Friends and family members of Linda Skeek gathered at Polaris House in Juneau for an informal memorial service on Friday.
“She was just a really good person,” Polaris House member Tom McNamara said after the private gathering, which also honored other club members who have died recently.
It was one of two services held for Skeek, 32, a former Juneau resident whose husband reported her missing and was later arrested for her murder. The other memorial service was held Saturday in Anchorage where authorities are still searching for her body.
Polaris House, located on Willoughby Avenue, is part of a national support organization for those with mental illness. Skeek’s family members in Juneau said she did not have a mental illness but she struggled with alcohol addiction in the past. She volunteered at the Polaris House in her spare time.
“We heard a lot of good things about her,” Skeek’s aunt Myrna Brown shared, following the service. “They told us that she was one of the Polaris’ success stories. They shared with us the impact she had on a lot of members; in fact, several of them started crying.”
Skeek moved from Juneau to Anchorage less than a year ago with her husband Thomas Skeek Jr., 33, and their two children. On Jan. 4, Thomas reported his wife as missing, saying he hadn’t seen her since they had a verbal argument on New Year’s Day. Two weeks later, Thomas was arrested and charged with first- and second-degree murder and tampering with evidence after Anchorage Police Department officers searched their home.
Brown said it was difficult to be at Polaris House and think about her presumed-dead niece, especially since she’s still reeling from the loss of her son, Jordan Sharclane, who was fatally stabbed in Douglas in December. But knowing that Skeek would be remembered for the good she did helps bring her family peace, Brown said.
“(The family) just doesn’t want people to remember her as a mom that got killed by her husband,” Brown said. “We want to share her story so it can give hope to these women that are going through similar situations. We want something good to come out of it.”
Brown said she and others in her immediate family have long histories with domestic violence and alcohol issues. Talking more openly about these issues despite inclinations to keep it hushed is a necessary change, she said.
Linda’s mother and Juneau resident Laura Sheldon told the Empire by phone Friday that many are mourning Linda Skeek in Anchorage, too. Sheldon said her daughter worked with the NANA Regional Corporation, an Alaska Native for-profit social economic group to help those less fortunate.
“My daughter worked with homeless people, she was so outgoing,” Sheldon said. “She would never just leave us.”
A celebration of life for Skeek took place Saturday at the Legacy Funeral Homes Heritage Chapel at Angelus in Anchorage.
“I just know that’s what she deserves,” Sheldon said.