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Story Last modified at 9:50 p.m. on Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Beverly "Bev" Helen Napageak


Beverly "Bev" Helen Napageak

Jan. 11, 1940-Feb. 3, 2011

Beverly "Bev" Napageak, 71, of Chugiak, died Feb. 3, 2011, surrounded by family and loved ones at Providence Alaska Medical Center after a battle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Napageak was born Jan. 11, 1940, in Detroit Lakes, Minn., to Nels and Agnes Haugen. She was raised in nearby Hawley. Upon graduation, she completed her secondary education at the University of North Dakota-Fargo in 1951. She earned her nursing degree from St. Johns Nursing School in 1955 and came to Anchorage in 1959. Napageak worked as a nurse in all of the hospitals in Anchorage until 1975, when she suffered a back injury, ending her nursing career.

Napageak met Nate Napageak while volunteering on life flights to rural communities. The couple was married in Barrow in 1963. Their son, Thomas Edward, was born in 1969, but their marriage dissolved in 1973. Napageak battled breast cancer, and with the support of her companion, Ivan Nicks, she opted for surgery and remained cancer free for the rest of her life.

Her family writes: "There is not a single person that has met or known Bev that has not been touched or inspired by her. Rarely does an individual of such character of strength, compassion of heart and single-minded will become so entangled with just the right streak of orneriness, the results were beyond disastrous, they were a riot, and we love her for all those times we cried through tears of laughter at her antics and remember well her promise that, 'This too shall pass'."

Bev was proceeded in death by her parents, Nels and Agnes Haugen; ex-husband, Nate Napageak; brother-in-law, Thomas Oyagak Napageak; nephew, Walter Lee Napageak; nieces, Rita Harmon and husband, and Lucy Napageak; great-nephew, Thomas "Sony Boy" Nukapigeak; best friend, Elizabeth Spurlock; and dearest of friends, Bess Crawford.

She is survived by her son, Thomas Napageak; brother and sister in-law James and Wanda Haugen; nieces, Kelly Rae, Suzie Napageak, Vera Ipalook, Elizabeth "Ebus" Napageak, Amanda Napageak and Jamie Lynn; nephews, Archie Napageak and Thomas Napageak Jr.; sister in-law Francis Napageak; special friends to the family, Charla Crawford, Joey Spurlock and Don and Delores Oeasu; and family and friends too numerous to mention.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks donations be deposited with First National Bank of Anchorage, account No. 7063-575-0, in care of Thomas Napageak. All donations received will help ease the financial burden of her passing, with any remainder donated equally to the American Lung Association and the American Breast Cancer Society.

A memorial service for Bev's friends and family will be at 5:30 p.m. March 2 at the United Methodist Church of Chugiak, 16430 Old Glenn Hwy., with a potlatch to follow in community room.

This article published in The Alaska Star on Wednesday, February 23, 2011.