George Olanna Sr.
George Olanna Sr. was born to Arnold and Katherine Olanna at Ikpek, Alaska on January 25, 1944 and passed away unexpectedly on June 21, 2022.
George Sr. married his first wife Aggripina Krukoff and together they had Darlene.
Later, he re-married Grace Ongtowasruk and together they had Robert (stillborn), George Jr and Lily. He also accepted Grace’s daughter Rhonda as his own. He had 23 grandkids, and 17 great-grandkids.
George lived in Ikpek for many years, being homeschooled there by his mother Katherine as a young boy with Sunday Pix. Before residing in Shishmaref, he moved with his parents to Nome and Brevig Mission for a short time. He attended elementary school in Shishmaref, then went to high school at Mount Edgecumbe High School in Sitka, AK. He was very proud to be an Alumni, and loved wearing his matching Mount Edgecumbe hat, sweater and mask.
He served four years in the U.S National Guard. He was a Guardsman in Anchorage after the Big Earthquake of 1964 and was honorably discharged in 1965. He then moved to Washington to work as an Auto Mechanic for about seven years before returning to Shishmaref. George obtained his teaching certificate through the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and taught K-12th grade in Shishmaref and Gambell, retiring after 20 years with the Bering Straits School District.
He was also a mentor to other teachers and students. After retiring from teaching, he went back to work with Kawerak and Nome Eskimo Community, coordinating numerous cultural camps and after school programs.
George Sr. was humorous, stubborn, smart, inventive, ambitious and creative. He always talked about going back to school to become a pilot, saying he was going to enroll last month. He applied for the Teachers in Space Program and was thirteenth in line to go to the moon.
He enjoyed fixing up anything, writing, hunting, spoiling his grandkids, telling stories, playing the guitar and visiting with friends. He loved pancakes and white fish with freshly ground coffee, his leather jacket and crocs with fur that he added on his own and traveling to Nome often to see George Jr. and family. As his health declined, he was cared for by Darlene, Gary, and grandsons Brandon and Jesse. He still had a strong mindset and was still trying to pursue his dreams and enjoy life. George was well known throughout the state for his education, accomplishments and friendliness.
He will be greatly missed by all those who knew him.
George Sr. is survived by his children Darlene (Gary, children, and grandchildren), George Jr. (Laura and children), Lily (Jeff, children, and grandchild), Rhonda (Nick, children, and grandchildren), Elsie Rose and Joshua.
Siblings Sharon L. Nayokpuk and Albert Olanna, and numerous nieces and nephews.
George Sr is preceded in death by his parents Arnold and Katherine Olanna; his son Robert; his siblings Marion Baumel, Thelma Tocktoo, Annie Bright, Edward Olanna, Wildred Olanna Sr, Clara Olanna, Minnie Olanna, first wife Aggripina Krukoff, second wife Grace Ongtowasruk; Nephews and nieces: Ray and Arnold Olanna, Andy Nayokpuk, Eddie and Arlene Baumel, Roy, Karen and Margaret Tocktoo, Minnie and Clara Olanna and Lance Nayokpuk.
A funeral service was held at the Shishmaref Lutheran Church on June 29, 2022 followed by a burial at Ikpek.
The family would like to thank all those who helped with the funeral and burial, and those who offered their prayers, love, and support.