Marilyn Joe Retires After More Than 17 Years With Ahtna

Published July 2018

Marilyn Joe retired after more than 17 years with Ahtna, most recently as the Lands Department Administrative Assistant.

Ahtna shareholder Marilyn Eskilida Joe is a member of the Dits’i’iltsiine-Tlingit-Russian Clan on her mother’s side and Dikaggiyu-Russian Clan on her father’s side and has had a career with Ahtna for more than 17 years. Marilyn’s readiness for hard work and her extensive cultural knowledge have greatly benefited our company and the Ahtna people. Whether it was driving logging semi-trucks, or her relentless work as Land Department Administrative Assistant, Marilyn will be missed. From the Ahtna Board of Directors and staff, we would like to congratulate her on a job well done and thank her for her years of service and dedication.

Marilyn’s Ahtna career began in 1997 when she drove logging semi-trucks for Ahtna Forestry. At that time her son Brian worked for Ahtna Logging and knew that someone was needed to work the 3:00 AM – 5:00 PM shift. Little did he know that position would be filled by his mother. Never one to shy from hard work, she was hired as the Ahtna receptionist when the logging was complete. Reflecting back on that first job she enjoyed what she was trained to do with the only exception being the paperwork filing that went with it.

She was hired as the receptionist at the Ahtna Corporate Office and later as the Office Manager. In those early years Marilyn served in many positions including Board Secretary, Building Lease Manager and Human Resources Benefits. As the Maintenance Supervisor she remembers when Ahtna’s Glennallen building’s green roofing was installed. Although the Ahtna Annual Meeting responsibilities are now shared between the Glennallen and Anchorage offices, in the early days planning was handled by the department that Marilyn worked in as the Set-Up Coordinator. “Before these duties were shared with departments in the Anchorage office, it was a big load,” Marilyn recently said.

Marilyn’s loyalty and dedication extends beyond her work responsibilities to include her care and consideration for others. While growing up she lovingly helped her mother care and protect her younger siblings and even when faced with adversity managed to remain not only resilient, but act as a positive influence on others. She is an avid advocate for youth, annually taking responsibility and leading ten young women to Cordova, Arizona, Michigan and Ron Hutchcraft Ministries for annual sobriety celebrations; helping them to better deal with alcohol and family issues. Her selfless nature has enabled her to continue to provide much needed guidance, support and advice to young people.

Marilyn Eskilida Joe is a member of the Dits’i’iltsiine-Tlingit-Russian Clan on her mother’s side and Dikaggiyu-Russian Clan on her father’s side and has had a career with Ahtna for more than 17 years. Marilyn’s readiness for hard work and her extensive cultural knowledge have greatly benefited our company and the Ahtna people. Whether it was driving logging semi-trucks, or her relentless work as Land Department Administrative Assistant, Marilyn will be missed. From the Ahtna Board of Directors and staff, we would like to congratulate her on a job well done and thank her for her years of service and dedication.

Marilyn’s Ahtna career began in 1997 when she drove logging semi-trucks for Ahtna Forestry. At that time her son Brian worked for Ahtna Logging and knew that someone was needed to work the 3:00 AM – 5:00 PM shift. Little did he know that position would be filled by his mother. Never one to shy from hard work, she was hired as the Ahtna receptionist when the logging was complete. Reflecting back on that first job she enjoyed what she was trained to do with the only exception being the paperwork filing that went with it.

She was hired as the receptionist at the Ahtna Corporate Office and later as the Office Manager. In those early years Marilyn served in many positions including Board Secretary, Building Lease Manager and Human Resources Benefits. As the Maintenance Supervisor she remembers when Ahtna’s Glennallen building’s green roofing was installed. Although the Ahtna Annual Meeting responsibilities are now shared between the Glennallen and Anchorage offices, in the early days planning was handled by the department that Marilyn worked in as the Set-Up Coordinator. “Before these duties were shared with departments in the Anchorage office, it was a big load,” Marilyn recently said.

Marilyn’s loyalty and dedication extends beyond her work responsibilities to include her care and consideration for others. While growing up she lovingly helped her mother care and protect her younger siblings and even when faced with adversity managed to remain not only resilient, but act as a positive influence on others. She is an avid advocate for youth, annually taking responsibility and leading ten young women to Cordova, Arizona, Michigan and Ron Hutchcraft Ministries for annual sobriety celebrations; helping them to better deal with alcohol and family issues. Her selfless nature has enabled her to continue to provide much needed guidance, support and advice to young people.
The Ahtna Land Department will now need to look to others for providing daily laughter and helpful advice – and will miss someone with the ability to “know how to track down anyone!” said Joe Bovee, Ahtna Vice President of Lands. He most admires how she “knows many old stories from her mother and is a wealth of knowledge on the old ways and how people moved and got their start in places. She is one of the few left who know the old stories of Chitina.” Retirement will have its benefits for Marilyn as she will no longer have to do the daily drive of 60 miles to and from work, “especially in bad weather,” she said!

Retirement will now leave time for writing her life journal that she is working on for her son and grandson Colton. Genealogy is an interest that will take her back to the “Chiefs in Chitina using notes taken from my grandmother over the years after she learned to read and write,” Marilyn said. Now that Marilyn is retired and has more time, she enjoys spending it with her grandson who she says, “has tons of questions like I had when I learned to speak, and now I am willing to patiently sit, listen and answer all of his questions – which are amazing for an 8-year old.” Her advice for others is “you can do anything you put your mind to.” For Ahtna youth “don’t focus on your past or weakness, set goals and force yourself to do it” as Marilyn has lived and demonstrated in her time with Ahtna, and throughout her life.

While looking forward to being able to spend more time with her husband and family, Marilyn wanted to share that she always enjoyed her job and has a sincere appreciation for the happy office atmosphere over the years and the friendships that made her jobs so enjoyable. Ahtna is sure that Marilyn Joe’s time at Ahtna filled with stories, advice and laughter contributed greatly to that happy office atmosphere and will surely be missed.

About Marilyn

Marilyn’s Great grandparents include the famous Doc Billum and Chief John Billum and Tlingit wife Mariam, and Chief Eskilida, all of Chitina, Alaska. Her parents are Maggie (Billum) of the Ditsiiltsiine (Eagle) Clan and Joe Eskilida of the Dikaggiyu Clan. Her brothers and sisters who have passed are Helen (Goodlataw)-Miller; Mildred (Goodlataw)-Buck; Lillian (Goodlataw); Lucille (Bell) Williams; Albert Charley; Audrey Eskilida; Linda (Eskilida) Alexander; and Sandra (Eskilida) Samuelson. Surviving are brother, Roy Eskilida, and sister Beverly (Eskilida) Harris. Marilyn met Wilbur Joe of the Udzisyu, Caribou Clan in 1962 and married him in 1971. They have been married for 47 years and their children whom passed on include; Dana Lee (Love) Joe, Kara Lyn Joe, and Johnny (Jon-Jon) Eskilida. They have three surviving children: Brian Joe and wife Marlene Prince-Joe and grandson Colton. Her stepchildren include Bryson Joe, wife Aurelia, her children Byron, Bryanna, Bryson Jr., Brandon and granddaughter Bresaies. Bobby Jackson and his wife, Michelle and her children; Rodrigo C. Varas-Baylass, and Nicolas A. Varas-Bayless. Marilyn was born at the old Providence Hospital on L-Street in Anchorage and has lived in Chitina, Anchorage and Glennallen.