Jan, Juneau, and a Lifetime Lived Outdoors

Former Southeast Alaska Land Trust Board member, Jan Rutherdale, has been described as a “ray of sunshine and, at times, a bolt of lightning” by those who knew her best.

Jan was an enthusiastic and accomplished outdoorswoman. She was a prolific hiker, runner, skier, camper, biker, kayaker, and explorer. She was often seen recreating with her dog, Odie, in her adopted home of Juneau, and enjoying all that Southeast Alaska has to offer.

A retired lawyer, Jan joined the Southeast Alaska Land Trust Board in 2018. She immediately lived up to her reputation, putting her dedication and enthusiastic energy toward the work of the land trust.


“She loved the country,” recalled Annie Carpeneti, fellow Board member and Jan’s long-time friend, “and was serious about preserving beautiful land for future generations.”

Jan Rutherdale, 2018

Krista Garrett, Allison Gillum, Pete Grebowski, and Jan Rutherdale take flight on their way to the Gunnuk Creek conservation properties in Kake, 2018.

As a new Board member, Jan wasn’t tentative about her contributions to the organization. She quickly took on a leadership role on the Board, and generously contributed her skills whenever they were helpful. Jan particularly enjoyed visiting the land trust’s conservation lands and was always eager and willing to lend a hand.

During the summer of 2018, the Southeast Alaska Land Trust held several work days to clean up an old camp site on the Montana Creek Wetlands conservation property. Without fail, Jan and Odie joined in to help during every one of the work days. As she and the other volunteers painstakingly disassembled and carried the remnants of the camp site down a quarter-mile, root laden trail to Back Loop Road for disposal, Jan’s bright smile and enthusiastic determination kept everyone’s spirits high.

Allison Gillum, Executive Director, recalled that soon after Jan joined the Board, she joined staff on a stewardship visit of two conservation properties located in the Strawberry Creek Watershed, out the road, in Juneau.

After spending a full day hiking through wetlands and exploring the conservation land, everyone was exhausted and ready to drive back to town. All, that is, except for Jan, who had brought a foldable bicycle with her. At the end of the stewardship visits, Jan unfolded her bike, made a few adjustments, and was off down the road! Without hesitation, and with a huge smile, Jan was on to her next adventure.

Jan Rutherdale passed away unexpectedly in February, 2019. As our colleague, friend, and enthusiastic member of our Board, we will deeply miss Jan. We are incredibly thankful for her service and friendship.


If you would like to give a gift in memory of Jan, you may do so online at this link.

Odie and Jan, 2019

Juneau, 2018 – Jan leads the way at the cleanup at the Montana Creek conservation property.

Juneau, 2018 – Allison Gillum, Pete Grebowski, Jan Rutherdale, and Krista Garrett at the Strawberry Creek conservation property.

Juneau, 2018 – Jan and volunteers working to clean up the Montana Creek conservation property.