Myra Jane HeapsDecember 1, 1930 ~ November 7, 2017 (age 86)
Myra Heaps, our beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and friend, went peacefully home to be with the Lord on Nov. 7, 2017, surrounded by family and friends. Myra was born Dec. 1, 1930, in Salmon Village, to (the late) Peter and Annie Cadzow, who were Athabascan.
Discovering that she had tuberculosis at an early age, she was sent for treatment to Mt. Edgecomb Sanitarium, where she made many lifelong friends. After being released she worked at the hospital in Fort Yukon. She gave her life to the Lord in 1953 and moved to California, where she attended Bible school and enriched herself in the teachings of God and carried those beliefs throughout her life. Many considered her a prayer warrior and someone to talk to in a time of need. Myra worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs as a tribal clerk in 1976, getting her people enrolled in the Interior of Alaska Native Land Claims Act. She was proud of her traditional Gwich'in Athabascan lifestyle and continued to pass on the traditional knowledge, language and subsistence skills. She also worked for the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company as a warehouseman on Fort Wainwright. She received her degree in sociology and psychology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She worked at Tanana Chiefs Conference as a behavioral counselor.
Loved by family and many close friends, she counseled statewide and at the Old Minto Recovery Camp. She will be remembered for her positive feedback on substance abuse and how to overcome addiction. She also worked for Fairbanks Native Association in that field and retired with over 30 years experience in helping people overcome alcoholism.
Myra was a beautiful, kind, caring person and a true inspirational blessing to those who had the pleasure of knowing her. She expressed such a great compassion and empathy for others and was a true "Light in the Woods." She was always so strong for such a delicate flower.
Myra was preceded in death by her parents, Annie and Peter Cadzow; grandparents, Marcis Horace, James and Maggie Gilbert, Chief Peter Moses, of Old Crow, Yukon; uncles, Daniel Horace and David Salmon; aunts, Annie James and Martha Flitt; brothers, Abraham and Horace Cadzow; and sisters, Maggie Beach, Julia Nathaniel, Alice Metz and Josephine Peter. She is survived by her son, Donald Heaps; daughter, Christina Heaps; granddaughters, Lauren Vidick and Britney Brave; and her great-grandchildren, Arriana Stidson and Louis Vidick.
A service will be held for Myra at 12:30 p.m., with visitation at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 18, at Jubilee Worship Center, 541 Third St, Fairbanks, AK, 99701. She will be laid to rest at Birch Hill Cemetery after the service. A traditional potlatch will take place at 5 p.m. at the David Salmon Tribal Hall.
Arrangements are entrusted to Blanchard Family Funeral Home, 482-3232.