Saturday, July 28, 2007

Good-Bye Toni Pounds

I shouldn't have been surprised at how many people I know from totally different parts of my life who were at Toni's memorial this afternoon at the Anchorage Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

I knew Toni from Healing Racism Anchorage. Such a smart woman with such a wicked sense of humor. And so dedicated to fighting racism. She's been on dialysis for years, but she kept leading discussion groups and training workshops. She didn't make it to our last meeting - July 17 - and Shirley invited us to go back to the hospital with her after the meeting. Toni was clearly in pain and not at all happy, but she was still making snappy comments.

Today, despite the reason we were there, there was much laughter as friends and relatives told tales about the Toni they knew. I'm sure Toni was watching from somewhere, free of the physical ailments that burdened her here on earth, and smiling along with all of us.

The details were in official ADN announcement:

Anchorage resident Toni Pounds, 59, died July 20, 2007, at Providence Alaska Medical Center after a long illness. A memorial service to honor and celebrate her life will be at 3 p.m. Saturday at Anchorage Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 3201 Turnagain St.
Toni was born Oct. 7, 1947, to Gloria and Russell Pounds, at Fort Riley, Kan. Her father was in the military and Toni traveled and lived all over the world during her childhood. After earning a bachelor's degree in cultural anthropology from Iowa State University, she received a master's degree in public administration from Drake University. Toni moved to Anchorage in 1990 with her daughter, Elizabeth Gloria Pounds. She worked for the Municipality of Anchorage in the Department of Health and Human Services until illness forced her retirement.
Her family wrote: "Toni was an incredible and multi-faceted woman in many ways. She loved life and after retirement, forged ahead continuing to work on projects of importance to her, in spite of chronic kidney disease. Her spirit continues to enrich our lives with the memories we hold of her, and she is deeply mourned by the many people whose lives she touched."
Pounds was instrumental in establishing the Alaska Chapter of the American Association of Kidney Patients and was the chapter-founding president. She represented the state at several national AAKP conferences.
She was a dedicated member of Anchorage Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, serving on the board of directors, many committees, and overseeing large groups of Unitarians who traveled through Anchorage each summer as part of the WhaleCoast program. She was a much-loved, active and pivotal member of the church community.
Pounds was a dedicated co-founder, guiding force, steering committee member, and workshop facilitator for the nonprofit organization Healing Racism in Anchorage. She also had an enormous love of literature, participating in several book clubs. She was a member of several writing groups and was a regularly published author.
She is survived by her daughter, Elizabeth; and two brothers, Michael and Russell, all of Anchorage; as well her aunts, Gladys, Lillian and Grace; and cousins, Jackie, Jewel, Cheryl and Eileen.
Published in the Anchorage Daily News on 7/26/2007.

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