Philanthropist Mary Louise Rasmuson Dies at age 101
Museum founder had profound effect on Alaska
Mary Louise and Elmer Rasmuson. Image courtesy Rasmuson Foundation.
ANCHORAGE - Mary Louise Rasmuson, who formed the Rasmuson Foundation with her late husband Elmer, died on July 30 at age 101.
As head of Anchorage's Historical and Fine Arts Commission and later chair of the Anchorage Museum Foundation, she was instrumental in the opening of the Anchorage Museum of Art and History in 1968. Now called the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, she helped cut the ribbon on the museum's expansion two years ago.
Mary Louise also served on the board of the Rasmuson Foundation for 45 years, the philanthropic organization which has granted more than $200 million to Alaska nonprofit groups, and after she transitioned to an emeritus position in the late 1990s, continued to be involved in the foundation's projects.
Mrs. Rasmuson was in the inaugural Women's Army Corps, and served as the fifth commandant of the WAC for six years, appointed by President Eisenhower and reappointed by President Kennedy. Her oral history of the WAC unit, World War II and the Korean War is part of The Veteran's History Project at The Library of Congress.
Read more about Mrs. Rasmuson and her accomplishments here.
A funeral mass will be held September 10 at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church; more details will be released soon.
Below is a tribute video to Mary Louise Rasmuson released by the Rasmuson Foundation, as well as Mrs. Rasmuson reflecting on being 101 years old.