Mildred Leask Newman

Mildred Leask Newman was born October 18, 1932 to Lillian (Benson) Leask and James C. Leask, the twelfth of thirteen siblings. Millie started her life in the house her father built on Inman Street in Ketchikan, Alaska.

As a child, Millie attended Government school, Main School and Kayhi. At the age of fifteen, she met Don Newman at Ohashi’s Ice Cream Parlor. Two and a half years later, they were married at St. Elizabeth’s Church. Not many days in their 65 years of marriage were spent apart. Even when Don served in the military, Millie moved to be near him. Starting out they didn’t have much, but something that cannot be quantified happened when they found each other – they became greater than the sum of their parts, and they created a remarkable life.

Millie and Don were partners in every way, and Millie enjoyed working alongside her husband. Millie worked on fishing boats for many seasons. They had four children in five years and brought them along on their gillnetter. Later they had seine boats, and also brailled fish traps for Annette Island Fish Company. Millie and Don constructed several homes in Ketchikan with the help of family and built and restored a number of commercial fishing boats. Millie never shied away from hard work. Well into her eighties she painted the steps of the house on Inman street every year; a house she and Don restored together and called home for the last 27 years of their lives.

Millie and Don also had adventures together. They loved roadtrips,  spent time in Hawaii and took a trip to Jamaica. Millie and Don loved to dance and listen to live music. They thrilled their guests when they did the Jitterbug at their 50th anniversary party. Millie and Don knew how to seize the moment and find the joy in life.

So many things made Millie wonderful. She didn’t measure, but was a fantastic cook. She could roll up her sleeves on the boat, but she also loved high heels and she could put on red lipstick with precision without a mirror. She was an amazing host and threw fun gatherings. There was always plenty of food and good stories around Millie’s kitchen table. She had a great sense of humor and a contagious laugh. She was a proud member of the Alaska Native Sisterhood Camp Number 14, Ketchikan Indian Community, and Metlakatla Indian Band of Canada. She enjoyed her time with her sister, Alice attending the K.I.C. elders luncheons. Millie leaves behind many family members who will carry on what she lived – love someone with all of your heart, work hard, but always find the time to celebrate the moments and the milestones.  

Millie passed away on November 22, 2021. She is survived by her four children, Cynthia Wagner (Louie), Donna Anderson (Andy), Bonnie Newman, and Donald J. Newman (Kathy). Her grandchildren Louie Wagner (Shawn), Lee Dawn Wagner, Tara Roberts, Cameron Hensel (Jeniece) Brian Newman (Martha Geoghegan) and Nicole Richard (Austin). Also her great grandchildren Tazia, Bella, Alexis, and Pierce Wagner, Aurora Douglas and Rosemary Newman, and her great great grandchild, Sophia Wagner. as well as many nieces, nephews and cousins. She is also survived by her brother Henry Leask of Anchorage, Alaska. Millie requested to have no services. Instead, she will be laid to rest next to her husband at a later date. In lieu of flowers, a donation to your favorite charity in her name would be beautiful.