Anita was born to Eddie and Palagia (Tengmeak) Hoffman on June 26, 1936 at the Old Little Mountain Village site on the Kuskokwim. During the winter of 1938, while Eddie was working at the Nyac mine, Palagia died. Anita is the only child to survive Eddie’s first family.
Eddie took Anita back to Nyac with him. Sometime around the age of 3, he brought her to his oldest sister and brother-in-law, Mary and John (Datu) Samuelson. They were living in Nunapitchuk at the time. She and her Uncle Jimmy Hoffman were raised with Alice, (Girlie) and Jimmix.
The 1950 Census found Anita had connected with her Hoffman family in Bethel. She attended Mt. Edgecumbe High School for a couple of years.
Her later teenage years were a time of self-discovery, when things were very different in Bethel. She spoke of the influence her Auntie Agnes had on her life as well as her relationship with close cousins, Dee, Bea and Liz. We know that she worked very hard growing up. Uncle Charlie talked about her rolling 55-gallon drums across the river.
While she was working at Marsh’s Roadhouse she began her family. Mom was honest about her life and raised us to know where we came from. Throughout all, this proud and strong woman worked proudly to support her family.
She had her new home built with no financial aid. It took her awhile, but by God, she did it. She was absolutely fearless when standing up for her children.
She didn’t just tell us, she showed us what was possible to achieve through determination and drive. No one worked harder for everything she had and what she accomplished.
It was Bergie Marsh who encouraged Mom to apply for a job opening at the old hospital as a food service worker. There were challenges with her job. She was told she needed a high school diploma to continue working. This obstacle was taken on and soon overcome, as always, doing what she had to do to succeed. She enjoyed the adventure of traveling to Santa Fe, New Mexico to culinary training to improve her job skills. She moved up and was supervisor of the kitchen until her retirement in 1993.
Mom loved when she had occasion to plan an event, celebrations of birthdays, accomplishments, etc. She loved dancing, with plenty of good company, music, food and drink.
Her proudest accomplish is Geerdtsville. Her happy place, upriver on the land of her mother’s family. This too, she built stick by stick, board by board, with the help of so many people. Here, she was most complete, at one with the land, our river and the air. She appointed herself the Mayor of Geerdtsville and welcomed anyone who stopped by. Her time “springing out” with her dear cousin Janet and Ron were something she always looked forward to.
Preceding Anita in passing, are her parents; Eddie and Palagia, step-mother, Bessie, brothers; Alexander, George, “Sonny”, Richard and sisters; Lillian, Margaret, Gloria and June, sisters-in-law; June and Irene.
Leaving behind her sister, Sally Charles; sister-in-law, Bertha Hoffman; brothers Stanley, Robert (Jesslyn) and Gregory Hoffman. Daughters and sons; Gloria Simeon (Mike Meeks), Sherrylee Dovolos (George), Karen Welch (Lenny), Robert Johnson (Becky), Fern Faulkner (Harry), Lance Miller (Velda), Marijai Miller, Gwyndolynn Foster (Hank), Courtney Geerdts (Heidi). 19 grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren. She was known as “Nana” to her grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Lucy Crow and cousin Janet Hoffman were near and dear to Mom.
During these last three years, Mom faced the diagnosis of cancer with determination and strength until she couldn’t. We promised to care for her until the end and with the help of so many, we were able to accomplish this. She did it her way until the end. The sun set on her life in the wee hours of 11/14/2023.
We were blessed to have this woman as a mother. Her life began with challenges that few of us can even imagine, yet she rose above these and made something of herself.
Her life was a life well lived and her legacy will carry on long into the future.