Mary Louise Rasmuson, who built Alaska’s biggest philanthropy and donated more than $200-million to culture, education, and other nonprofit groups in her adopted home state, died Monday at the age of 101 at her Anchorage home, according to the Anchorage Daily News.
Ms. Rasmuson moved to Alaska in 1962 after marrying Elmer Rasmuson, chairman of the National Bank of Alaska and a future Anchorage mayor. She quickly became a major figure in the then-new state’s social and cultural circles, serving on the boards of numerous arts, health, and service organizations and spearheading the development of the Anchorage Museum, which opened in 1968.
“Her contributions have reached every corner of Alaska,” said her stepson, Ed Rasmuson, chairman of the Rasmuson Foundation.
Before moving to Alaska, Ms. Rasmuson had a pioneering military career, seeing World War II service as one of the first members of the Women’s Army Corps. She rose to the rank of colonel and served as the commander of the corps under presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy.