Lydia Joyce Cullum, 29, passed from this Earth on September 7, 2020.
She was born in Astoria, Oregon, on March 17, 1991, into a family that valued serving their country through military service. The young family moved from Astoria to Coos Bay to Kodiak Island through Coast Guard transfers, then lived a short time in Arizona before returning to Alaska and eventually settling in Kodiak.
Lydia graduated from Kodiak High School in May 2009 with an honors diploma. She stayed in Kodiak for her post-secondary education, attending Kodiak College and receiving an Associate of Arts degree in 2012 and an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Nursing in 2014. She went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in Nursing Science from the University of Alaska Anchorage in 2017 and was enrolled in a master’s program for Family Nurse Practitioner at UAA.
She married the love of her life and constant companion, Philip Cullum, on October 17, 2015.
Many will remember Lydia for her capable care at their most desperate hour of need in her chosen career as an emergency room nurse at Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center, where she was also a trauma prevention coordinator. She was honored with the Alaska Nurse of the Year award in 2016 in the area of innovation. Her caring nature went beyond the walls of the hospital, however. She was an active volunteer for Kodiak Island Search and Rescue, where her medical knowledge was invaluable in providing first aid to accident victims.
Lydia was tremendously talented in the arts. She expressed that talent through on-stage acting in many local theater productions, through playing the violin and cello, and performing with the Kodiak handbell choir, Isle Bells. She had a beautiful voice and was fond of singing. She enchanted audiences with her voice when she sang “Somewhere over the Rainbow” in the Kodiak community production of “The Wizard of Oz” when she played Dorothy, or “Little Fall of Rain” in the role of Eponine in “Les Misérables.” Her artistic talent also extended to making hand-crafted items she gave freely as gifts to those around her.
The Kodiak outdoors was a playground for Lydia, which she took advantage of at every opportunity. She loved hiking the spruce forests and emerald peaks of Kodiak Island and kayaking in the island’s bays. She had recently completed the grueling challenge of hiking the seven summits of Kodiak in under 24 hours.
Everywhere she went, Lydia made the people around her feel important and valued. Her smile, character and personality brightened the lives of everyone she came into contact with. We know we will see her again someday.
The family would like to thank each of those who have shared their stories of Lydia in the time since her passing. Your memories of Lydia have made the pain of losing her easier for us to bear. God bless you. Memories are being shared on Facebook in the group, “In Memory of Lydia Cullum. A loving place to share.” All are welcome to join.
Lydia was preceded in death by her grandmother, Jeanette Hehman. Lydia is survived by her husband, Philip Martin Cullum; her parents, Monte Anderson (Shelly) and Andrea Smith (Terry); sisters Elisabeth Anderson-Sierra (David), Esther Butler (Arnel) and Rebekah Anderson; and grandparents Billy Wayne Anderson (Darlene), Linda Walker (Harry) and Donald Hehman.
A celebration of life for Lydia is planned at the Kodiak Bible Chapel on Friday, September 18, beginning at 5:55 p.m. Lydia’s family invite all who knew and loved her to participate either in person or to join through a livestream broadcast. Masks will be required and physical distancing protocols will be maintained. Seating will be limited to approximately 150 people.
In lieu of flowers, a scholarship for nursing students has been created in her name. Those who wish to donate can contribute to the Lydia Anderson Cullum Nursing Scholarship at LydiaJoyceScholarship.com.