October 20, 2011 |

Former postal clerk Jacquot enjoyed arts

Friends and family said goodbye to lifelong resident, former postal clerk and Tlingit weaver Edith Jacquot, 78, Saturday with a funeral at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, a graveside service at Jones Point and luncheon at the American Legion. She died of respiratory failure on Oct. 12. 

Edith Jane Berry was born in Juneau on May 1, 1933 to Nellie Hopkins Berry and Daniel Berry of Haines and grew up here with eight siblings. Her father was a soldier at the Chilkoot Barracks and her mother was postmistress for about 10 years. 


Edith grew up playing "post office" and began working at the real one at age 18 in 1951. She had just graduated from Haines High School and married Hank Jacquot of Burwash Landing, Y.T., when postmistress Retha Young decided the one-person post office could use a clerk. 


There were 400 mailboxes in a post office located in a school building. The mailbag from Skagway was often dropped from a plane onto the school field. Jacquot worked as the desk clerk in five different post office locations, each bigger than the last, for 37 years.

When she retired in April 1988 she told the Chilkat Valley News, "It takes a lot of patience to be a desk clerk, because you’re meeting all different kinds of people, eight hours a day. You see it all."


Former Postmaster Bill Hartmann said, "Most of what I remember about Edith is her easy laugh and how much fun she and (former postal employee) Minto Tait had behind the scenes." 


He said they were pushing each other around the back room on the mail cart when they crashed into Young’s desk. "The next day, Retha commented that a couple of her drawers seemed to be stuck a little bit and asked, ‘Did we have an earthquake?’ We commented for years every time something was out of place or wasn’t working right, that it must have been an earthquake."


After she retired Jacquot and her husband built a log home next to Wells Bridge where she gardened, put up produce and smoked salmon from the river in her backyard. She spent much of her time in nearby Klukwan, learning Native arts and crafts. She wove purses and leggings and helped create a "healing robe" that combined Chilkat and Raven’s Tail designs.

Jacquot also served on the board of Klukwan, Inc., and kept a photo of herself riding on a float in a Main Street parade. She was the first Strawberry Festival Queen in Haines and daughter Mary Jane Valentine was the last, family members said.


Valentine, an accomplished Native artist, said, "Without my mother, I never would have become involved in weaving and Native crafts. She was my inspiration. She loved my brother Henry and I unconditionally. There are some things that never leave us, and I believe a mother’s love is one of them."    


Edith’s husband Hank Jacquot of Haines survives her, as do her children Mary Jane Valentine of Haines and Henry Jacquot of Seattle; grandchildren Tammy Hamilton, Carrie Valentine Durr, DeAnna Ewing, Larry Jacquot and Amber Jacquot; five great-grandchildren, and two of her siblings, Frank and John Berry. The rest, Daniel, David, Mary, Raymond and Thomas Berry, and Joan White preceded her in death.


Memorial donations may be made to the Haines Volunteer Fire Department EMS, P.O. Box 849.