Pioneer Potluck: The end of an era

Pioneer Potluck: The end of an era

  • By Ann "Grannie Annie" Berg
  • Tuesday, February 3, 2015 4:25pm
  • LifeFood

Alma Arlene Webb 1917-2015

Beverly, Kansas
and Sterling, Alaska


The end of an era closed a chapter of our family history book.

After 97 years on this earth Aunt Alma Webb went to “see Jesus” at 3 a.m. Sunday morning, Feb. 1, 2015. She often said she wanted to see Jesus … so now she has her wish. She was the youngest sister of our Dad, John McClure, thus the closing chapter of relatives in our family that lived from 1917 to present.

I had the privilege of getting to know Aunt Alma all over again when she moved to Alaska to be with her son, Hall, his daughter, Billie Anne and Billie Anne’s four children — Alma’s great-great-grandkids, of whom she had many. She could tell you the month, day and year they were all born and where. She lost track the last two years, but at times she would proudly tell you how many grands, great-grands, and great-great-grandkids she had. She would add and “some great, great, greats I do not know about.” She always wanted to be kept in the family “loop” and talked of times when she grew up in Kansas. How she loved high school and that John, our Dad, was her protector in school if she was being teased because of her red hair.

Growing up in the 1920s and 30s was a way of life most of us have never experienced.. It was hard work to make a living and put food on the table. The transportation in the old cars. Seeing old cars develop into the fancy cars of today. Seeing the old coal burning railroad trains chugging down the tracks and how they whizz by today. Seeing an airplane in the sky! And seeing the space shuttles! Seeing modern medicine of today. And a telephone, a television, a microwave and computers, of which she tried to master. She also was a great piano player and played Hymns on a electric piano in her 90’s, like she was playing them in Church.

We had lively discussions and some were real history lessons for me. She was born in 1917 in Kansas and lived under standards that none of us can comprehend today. She talked a lot about poverty and being very poor, after she was married. One of her statements that she repeated often was there were times when she did not have a penny for penny candy for her little sons. She was very protective and proud of her 5 sons. She also proudly helped raise and loved dearly, many of her grandkids.

She rose through all of that to get her GED after they moved to Colorado, while she was working at Colorado State University in Fort Collins as an accountant, one of her proudest moments in her life. She had her name plate displayed at all times in her little house in Sterling, Alaska.

She loved the Bible and could tell you almost any verse you wanted to hear. She had many fears and haunting ghosts of the past, but her mind was clear and precise — no one every changed her mind! You knew when she did not approve and you also knew when she loved you, whether it was your hair, your clothes or the company you kept.

Alma was a great cook. She wanted to be included in picnics and holidays and often brought her deviled eggs and a great cake everyone loved with marshmallows on top. She cooked her meals up until this December when she transferred to Riverside Assisted Living. She fell shortly after that and never really got to appreciate that fine living facility. She spent two weeks in the hospital before she went to “see Jesus.”

Now she has her last wish — setting up there with Jesus, no doubt telling him all about her long journey on earth.

Yes, it was a long one, she has paved the trail for others that will follow.

— Ann McClure Berg, Alma Webb’s niece, North Nikiski


Ann “Grannie Annie” Berg is a 44-year resident of Alaska. Ann shares her collections of recipes from family and friends. She has gathered recipes for more that 50 years. Some are her own creation. Her love of recipes and food came from her Mother, a self taught wonderful cook. Grannie Annie can be reached at

More in Life

Frenchy Vian, who posed for many photographs of himself, was acknowledged as a skilled hunter. (Photo courtesy of the Viani Family Collection)
Unraveling the story of Frenchy, Part 2

In fact, Frenchy’s last name wasn’t even Vian; it was Viani, and he and the rest of his immediate family were pure Italian

Minister’s Message: Share God’s love even amidst disagreement

We as a society have been overcome by reactive emotions, making us slow to reflect and quick to speak/act and it is hurting one another

This image shows the cover of Juneau poet Emily Wall’s new book “Breaking Into Air.” The book details a wide array of different birth stories. (Courtesy Photo)
A book is born: Juneau author releases poetry book portraying the many faces of childbirth

It details “the incredible power of women, and their partners”

Lemongrass chicken skewers are best made on a grill, but can be made in the oven. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion
On the strawberry patch: Tangling with waves

Lemon grass chicken skewers top off a day in the surf

This photo of Frenchy with a freshly killed black bear was taken on the Kenai Peninsula in the early 1900s. (Photo courtesy of the Viani Family Collection)
Unraveling the story of Frenchy, Part 1

The stories were full of high adventure — whaling, mining, polar bear hunting, extensive travel, and the accumulation of wealth

Seeing God’s hand in this grand and glorious creation

The same God of creation is the God that made me and you with the same thoughtfulness of design, purpose and intention

Chewy and sweet the macaroons are done in 30 minutes flat. (Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Sophisticated, simplified

When macarons are too complicated, make these delicious, simple macaroons

Michael S. Lockett / capital city weekly
Gigi Monroe welcomes guests to Glitz at Centennial Hall, a major annual drag event celebrated every Pride Month, on June 18.
Packed houses, back to back: GLITZ a roaring success

Sold-out sets and heavy-hitting headliners

Michael Armstrong / Homer News 
Music lovers dance to Nervis Rex at the KBBI Concert on the Lawn on July 28, 2012, at Karen Hornaday Park in Homer.
Concert on the Lawn returns

COTL line up includes The English Bay Band, a group that played in 1980

Marcia and Mary Alice Grainge pose in 1980 with a pair of caribou antlers they found in 1972. The sisters dug the antlers from deep snow and detached them from a dead caribou. (Photo provided by Marcia Grainge King)
Fortune and misfortune on the Kenai — Part 2

In Kasilof, and on Kachemak Bay, in Seldovia and later in Unga, Petersen worked various jobs before being appointed deputy marshal in 1934