Mary Ann Price remembered as sister, mom, auntie


October 5, 2023

Alaska needed nurses, Mary Ann Petrokubi had itchy feet, and wanted adventure, so she applied and was hired. She left Pennsylvania, arrived in Mount Edgecumbe, where she met Warren G. Price and got married. In Haines, Mary attended to her growing family and furthered her public health nursing career, literally defining "frontier" nursing.

Kinsei, Mary's given Lingit name, was deeply honored to be adopted by Laura Hotch into the Kaagwaantaan, Eagles Nest Hít. She developed a fierce close bond with her sister Evelyn who encouraged her to explore the Lingit language and culture, beading, and the Price family history in the Chilkat Valley.

Mary Price controlled the family chaos, her children said, sometimes with a wooden spoon: pigs, chickens, dogs, cats, birds, a garden, and children. She directed her children, and any other child in the vicinity, to pews at Sacred Heart Church, to the supper table and on to the school bus. Christmas Eves, she'd put on her conductor hat and lead the Price Family Choir in singing Christmas carols with improv lyrics, off key and in the cold.

Roll call for supper included a count of faces at the table. Mary was good at math but for the longest time we believed she lost count. In truth, she felt there was enough room, and spaghetti, for the count to include additional faces of family, friends and pets. Many people still speak of the Price family birthday parties!

Warren's nickname for his spouse, Scary Mary, originated during moose season. Warren was hunting miles up the road; Mary took matters into her own hands and shot a moose on Small Tracts Road near the family home.

Mary was always there with the camera for her children's sporting events, band events, proms, graduations, and any other moment of extreme glory or extreme embarrassment.

As children we were subjected to polka music, the Lawrence Welk Show and old blue eyes movies.

Mary enjoyed walking, sewing, knitting, reading, coffee, and cooking. She traveled for holiday gatherings, for shopping and to stay with each of her children just long enough to learn how to make a cup of coffee in every type of coffee maker imaginable. She had a great sense of humor. She could take a joke and always gave as good as she got. She was a woman of faith who, we believed, had a direct line to God. She took trips with lifetime friends, including the original best friend, Small Mary, who came from Pennsylvania to Alaska with her.

Her grandchildren called her Baba, meaning grandmother in Slovak. When they asked to take her for a ride on an ATV, or out on a boat, she went, even with them driving. Easter was coloring eggs, Christmas was baking cookies, she was up for it all with her grandchildren and then her great grandchildren. She never missed a chance to give their little faces the requisite Baba cheek squeeze and 10,000 kisses, which would make them smile, giggle, squirm, and then wipe them off. Baba was always quick to say, "save it for later."

She rocked a red streak in her hair because red was her favorite color.

She could be found walking the halls of the high school, drinking coffee at Mountain Market, singing at church, cooking holupki, planting flowers on her porch or having lunch at the Bambooie Louie, Chilkat Bakery or Senior Center.

More recently she had been entertaining her new friends at Prestige where she also participated in ceramics, bingo and Mass. She welcomed visits by family and friends who would arrive with her favorite sweet treat, to play guitar, to bring in the dog for pets, or to have the great grandchildren get their 10,000 kisses.

Mary Ann Price (Petrokubi) is survived by a very large family who miss and love her.

Obituary and photo submitted by April Hodges


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