Irene Ward celebrated her 87th birthday with a joyful surprise party organized by her daughter, Barbara Pardee. Irene thought she was going to her daughter’s house for an evening BBQ. The sun was shining and hosts of wild iris were in bloom for the party at the Valley of the Eagles golf course. To get Irene to her party, Bob Fowler offered Irene and Helen Tengs a tour in the classic black Packard he drives for cruise visitors. He suggested a stop at the golf course to view the iris in bloom. Friends and family were gathered already, including Irene’s granddaughters Natalie Pardee, who helped her mom pull the party together, and Elizabeth Krout, who was in Haines for a week with her husband David from Seattle. Elizabeth helped her grandmother get into the party’s theme, “Irene’s Gone Country,” with a red cowboy hat decked out in rhinestones. Golf course owners Stan and Kathy Jones delighted guests with golf cart tours of the course and Barbara’s homemade berry crisp was a huge hit.

            Former resident Raymond “Shep” Shepherd was in Haines this week with his brother, Jay Miller. Raymond lives in Petersburg but hopes to move back to Haines within the year. Old friends were happy to see that Raymond hasn’t lost his charming smile or his gift of gab.
            Gary Sampson is finishing up a two-week visit with his sister, Susan Meacock, and her husband Louie. Gary, who graduated in the Haines High class of 1965 and lives in San Francisco, came up this year with his son Gary Sampson, who lives in Utah.
            Christopher and Ayse Haxton are home after a family trip to Montana for the marriage of their son, Travis Haxton, to Kayla Sevaried on June 4. The family, including children Brandon and Lydia Haxton, drove the Alaska Highway immediately after school let out for summer to make it to the wedding in plenty of time. They were happy to have all five of their children together for the event, including sons Chris, who is attending college in Colorado, and Tyrell, who lives in New Mexico. Travis and Kayla reside in Bozeman where Travis is a chef and Kayla will attend the University of Montana.
            Patty Brown went to Juneau for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, a 24-hour walk at Riverbend School to raise money and awareness for cancer. She represented a team called “Friends of Bethany Bereman,” who died in April of ovarian cancer. Bethany had worked as a river guide and rowed the Tatsenshini and Alsek Rivers several times. From midnight through dawn there were 300 luminarias lining the walking loop, which participants decorated with messages and dedications. Patty dedicated luminarias to Bethany, to her mother Dorothy Brown, who lives in Sacramento and is a two-time cancer survivor, and to her neighbor Pete Lapham, whose luminaria she decorated with heavy equipment stickers. Patty was the principal participant in a three-person team that included Alice Wiley Pickett and Koren Bosworth, both from Juneau. Patty walked a total of 8.5 miles over about 12 hours, with a short rest after midnight. A total of 29 teams and 259 participants raised over $69,000 in Juneau.
Sierra Jimenez celebrated her birthday in Juneau with friends, including Renee, Daymond and Cora Hoffman, before heading off to Sitka to staff the “Only Fools Run at Midnight” event Saturday night. The fundraiser for Southeast Alaska Independent Living typically brings in $40,000 for the organization through events staged in Sitka, Ketchikan and Juneau. This year’s event saw record turnouts in all three towns, including 750 registered runners and walkers in Juneau. Daymond and Sara Chapell ran the 5k in Juneau, which kicked off with an elaborate costume contest at Centennial Hall. Participants in the 5k run and one mile walk events came home with a glow-in-the-dark shirt. Interest is brewing in adding a Haines Fools Run next year.