Julie Whittaker

Dec. 27, 1961 ~ April 26, 2021

Julie Whittaker, who helped establish village-based mental health counseling in several Norton Sound villages from 1996 to 1999, died in her home in Anchorage on April 26 at age 59.  Julie had been living with ALS —often associated with the ice bucket-challenge— for over four years, but it only really slowed her down in the past year. 

Born in Little Neck, New York, Julie moved west and north from the minute she got out of school.  She lived in Alaska for almost 40 years, including Wasilla, Nome, Kenai and Anchorage. 

She often considered her time in Nome and the villages —mostly Shishmaref and Gambell — to be the peak of her career and loved the people she met there.  She only left because she became pregnant with her beloved daughter Quyanna, now 21, and later had a son, Beckler, now 15. 

After raising children until school-age, Julie returned to her career in behavioral health in the Emergency Room at the Native Hospital in Anchorage, where she sometimes joyfully reunited with people she knew from Nome or the villages.  Despite her illness at the end, Julie lived a full life. 

She traveled extensively—averaging a month each year, and once taking an epic two-year trip around the world as she would say, “by plane, train, van, boat, bike, camel and elephant.” 

She also loved and collected Native art, and she hoped people will continue to support Native culture.  Finally, she leaves behind her wonderful children, and husband Doug, who will miss her candidness, energy and infectious smile. 


The Nome Nugget

PO Box 610
Nome, Alaska 99762

Phone: (907) 443-5235
Fax: (907) 443-5112


External Links