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Beulah Elaine Roppel, a “Pioneer of Alaska” passes at 93


January 18, 2011
Tuesday PM

Ketchikan, Alaska - Beulah Elaine Roppel, a “Pioneer of Alaska” and  long-time Ketchikan resident and business woman, passed away in Ketchikan Long Term Care  on January 9, 2011. She was 93, born April 13, 1917, in Bear Lodge, Wyoming.  She was the only daughter of nine children of Charles and Gertrude Truax.

jpg Beulah Elaine Roppel, a “Pioneer of Alaska” passes at 93

Beulah Elaine Roppel

The family moved to western Oregon where she graduated from high school in Oregon City then married Robert Roppel in Astoria in 1936. They resided in Oregon City until 1945, when they moved to Astoria with their young sons Frank and Don where Rosie and Otto were born.

In 1952, Bob Roppel moved to Alaska as part of the construction crew for Ketchikan Pulp Company, and Beulah and the children joined him in 1954.  They moved into a house on Tongass Avenue that was built over the water. She lived there for over sixty years and saw many changes in what was then known as New Town. 

Beulah worked at the Stedman Hotel, Race Avenue Drug’s Fountain, the Blue Fox Café on Front Street, and the Ketchikan Pulp Company’s cafeteria.  She and her brother Don Truax owned the Peter Pan Café on Mission Street for a time.  Then Beulah worked with her son Otto Roppel at B&R Construction for many years.  People may remember her driving the flag car for many oversized loads.

Beulah was active in the Astoria Community Choir, the Pioneers of Alaska, the Women of Moose, the Gray Ladies at the hospital, Ketchikan Bowling League, and First Lutheran Church. Because she loved to drive, she often gave tourists free tours of Ketchikan and many times to the dump to see the bears.

According to family, “Among her fondest memories were being with her family, flying with Otto to Seattle in his airplane, driving Corvettes on down-South freeways, cross country skiing, ice skating, and walking at Ward Lake and Harriett Hunt Lake with her pets and family, downhill skiing at Smithers, B C, and in Utah with Rosie and family, picking blueberries and cranberries, and lunching with her pals at the Landing.”

Survivors include her sister-in-law Virginia McDonald of Portland, Oregon; children Frank and Pat Roppel of Wrangell; Don and Karen Roppel of Warren, Oregon; Rosie Roppel and Doug Ward of Ketchikan; and Otto and Maria Roppel of Ketchikan; and grandchildren: Rick and Karen Roppel of Kent, Washington; Ron and Trista Roppel of Maple Valley, Washington; Leah and Ryan Klinger of Ketchikan; Bob Roppel of Colorado; Cindy and Darran Baird of Greenwich, Conn.; John and Michelle Roppel of King George, Virginia; and ten great grandchildren; cousin Wayne Olson of Ketchikan and numerous nephews and nieces.

She is proceeded in death by her brothers Sam, Norris, Franklin, Charles, Donald, Vinol, Richard, and Kenneth Truax; her parents; and her husband Robert. 

In lieu of flowers the family requests memorial donations be made to a favorite charity.

The family will have a private family church service.

A “Celebration of Life” will be held Wednesday January 19th upstairs at the Landing in Jeremiah’s from 5 to 8. Bring your favorite “Beulah story!”



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