Letter: Douglas-ite passes

I was stunned to read about a friend in the Aug. 11 obituary column, Grace Pusich Russo. Born in Douglas years ago but lived in Anchorage where she passed, she was so well known in both places.

I was in Juneau High School (and don’t try to hook that up to Juneau-Douglas High School) in the ‘50s when Douglas had their high school over on the Island and were still Juneau High school. Basketball was a huge highlight of our high school careers and I was an avid booster of all basketball games. Even when the team traveled to other Southeast towns and up north for the All Alaska tournemants, I was there yelling my head off cheering the team onward.

Well, my first time to know who Grace was occurred at a game between Douglas and Juneau in our high school gym. She sat upstairs with the adults and she had such a loud voice that carried over our student body of cheerers. So we were challenged to shout louder than Grace. It was all in great fun and she was such an avid Douglas rooter. Competition in those days over basketball was challenging and such great fun. So the completion wasn’t just on the gym floor, it was also between the spectators rooting for Douglas and/or Juneau.

Through the years I became a friend of Grace. She was so much fun and I loved her spirit. We went to her and Guy’s 50th anniversary held at the family restaurant, Mikes Place, in Douglas. Then they were transferred to Anchorage for the rest of their lives. After Guy passed, I was in Anchorage shopping and somebody rammed their shopping cart into my backside, deliberately. Who? Grace! What a devil she was, so much fun. I asked her if she thought she might move back to her hometown of Douglas. She said she had so many great neighbors also in Anchorage that she thought she would stay put and not move. But her heart was always in Douglas.

My dear Grace, you will be missed. My sympathies to Russo and Pusich families.

Until we meet again, Grace, R.I.P.

Your friend,

Betty (West) Miller,