Frances Mixsooke “Qutfuaq” Charles
Frances Mixsooke “Qutfuaq” Charles, age 86 of Unalakleet, died April 12, 2019 in Anchorage surrounded by loving family. She was born in Shaktoolik on January 23, 1933 to Max and Anna Mixsooke.
In 1957, they moved the family from Egavik to Unalakleet so that their kids could go to school. Frances completed grade school up to the eighth grade and later earned her GED. She retired from the Bering Strait School District where she worked as a teacher’s aide, and then a bicultural teacher. She worked full-time at the school, and took classes in the evenings to earn her Associates Degree before she retired. After retirement, she worked with several elders translating an Inupiaq dictionary and identified artifacts for the Smithsonian Institute.
She knitted qiviut garments for Oomingmak for nearly 30 years.
She enjoyed the summer months cutting fish, picking berries and greens, and hunting. She loved to hunt squirrels in Unalakleet and Nome. It took her a couple years to catch and stretch enough squirrel skins to make herself a parka. She was crafty: she sewed, knitted, crocheted and beaded.
She is survived by her daughters, Iris (Bill) Hopkins, Anna (Robin) Hanni, and Alice Fuerstenau; 14 grandchildren, 31 great grandchildren, three great-great grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.
She is preceded in death by her parents Max and Anna Mixsooke, her husband Harold Charles Sr., her brothers Dicky, Jonathan and Moses, her sisters Nora and Katherine, her children Maggie Ferry and Harold “Hoss” Charles Jr., her great grandchildren Phillip Charles, Dwayne Johnson Jr. and Mackenzie Charles. Her son-in-law Bill Hopkins passed away one week later in California.
Funeral services were held Tuesday, April 16 at the Unalakleet Covenant Church.
Many thanks to the family, friends, and community members of the village of Unalakleet who showed their swift, strong support in the days following her death and celebrate her life eternal. Three weeks prior to her death, she prayed with lifelong friend, Lorena Panipchuck, that her name would be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
We will miss her smile and her laughter, her love and her patience, her kindness and her presence, and her faith, wisdom and strength.
Peace to her memory.