Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program

Joanne Nelson

Joanne Nelson

Ethel Joanne Nelson lives in Dillingham, Alaska. She was born in Nampa, Idaho in 1935 to Jacob Howard Reynolds and Mary Margaret (Mitchell) Reynolds, the second child in a family of eight. She first came to Alaska in 1952, when she worked at a cannery in Dillingham for the summer. She married George Nelson in 1953, and in 1954 returned to Dillingham, where she has lived ever since. She and George have had six children, and now have 16 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren. Joanne and George received a citation from the Alaska State Legislature upon their 50th anniversary. Over the years, Joanne has worked as a cannery worker, store clerk, secretary, and restaurant owner, as well as a cook, waitress, dishwasher, bookkeeper, administrative assistant, and conference planner. She served as a federal programs director for the Indian Education Act and the National Johnson-O'Malley Association, an educational non-profit, and was an adjunct professor for many years with the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Marine Advisory Program as well as a Master Canner with its Cooperative Extension Service. She has been involved in extensive volunteer work, including nine years on the Dillingham City School District School Board, four years as a member on the Alaska Association of School Boards, 23 years with the American Cancer Society, and 18 years with an Elderhostel program. She has also been a council member at St. Seraphim of Sarov Orthodox Church in Dillingham for many years. Her hobbies include bird watching, stamp collecting, and reading. She was a volunteer for over two decades with the annual 4th grade bird walk at the Dillingham Elementary School. In 2012, she published Guide to the Birds of Southwest Alaska, a field guide and reference based on a lifetime of avid birding.

Date of Birth:
Feb 16, 1935
Joanne Nelson appears in the following new Jukebox projects: