Andriesen: effective businesswoman, volunteer
May 24, 2018
Former gallery owner and summer resident Clare Andriesen, 84, died peacefully on May 8 at her home in Anacortes of a rare neurological disorder. Her family was there and her granddaughters sang to her.
Friendly, considerate and organized, Andriesen was "5'2" and had a 7-foot personality," daughter-in-law Lisa Andriesen said. "We would go out to a restaurant and she would share our whole life story in a few minutes to the waitress. She was amazing."
From 1973 until 1993 Andriesen operated Alaskana, a wholesale note card and souvenir business, with her husband Pete. They built and owned the Northern Arts Gallery and the Criterion gallery in Dalton City. She helped with Chamber of Commerce receptions for cruise ships and promoted the creation of Dalton City at the fairgrounds to showcase the White Fang movie set.
"Clare was a great salesman," artist Jenny Lyn Smith said. She sold as much jewelry as Smith could produce. "I'd walk in with four or five pieces and by the time I walked out of her shop she had sold them, and not only that, she made the people feel really good for buying them, like they were the luckiest people in the world."
Clare Irene Andriesen was born in Seattle on Sept. 16, 1934, the second daughter of Anthony and Rose Mustacich. She attended Catholic elementary school in Seattle before moving to Anacortes where her father was a councilman and Mayor. She graduated from Anacortes High School in 1952, earned a bachelor's degree in French from Seattle University in 1956 and a master's in library science from the University of Washington in 1958. She married Peter Andriesen of Seattle in 1960 and taught at Horace Mann Elementary School there until 1963.
They lived for many years on Mercer Island, where she tended her children, Karyn and Thom, was an active member of St. Monica's Catholic Church, and served as the school librarian at St. Monica's Catholic Grade School. She enjoyed card parties, camping excursions, and social activities. On her first trip to Alaska in 1971, Andriesen was smitten with the place and its people, and soon she and her husband became seasonal residents of Haines.
The Andriesens designed and built numerous homes, including their house in Haines and several commercial buildings here. In addition to Mercer Island, Anacortes, and Haines, they lived on Guemes Island, Tokeland, and Hyder. Wherever she settled, Andriesen was active in her church and community. She loved volunteering at the Haines library and for the Southeast Alaska State Fair chairing the Fine Arts Department and attending the Sacred Heart Catholic Church.
She sent cards for every occasion from birthdays to St. Patrick's Day, and regularly mailed care packages to her grandchildren. For years she kept detailed journals and used them for reference in family conversations. "I enjoy reading them now, because she wrote the same way she spoke," Thom Andriesen said. His mother's strong faith sustained her throughout her life, and she was "thoroughly delighted" by her grandchildren, he said.
She leaves her husband, Peter Andriesen of Anacortes; children Karyn Andriesen (Michael Danielson) of Seattle, and Thom (Lisa) of Haines; grandchildren Nick and Kessandra Danielson and Madeline and Lydia Andriesen, and two nieces. She is preceded in death by her sister Katherine Anne Funk.
Funeral services and a mass were held May 11 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in La Conner, Wash.
Donations in Clare Andriesen's memory may be made to the Friends of the Haines Borough Public Library, P.O. Box 1089 Haines, AK 99827.