Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Roberta Lane was 'quiet, strong, solid'


September 22, 2011

Friends and family attended a memorial service at the Covenant Life Center Tabernacle Monday night for longtime resident Roberta Lane who died at her home early Saturday morning. She was 89. Friend and caregiver Leigh Galinski said Lane was medevaced to Juneau after suffering a stroke on Sept. 9.

"When it became evident she wasn’t going to recover we said, ‘Let’s take her home,’" Galinski said.

For more than 30 years Lane resided at the CLC farm and a community-owned house in town. Lane arrived at the Christian community with the early settlers from the Mt. Bether Bible Center in Ware, Mass., in the fall of 1979. Prior to joining Mt. Bether in 1973, she had spent her entire life in Maine. At the time she arrived at the CLC, there were about 50 other residents. During her lifetime it grew to a high of about 125, and at the time of her death the farm had about 25 residents, Galinski said.

Lane worked as a bookkeeper for the CLC from 1979-1983, was business manager for the formerly CLC-owned Chilkat Bakery and Restaurant from 1983-1997 and did the books for CLC’s Chilkat Valley Farms from 1996 until she died.

"She was a very committed Christian," Galinski said. "She came to Alaska because of the church. She wouldn’t have come otherwise, but as time went by she became an Alaskan, as we all do."

Lane preferred tea and a buttermilk bar at the bakery to the great outdoors.

"Going on a picnic was a waste of time to her. On Sunday afternoon we took her and Zoe [her Shih Tzu] for a drive," Galinski said.

The busier the bakery got the more Lane enjoyed it.

"When the fair came around that was good. She liked having people lined up on the porch," Galinski said.

Galinski’s daughter-in-law, Rachelle, worked alongside Lane at the bakery when she was in her teens and recalled her wonderful fudge and tidy books.

"Her handwriting was so neat and precise all the time. She was an old school bookkeeper who did it all by hand in ledgers. She didn’t like the computer, she learned it, but she said she preferred to do it all by hand."

Rachelle said Lane was a positive adult influence when she needed one. The two remained close for the rest of Lane’s life.

"She was always really quiet, but very strong," Rachelle Galinski said. "You know how teens are, those ups and downs, being around her calmed me down. I loved that lady. She was so classy and dignified."

Roberta Lane was born in Orneville, Me., on April 1, 1922 to Mervin W. Morgan and Elvira Perkins Morgan. Her mother died when she was four and her stepmother, Grace Morgan, raised her. In 1942 she married Francis W. Lane. He worked in the Portland shipyard where they lived during World War II. After the war they settled in Bar Harbor, where Roberta worked as a bookkeeper for the city, reared four children, was scout den mother, and a member of the First Baptist Church.

Her children, Lindon Lane of Clearwater, Fla., Richard Lane of Augusta Me., and Carolyn Lane of Chicago, survive her. Her son, Robert Lane, preceded her in death.

"She was quiet, strong, and solid. You felt like you were safe when you were with her," Leigh Galinski said. She said she and Lane’s dog will continue their Sunday drives. "I took care of Roberta, so now I’ll take care of Zoe."

Memorial donations may be made to the Covenant Life Center, HC 60 PO Box 2663, Haines.


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