End of Trail - April 2012

Theodore G. Smith

Conservation Policy Maker


Theodore G. Smith, 82, died Jan. 1. In 1960 Smith was hired as an inventory forester for the state, was promoted to area forester in 1961, and parks and recreation officer in 1963. In 1967 he was promoted to chief of Parks and Recreation and promoted to director of the Division of Parks in 1970. In 1974, he was elected to the House of Representatives, where he chaired the Labor and Management Committee, served as vice chair of the Resources Committee, was named chair of the House Majority Caucus. Smith sponsored bills to create nine state parks including Nancy Lakes State Recreation Area and Chugach State Park.

In 1976 he was appointed director of Land and Water Management, a position he held until his retirement in 1982.


After retirement Smith moved to Willow, where he embraced his love of community service. He was appointed to the Mat-Su Resource Conservation and Development Board, and in 1988 he was elected to the Mat-Su Borough Assembly. Smith volunteered for many organizations. He was president of the Willow Area Community Organization, chair of the Mat-Su Loggers Association, executive committee member of the Mat-Su Convention and Visitors Bureau, on the board of directors of the Alaska Historical Society, the Upper Susitna State Parks Advisory Board, the Mat-Su Borough Agriculture and Forestry Advisory Board. Smith received many awards and recognitions, the most significant being the Lowell Thomas Jr. Award for Outstanding Civil Service, which he received in 2001. This award is given by the Alaska Conservation Foundation for “an Alaska-based organization or person that demonstrates an extraordinary commitment to conversation through innovative problem solving, effective citizen engagement and collaborative actions.”

Leo Obermiller, 89, died Dec. 7. Obermiller was born in Anchorage, a third-generation Alaskan from a mining family. Obermiller graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks with a civil engineering degree and obtained his master’s degree from the University of Alaska Anchorage. In 1949, he married Virginia. Obermiller worked for White Alice Communications, the U.S. Army and Air Force, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Atlantic Richfield Co. He served as project engineer for the construction of the Anchorage Air Traffic Control Center and the tower at Anchorage International Airport.


Rosanna Mae Snigaroff, 48, died Jan. 22. Snigaroff was born in Sand Point and moved to Anchorage at 18 for schooling. In 1994 she married her husband, Mark, in Juneau. Snigaroff worked for the Atka Native Village Council for 18 years as head administrator.


Lillian Caroline Osborne, 103, died Jan. 14. At 18, Osborne moved to Cordova to work as an operator for the telephone company. She also worked for a lawyer and a crab company. Osborne attended the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines in Fairbanks, now the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where she played basketball. In 1930 she married Joe Crosson, a well known Alaska bush pilot, in Nenana. Together they played a role in the development of aviation in Alaska. After nine years of living in Seattle, Joe died and Osborne moved her three youngest children back to Fairbanks where she worked for the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner and the Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce. She also founded Lake City Travel and Bon Voyage Travel in Seattle, which grew into six travel offices. In 1969 she married Scott “Barney” Frizell. Osborne was a warm, loving, and generous mother and grandmother.

Notices are limited, because of space, to names  of those who have achieved pioneer status through many years in the North, or who have made significant contributions to the state. Submissions for End of the Trail may be sent to eot@alaskamagazine.com.

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