Words by Emily Pound. Images courtesy of Jay Stillwell and Emily Pound.

The way with which she danced into a room, excited to be present for her community while effortlessly offering grounding in place and spirit; Deanna Moore sparkled.

On the morning Deanna passed away, my partner and I happened to follow her C-Dory out of Crescent Harbor. She headed south of town while we headed north, excited to enjoy the tangerine sunrise and fresh snow that had sprinkled the mountains around Baranof Island. It was less than an hour later that we heard the call signaling the need for Coast Guard assistance. We waited and listened to the radio chatter between the USCG and nearby boats. We heard the call announcing her rescue and transportation to the hospital. They called her a survivor. It wasn’t until we returned to town that a friend told us of her passing. Many people in the community shared a similar experience to this on November 27th, 2022. 

I knew her as a friend, advocate, and mentor. Deanna moved through the world balancing intentionality and free spiritedness. She used her life experiences to propel her forward in uplifting others through her work as a counselor and then a women’s advocate through Sitkans Against Family Violence. She guided me during my volunteer year and continued to check in through warm greetings when passing each other on Lincoln Street and partnership meetings where she would reliably make time for personal life updates.

Deanna was a significant part of my first experiences in the Tongass National Forest. Her desire to give grace and empowerment to others was illustrated through her willingness to share, provide nourishment, and simply check in. She had a truck that was often open for friends to borrow and two kayaks that she would lend out even with the shortest of notice. She valued the practice of developing hands-on skills that would eventually serve her in building her house with the support and guidance of Marcel LaPerriere. She exposed me to wild edibles through her take on carrot cake, (a medley of vegetables encircling salmon dip), which was an initially disappointing, then, surprising delight. 

Remembering Deanna

The following is a tribute written by Marcel LaPerriere, past SCS Board President.

In her tribute to Deanna, Emily Pound said Deanna sparkled; and that she did. Perhaps, it was her infectious smile and personality, or perhaps it was her eagerness to help others that gave her that sparkle. For me, Deanna sparkled because of her love of life and never-ending kindness to everybody and everything.

Deanna first worked for me when I was the Head of Maintenance at Sheldon Jackson College (SJC), and a few years after the college closed in 2007, I had the honor to work for her. Returning to her sparkling aura, during our SJC days, she cheered everyone up. We had a carpenter at SJC who had the reputation of having an Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh personality, and somehow Deanna made even him see the bright side of life. When both OSHA and the EPA showed up at SJC the same day to grill me about the tons of asbestos on campus and what the college would do about it, saying it was a very stressful day would be an understatement. But as always, Deanna looked on the bright side and, in her always cheerful voice, said, “Well, at least they didn’t haul you off to jail.” We both laughed; just what I needed, and the stress melted away.

As fun as working with Deanna at SJC, it was ten times more fun to help her build her house. Our values aligned perfectly. We both wanted to build an energy-efficient home using as much wood from the Tongass as possible. Another goal was to find house plans drawn by a woman architect, which Deanna did. Once we got the building permit, I ordered Sitka spruce for the framing, yellow cedar for the deck that wraps around two sides of the house, and red cedar for the outside facias and trim from a small sawmill in Wrangell. And though we failed to find a mill in Southeast Alaska that could supply the beveled red cedar siding for the house, we did the next best thing. We found a small mill in Oregon that specialized in salvaging red cedar logs that the big mills rejected. And all the interior hemlock trim came from a small-log salvage mill in Ketchikan. With the goal of using as much Tongass wood accomplished, we set to work building Deanna’s dream home.

And speaking of dreams, it’s hard to imagine anyone who worked harder to achieve a dream than Deanna did. While simultaneously raising three boys as a single mother, Deanna was constantly taking evening classes at UAS and SJC and usually working two or more jobs. While we were building her house, she was working at Sitka Against Family Violence (SAFV), the Bill Brady Healing Center, and worked as a waitress at the Westmark Restaurant. Yet somehow, she still found time to be a mother to her boys and help build the house. I’d show up at the job site at 6:30 in the morning to find Deanna cleaning up construction debris from the previous day’s work, pulling wire for the house’s electric system, painting, or a whole host of other tasks. Deanna wasn’t going to let anything stand in her way of achieving her dream, and I respected her for that. 

Deanna was close to my son Zach’s age, and I have to say, had Connie and I had a daughter, we would have hoped she was as kind, compassionate, and sparkle-filled as Deanna was. I know this is an overused cliché, but Deanna was, indeed, one in a million.

Photos provided by Marcel LaPerriere.

The Sitka spruce from Wrangell was straight and clear; we balloon-framed the outer walls with 18 feet long 2X6 studs, which immensely helped Deanna and my goal of energy conservation. Any time you reduce framing wood, less conductive heat loss will occur.

The large deck was framed with yellow cedar, achieving rot resistance without toxic chemicals. Because of extensive rot, Deanna’s orange house was torn down after Deanna moved into the new house.

Donations can be made to SCS's Living Wilderness Fund in honor of Deanna.