Betty Ekpesayak Bullard
Betty Ekpesayak Bullard (Ikpis) was born on April 12, 1956 to Delbert and Nellie Eningowuk at Shishmaref, Alaska. She passed away at Shishmaref on November 17, 2017 surrounded by family.
Although she was known as “Ikpis”, she enjoyed being called “Auntie” by so many nieces and nephews. “Call me Auntie,” she always told them. Her adventurous spirit led her to various places such as Fairbanks, Nome, Ruby, Buena Park, California (where she and her late husband Bill raised their daughters Xyanna and Oberon), Seminole, Texas, and most recently Anchorage, Alaska.
She had a lot of creativity and talents that she used in sewing and especially loved bead working, a hobby that kept her occupied even during her sickness, making beaded barrettes, earrings and sun catchers.
Because she spent a lot of time helping mom and dad with camping, hunting and other subsistence activities such as making panaaluk, helping dad set the net upriver, ice fishing, picking greens and berries, she learned from a very early age to appreciate and love the outdoors. She had a lot of stories of how she would get up early in the morning to beachcomb bringing home ivory for dad and helping him after he came back home from hunting with his dog team.
Knowing family roots was very important to her, reminding others how we are related and corrected us when we mispronounced last names in traditional Inupiaq way. She really loved being around family and friends from all over Alaska. She especially enjoyed baking big batches of bread, cookies and cinnamon rolls for others to enjoy while visiting. She told stories of her traveling throughout the Lower 48 delivering tame reindeer and teaching Oberon and Xyanna how to raise reindeer. She loved young children, especially her grandchildren and nieces and would teach them Inupiaq words.
She always emphasized the importance of family togetherness with lots of support, forgiving each other and communicating when there is a problem. Without that, if you lose a member of the family you will have a hard time.
Ikpis will be greatly missed for her kind generous heart, her sense of humor, and gregarious nature. We give thanks to the Lord for her answered prayers that she has continued strength so she can come home to spend time with loved ones.
She is survived by her daughters Oberon Bullard and Kelly Eningowuk, grandchildren Damien Bullard Magby, Tobin Baker, Aayzah Collins-Bullard and Owen Malavansky; brothers Wayne Eningowuk, Fred D. Eningowuk (Frieda), Joseph Eningowuk (Rita); sisters: Katherine Eningowuk (Dan Sanchez) and Ruby Eningowuk; special sister Frieda Sinnok (Warren Ningeulook), Auntie Georgianna Merrill, and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews who were so special to her. Special neighbor, friend and adopted niece Jennifer Ruff and her daughter Layla, (AKA “Baby”).
She was preceded in death by her late husband William Richard Bullard, daughter Xyanna Bullard, two babies Angela Eningowuk and Farley Eningowuk and her parents Delbert and Nellie Eningowuk; “Aaka” Mattie and “Ataata” Thomas Okpowruk, “Grampa” Wilson Okpowruk, Charley Okpowruk, “Gramma” Edith Okpowruk, Ataata Joseph and Aaka Mary Eningowuk, Grandma Lola and Grandpa Fred Avessuk; Cousins first Thomas Ahgupuk, Faye Okpowruk, Thomas Barr, Christine Obruk, George Eningowuk, Al Jacob Eningowuk, Perry Weyiouanna, Mary Coonie Weyiouanna, Johnney Nayokpuk, aunties: Katherine Barr, Flora Weyiouanna, Sophie Nayokpuk, uncles Phillip Eningowuk, Perry Eningowuk and Reuben Eningowuk.