March 14, 2013 | Volume 43, Number 10

Meacock managed hotel office, enjoyed garden

Sue Meacock, a waitress and mom who worked as office manager at the Halsingland Hotel, died Thursday in Anchorage. She was 68 and had battled kidney cancer for five years, family members said.

Susan Meacock

“She approached this illness like she approached life – with everything she had,” said daughter Vicki Meacock French.

Susan Lee Sampson was born to Clarence and Gloria Sampson in New York City on Feb. 24, 1945. She came to Haines in 1952 with her mother and younger brother Gary Sampson after her father, a carpenter, came here to work on the Army tank farm project.

While her mother was operating the Moose Horn Café, Sue would fill coffee cups while standing on a riser that allowed her to see over the U-shaped counter, recalled husband Louie Meacock.

A few years later, when Gloria took over operating the Bamboo Room, Sue worked there as a waitress. Sue was a cheerleader at Haines High School and a member of the Chilkat Dancers.

Sue married Louie Meacock of Haines in 1965 and the couple raised three children and built a house on Piedad Road. Sue went to work at the Halsingland Hotel, working as a manager in the front office for more than 10 years. She also operated a car rental agency in Skagway for two summers.

Former Halsingland employee Suzanne Vuillet-Smith said Meacock took her under her wing when Vuillet-Smith was new in town. “She showed me the ropes and how to run the front office. She was one of the few women that (hotel owner) Arne Olsson really respected. She told him what to do and he did it.”

Once, when she found a pile of dirty dishes Olsson left in the bar, Meacock put them in a tub on his desk. Olsson washed the dishes without saying a word, she said.

“Sue was motherly, but funny. She was kind of like a Lucille Ball character. She loved to talk and socialize. She was forthright and kind. She had a big heart,” Vuillet-Smith said.

Working with visitors suited Meacock, who was a people person, her husband said. “People would ask her all kinds of questions about the (Army) post. My dad had been a soldier there, so she knew all about it. They’d be impressed. She was kind of like a tourism director,” Meacock said.

Family members said Meacock was an avid gardener who raised flowers, tomatoes and zucchinis in a greenhouse and won ribbons at the Southeast Alaska State Fair. “That’s what she liked to do. She was very into flowers,” Louie Meacock said.

Sue also enjoyed making pottery and was active in the Elks Lodge and Emblem Club, once serving as the club’s president.

Louie Meacock said his wife was a take-charge person who maintained lifelong friendships and liked getting things done. “I tried to be the boss, but I always got voted out,” he said.

“Susan loved Haines. She loved the mountains, gardening, the beach and the lifelong friends she leaves behind,” said Vicki Meacock French.

Surviving family members include Louie Meacock of Haines, son Morey Meacock of Goldendale, Wash., Glorianne Meacock of Seattle and Vicki Meacock French of Cape Coral, Fla. Graveside rites at Jones Point Cemetery are planned for May.

Donations in Meacock’s memory can be made to the Haines ambulance crew. Cards may be sent to the family care of Louie Meacock, Box 487, Haines, AK 99827.