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Bernice ‘Bonnie’ G. Scudero, 89, died Nov. 9, 2013, surrounded by her family at the home of her daughter, Monica Canaday, in Vancouver, Wash.
She was born Aug. 25, 1924, in Metlakatla, the second of four children born to Edward and Bertha Leask. She was born into the Eagle Clan and raised in Metlakatla, where she was a lifetime resident and member of the Metlakatla Indian Community. Her siblings were Claire Gilmartin, Bertha Johnson and Edward C. Leask, all of whom resided in the Metlakatla-Ketchikan area to raise their own children and families, just as she did.
She married John A. Scudero Sr. and they had six children. She raised the children as a single mother, and the children have maintained a close relationship to the Metlakatla and Ketchikan area.
Her children include Marsha Bousley (Bill), Jim Scudero (Toni), Jerry Scudero (Candi); Bonnie Scudero (Ron), John Scudero Jr. (Marcie) and Monica Canaday, in addition to adopted daughter, Dena Nelson (Fred May). She also has 24 grandchildren and 30 great-grandchildren.
As a young girl, she attended elementary school in Metlakatla and then attended Pacific Lutheran High School and College.
"In preparation for her future, Bonnie went on to attend the University of Washington for a period of time and transferred to the Griffin-Murphy Business School in Seattle where she learned the important skills she would later use as a future Metlakatla business owner/operator," her family writes.
Over the years, she operated three Metlakatla businesses, including Leask’s General Store, B&E Apparel and Scudero’s Bottega. She also was a professional staff employee of the Metlakatla Indian Community, and continued her contributions for more than 40 years.
"In her professional life in Metlakatla, Bonnie played an important role on many economic development initiatives that would have a positive impact on her community," her family writes.
"Over time she developed many long-term relationships with both state and federal agencies to secure the funding for countless projects such as the Summer Youth and Head Start Program, Senior Citizen program and facilities, dock and harbor projects, Annette Island Packing facilities and other basic needs of a growing and progressive community," her family writes. "Over the years Bonnie worked directly for a number of Metlakatla mayors. She also served on the Metlakatla Power and Light Board, Housing Authority, OEDP Committee and Gaming Committee."
She also enjoyed traveling for the Metlakatla Indian Community and discussing politics.
"When her children were in their younger years, Bonnie was very involved in their activities and enjoyed watching her three sons play basketball," her family writes. "In her leisure time, Bonnie loved being with her family and friends, going to bingo, and enjoying an occasional sport fishing trip with family members."
She was preceded in death by her parents, Edward and Bertha Leask; sister, Claire Gilmartin; grandson, John "Jocko" Scudero III; and great-grandson, Justin D. Hudson.
A memorial service will be at 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22, 2013, at the William Duncan Memorial Church in Metlakatla, with a celebration of life directly following at the town hall.
The Alaska Marine Highway System ferry Lituya will operate on a revised schedule on Friday, Nov. 22, 2013, to accommodate the service. The Lituya will depart from Ketchikan at 1 p.m. Friday, and depart from Annette Bay at 7:30 p.m. (8:30 p.m. Metlakatla time) Friday, according to AMHS.