Marian Ann Kirk passed away Tuesday, the 4th of January 2022 in her home in Fairbanks, Alaska surrounded by loved ones after a brief battle with cancer.
She was born on February 3, 1945 to David and Marie (Olfert) Unrau in Volt, MT and was the middle child of five siblings. They learned the value of hard work and the importance of family while being raised on their farm in Lustre, MT. She went on to business school in Omaha, NE and continued her adventures further north to Alaska in early 1967 with a cousin to assist Wycliffe Bible translators type the New Testament into Inuit. She met her future husband and married on June 22, 1968. Their adventures continued together for 53 years through the historic flood in Fairbanks, homesteading, building a remote family cabin, building their forever home, learning how to fly small aircraft, hunting, fishing and traveling all over Alaska, Canada, the United States, and Europe. In her spare time she enjoyed gardening, planting flower baskets & beds, cooking, baking, sewing, reading and spending time appreciating nature in the warm summers.
Soon after arriving to Alaska Marian went to work as an Administrative Assistant for the University of Alaska, first for the College of Earth Sciences and Mineral Industry and then KUAC/PBS until her retirement. After retirement she used her extra time to volunteer at the United Way of the Tanana Valley and drive her elderly friends to appointments, shopping, and lunches. As soon as grandchildren came into the picture, she dropped everything to spend as much time with them as she could and support her daughter. Two grandchildren were born with an inherited metabolic disorder, Phenylketonuria. She immediately began learning about it, how to help manage it, and experiment with special recipes for them. She was the most doting grandmother who spoiled her grandchildren with love and support as often as she could. Whether it was baking, cooking, gardening, coloring, puzzles, fun activities, thoughtful surprises, teaching the alphabet, numbers, reading, how to ride a bike or just cuddles, she was always there for her grandbabies.
She was extraordinarily thoughtful and never complained. Marian always remembered to send a birthday, thank you, congratulations, anniversary cards or gifts. She never hesitated to give her time and energy to friends and family in need of support or comfort, even if it meant flying out of state to be by their side. Marian will be greatly missed by all.
She is preceded in death by her father David D. Unrau, mother Marie D. Unrau, and niece Jennifer Unrau.
Marian is survived by her loving husband Donald Kirk, daughter Ann (David) McGraw, beloved grandchildren Ethan, Ariana, Aaron, Chase & Dillon McGraw of Fairbanks, AK. Siblings Florence (Daniel) Chambers of Billings, MT, Eldon (Elaine) Unrau of Billings, MT, Arden (Darlene) Unrau of Enumclaw, WA, Gerald (Bonnie) Unrau of Lustre, MT. Nieces & nephews Kristine (Paul) Kline of Gillette, WY, Becky (Jeff) Henckel of Billings, MT, Cindy Unrau of Missoula, MT, Melissa (David) Kujala of Covington, WA, Bethany (Kevin) Hunt of Newcastle, WA, Nora (Michael) Matlosz of Huntsville, UT, Rachel (Matthew) Moeller of Roswell, GA, Matthew (Amanda) Unrau of Union Grove, WI, along with numerous wonderful great-nieces, great-nephews, cousins and friends.
The family would like to thank everyone for their continued support, thoughts & prayers during this difficult time.
A memorial service will be held this summer, during the Alaskan summer she enjoyed so much, surrounded by the beautiful flowers. Details will be published at a later date.
The family is requesting in lieu of flowers that donations be made in her memory to The American Cancer Society.
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