Emma S. Ottema
Emma S. Ottema passed away peacefully at home on March 14, 2020. She was born to Willie and Elsie Kugzruk in Teller, Alaska June 19, 1946. One of eleven siblings, she is survived by one brother, Vernon Kugzruk of Anchorage, Alaska, along with nephews, nieces and cousins. She is survived by her husband, Doug Ottema, of Whitewood, SD and three children Kourak Nakak,, with six children, four great grandchildren of Nome, Alaska; Kelik Nakak with five grand children of Fairbanks, Alaska, and Florence Burton with grandchild Karissa of Sturgis, SD.
After graduating from high school at Nome, AK, she worked for several years for Liberty Mutual in San Francisco, CA. She returned to Nome and was married and had three children. After she divorced, she remarried to her present husband, Doug Ottema, in 1981. She lived for several years in Grass Valley, CA, and then relocated to Whitewood, SD until her death. She succumbed to Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, which eventually took her life.
She had a way of greeting people and made people feel welcome. She worked for Tin Lizzie and Walmart; Walmart was very good to her. She was recognized by the State of South Dakota and her places of employment for her customer service and kindness. She was modest but always took pride in her appearance. She kept her Native culture within her, and loved to eat Eskimo food. She made such a good impression on people and was an excellent role model. One of her bosses would brag that she was 100 percent bona fide Inupiaq Eskimo.
Funeral service will be held at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Spearfish, SD on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 at 1 p.m. Any donations in her memory are to go to Teller Lutheran Church, ℅ Pastor Brian Crockett, PO Box 12, Brevig Mission, AK 99785