and Carl “Schoolhouse Charlie” Johan Christensen of Stavanger, Norway; her grandparents Lev and Okalena Kvasnikoff; her husband of 55 years, Dennis Knagin, Sr.; her son Raymond Knagin; and four siblings: Charles Christensen, Frank “Sonny” Noya, Flora Norell, and Kathryn Noya.
She is survived by her children: Evie Russell of Edmonds, Wash., Victoria McLaughlin of Kingston, Wash., Gloria Bishop of Kodiak, Denny Knagin of Sedro Wooley, Wash., Gary (and Geri) Knagin of Kodiak, Denise (and Bob) May of Port Lions, Juli Ana (and Jeff) Winegarden of Wasilla. She also leaves behind many cherished grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren.
Raised in Karluk, and then Seattle as a teenager, Julie married Dennis Knagin and moved to Afognak village where they raised their eight children. Then in 1960, they moved to Kodiak.
Julie worked in a wide variety of jobs, including as a dorm parent for students in Kodiak’s regional high school, and as an advocate for Native and village residents for the Kodiak Mental Health Center. She and her children spent summers living and working at their gillnet site in Viekoda Bay in the 1960s, while her husband ran their salmon seiner.
By the mid-1970s, with her children in school, Knagin dedicated her time to leading the development of KANA, as well as Afognak Native Corporation from 1981-1999.
She and her husband Dennis were crowned Grand Marshalls of the Kodiak Crab Festival and were nominated as AFN Parents of the Year by Afognak Native Corporation.
She has served on many cultural activities and various boards and committees throughout the community. One of her favorite contributions was her years of service as an Elder at the Dig Afognak culture camp.
She was well-known for her strong character and unwavering persistence to find solutions in debates both respectfully and without surrender. After decades of service to the Alutiiq community, Julie Knagin has left a lasting legacy. She was a powerful advocate for children, Elders, language and cultural preservation, education, health care, subsistence and tribal governance. She was a valued mentor to many Native leaders, who reached out to her for advice. Her leadership, knowledge, and passion will be greatly missed.
Family and friends will gather at 1 p.m. on Friday, May 2 at the Russian Orthodox Church. A repast will follow at the new Afognak Native Corporation building on Near Island at 3 p.m. Memorial contributions can be mailed to 1224 Mission Road, Kodiak, AK 99615.