Obituary: Nancy Marie Titus

July 18, 1933-September 2, 2021

Nancy Marie Titus, 88, passed away at the Cordova Community Medical Center, on Sept. 2, 2021, after a lengthy illness. She was born in Tacoma, Wash. on July 18, 1933.

She is pre-deceased by her mother, Thora Elfrieda Bratsberg (née Hansen); father, Carl G. Essman; stepfather, Bert Bratsberg; brothers, Carl and Harry Essman; sister, Sandra Bratsberg; former husband, William M. Martin; former husband, Arne N. Sundt II; and former husband, Larry Beckhaus.

She is survived by her former husband, Jim Titus, of Dawson City, Y.T.; daughter, Lynne Marie Martin-Steen and devoted son-in-law Mark Steen, of Cordova, Alaska; daughter, Shelley Marguerite Grant (Mike) of Anchorage, Alaska; son, Arne N. Sundt III (Joan), of San Francisco, Calif.; and her oldest and dearest friend, Marianne Holbrook of Mesa, Ariz. (formerly from Dawson City, Y.T.) Grandson Andrew Grant (Shoua), of Anchorage, Alaska; granddaughter Marika Reiser (David) of Anchorage, Alaska; great granddaughter Aila Grant, of Anchorage, Alaska and great granddaughter Nora Reiser, of Anchorage, Alaska.

Nancy grew up in Dawson City, Y.T., where her mother and stepfather worked a placer gold mine for many years. As a girl she worked for her Uncle Harry (Gleaves) at the Arcade Café and attended school in Dawson City, except for one year at Queen Margaret’s boarding school on Vancouver Island. She met her first husband, Bill Martin, in Dawson City, where he was serving in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

She met her second husband, Arne N. Sundt II in the summer of 1957, while working in a mining camp at Flat Creek, Alaska. They were married in Gakona Lodge, owned by Arne’s mother, Henra Sundt; her daughter, Lynne, served as flower girl. Shelley and Arne III were born in Glennallen in 1960 and 1964, respectively. The children attended Gakona grade school, except for one year in the mid-60’s when the family spent a winter in Phoenix, Ariz.; where Nancy earned her private pilot’s license at the Deer Valley airport. She took her eldest daughter up for a very exciting solo flight.

Nancy played the piano and organ, and sang, beautifully. While living in Gakona, she formed a band with some girlfriends. She played piano and organ, with Valda Falk on the drums, Marianne Holbrook on bass guitar, and Mary Fine providing additional vocals. They named the band the Coppertones, in honor of their proximity to the Copper River, performing locally as well as travelling around the area to play at various events.

After 10-plus hardworking years at the lodge, Nancy and her children moved to Anchorage, where she began working in the entertainment field. She met and married Larry Beckhaus and the family moved again, to Prescott, Ariz.; purchasing a bar and restaurant that still stands today.

Nancy lived a full and interesting life; from music to gold mining to commercial fishing.

She eventually returned to Dawson City, where she met and married Jim Titus. They lived in Dawson City, and at a cabin downriver at Moosehide, built by her son, Arne.

In her later years Nancy moved to Whitehorse, Y.T. for a short time, and then to her final home in Cordova, Alaska, to be near her daughters and their families. She had been a Yukon Pioneer for many years and, shortly after arriving in Cordova, Nancy and her daughters, Lynne and Shelley, all joined the Pioneer’s of Alaska Women’s Igloo #5 together. She made many friends in Cordova, and enjoyed her retirement there.

Nancy will be greatly missed by her loving family and friends, from Canada to California, from Alaska to Arizona, and everywhere in between. We will love her and miss her always.

No services are to be held, per her request. Ashes will be spread in the Yukon at a future date.

Funeral arrangements by the Cremation Society of Alaska. Please visit their website to share memories or extend condolences.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Lupus Foundation of America in Nancy’s name. The family would like to extend their heartfelt gratitude to the nursing staff at Providence Hospital in Anchorage, Alaska, and the Cordova Community Medical Center in Cordova, Alaska for their devoted care.