Marie Hanna Darlin, long-time member of the Alaska Historical Society, was inducted into the Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame on March 6, 2015 at a well-attended ceremony at the Loussac Library in Anchorage. She was one of 13 women from around the state honored for their achievements in making Alaska a better place to live. Marie’s advocacy for senior citizens and Alaska’s heritage over the past 90 years earned her this distinction.
Marie Darlin is a lifelong resident of Juneau and demonstrates what an individual can achieve in a lifetime. Merrill Sanford, Mayor of the City and Borough of Juneau, said as he presented a proclamation honoring her in 2013, Marie’s “volunteering in organizations that make Juneau and the entire state of Alaska better places to live make her an exemplary model for all citizens to follow” (KTOO, June 27, 2013).
Darlin raised a family in Juneau and worked more than 30 years in human resource management for the federal, territorial/state and local governments. For 18 years, she worked with the Bureau of Indian Affairs promoting education, economic and quality of life improvements for rural Alaska and as the training officer for the Juneau Area. She also was an active PTA member who served two terms on the school board and on the Community College Advisory Committee.
Retirement in 1983, only gave Marie lots more time to volunteer. She said she was busier and worked harder than ever. In 1985 she led a group working to establish a Juneau chapter of the National Association of Retired Federal Employees. This was followed by starting an Alaska federation of chapters and serving four years as its president. In 1987, she became the spokesperson for the AARP’s Women’s Initiative.
Marie has volunteered to make local and state historical societies and museums and the history they represent more accessible to Alaskans. She leads walking tours of historic places in downtown Juneau for the Juneau-Douglas City Museum and answers questions at the museum’s front desk. She is a member of the City and Borough of Juneau’s Historic Preservation Commission and serves as program chair for the Gastineau Channel Historical Society. For the statewide Alaska Historical Society, Darlin started the local societies group and served on the organization’s board of directors. Darlin was one of the steadfast leaders who spent 10 years advocating for the acquisition of property and funding for a much-needed state libraries, archives and museums center (SLAM) in Juneau. The new SLAM building is expected to open in 2016. She saw the need for a building to securely conserve the state’s records, historical photographs, manuscripts and business records, and museum artifacts, with exhibit and research spaces for the public to see and use the materials.
As a member of the Juneau Igloo #6 of the Pioneers of Alaska, Darlin co-edited its three-volume Gastineau Channel Memories and its predecessor Gold Rush Pioneers of the Juneau-Douglas Area. She also co-authored a book about Juneau’s schools for the Juneau Retired Teachers Association that recounts experiences of teachers who worked in these schools between the 1930s and 1950s. She served as a member of Juneau’s “Empty Chair Project” that in 2014 established a memorial to recognize the Japanese moved from Juneau to internment camps during World War II.
In 1996, Marie received a First Lady’s Volunteer Award, and in 2002 a Lifetime Service Award from the Juneau Chamber of Commerce. Darlin also received Alaska’s AARP Andrus Award for Community Service.
In 2014, Mare Darlin received the Alaska Historical Society’s Evangeline Atwood Award for her significant long-term contributions to saving, celebrating and advocating for Alaska history broadly and for Juneau history specifically.
Congratulations, Marie !
Submitted by J Pennelope Goforth.