Sophie Jane Shepherd  (Katelnikoff)

Sophie Jane Shepherd  (Katelnikoff) 

Sophie Jane Shepherd (Katelnikoff) 

Lifelong resident Sophie Jane Shepherd  (Katelnikoff) was called home to the Lord on October 14, 2021, at the age of 94. She was born in Karluk, September 12, 1927, to Nekita and Marina Naumoff. Sophie was raised in Karluk, the eldest of eight, her brothers include Michael, Timothy, Alex, Nick, Joseph, Lars and sister Eunice.

Mother’s favorite things included crocheting, holding her smallest grand-babies, playing bingo, and poker 1,2,3, and she liked to play pinochle. She loved sharing stories about growing up in Karluk; stories about her parents, the Church, the elders, fishing, working and cooking.

In 1949, Sophie married the love of her life, Fred Katelnikoff, whom she met at a local dance, they were married 48 years. Together they were blessed with 12 children, Donna, Patricia, Wanda, Sandra, Fred, Marina, Nekita, Debra, Robert, Joseph, Carol, and Joan. Sophie has three children, Lucy, Arlene, and Donnie from her first marriage. They also raised granddaughter Cheryl as their own. 

Mother had endless stories to tell about her mother, father, and siblings.  One of her favorite stories to tell is when her husband Fred, Sister Eunice, and brother- law Don Foster were in a game of pinochle. The score was close, and the men were about to win, but Dad’s partner did not give him the winning card, Eunice saw his hand and asked loudly “why didn’t you give him that ace of diamonds, which would made them the champions. Dad said, “let’s go Mom” and left angry with Don. Needless to say, pinochle championships in our family are a big deal!  Another favorite Sophieism: “I would have made it” when a family member would drive her around town and wait safely for cars to pass by.

Mother was cook by personal choice, she fed many throughout her life, not to mention the countless other kids she took in and fed. She cooked dinner every day at 5 p.m. for her family or whomever would stop by for a delicious home cooked meal. The experience of cooking at home led her to cooking professionally. She prepared meals for the Kodiak Hospital, Kodiak jail, Senior Meals, construction crews, and numerous traditional holidays.

She was busy tending to her children, ordering from Sears for school clothes, dressing us up in beautiful Easter and Christmas outfits and other holidays. She loved her children and always wanted the best for them. She showed her immense love for her entire family each day. 

She earned her GED at the age of 60 and graduated with her youngest daughter from high school. After graduation, she continued working as a cook for the Senior Citizens, and construction crews. With the revitalization of her native language, Alutiiq, in the ‘90s she shared her in depth knowledge with several local native corporations, the Alutiiq Museum and the community and in doing so they created the Alutiiq Word of the Week and numerous children’s books. 

Her fear of flying did not slow her down. She traveled to various cities in Washington and to visit her children in other states. She shared a particular trip, at the age of 55, she flew to Arkansas to her Cher’s college graduation. During her stay there, she experienced southern cuisine, craw fish, fried ice cream and frog legs.  After growing up on her traditional dishes, she found those dishes interesting. Aside from the foreign food, she experienced a tornado alert while in the dormitory with Cher.  She said it was scary. The drill was to evacuate to the basement, and they were instructed to put the mattress against the windows. “What is going on?” she frantically asked, “I didn’t come to Arkansas to die!” We laughed when she would tell that story. After the graduation they friends drove cross country from Arkansas to Anchorage in five days. 

There are thousands of joyful, hardship and grief stories to share of her amazing life, too numerous to mention. Nevertheless, they were about her children, husbands, fishing, Mother, and her Baboo. Through it all, she had a spiritually strong faith in the Russian Orthodox Church, in Jesus Christ.

Sophie was a loving wife, mother, auntie, grandmother, and a friend to all that she met.  

She was preceded in death by her parents, five brothers, only sister, two sons, four daughters, and her first husband, William Wasbrikoff, second husband Fred Katelnikoff and third Ira Shepherd.  She loved Russian Orthodox hymns, singing during the Russian Christmas starring and hosting holiday meals with her family. 

Sophie Shepherd is survived by her brother Lars Naumoff, daughters, Patricia Prince, Wanda Harris (Bill), Sandra Lester (Gary), Marina Katelnikoff-Beck (Don), Debra McDermott, Carol Katelnikoff (John,), Cher Wasbrikoff, sons Fredrick Katelnikoff, Robert  Katelnikoff and Joseph Katelnikoff, and many grandchildren, great and great great grandchildren. Sophie has a total of 152 descendants plus many nieces and nephews.

On Tuesday, October 19, viewing will be at the Russian Orthodox Cathedral from noon until the Funeral service at 2 p.m.  A repast will follow the graveside service at 4 p.m. at King’s Diner. Condolences may be sent to the family at P. O. Box 8787 Kodiak, Alaska. 

“May the Good Lord keep you tight in his bosom. You will be dearly missed.”

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