(This citation was passed by the Alaska State House and Senate and issued on April 9, 2011. Winifred Beans died on April 21 at the age of 94.)
HONORING ANGIVRAN WINIFRED BEANS
The members of the Twenty-seventh Alaska Legislature join Tundra Women’s Coalition and the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health
Corporation of Bethel in honoring the life achievements of Angivran Winifred Beans.
Angivran Winifred Beans was born on August 10, 1917, in Kasigluk where she grew up with parents Joseph and Anna Joe. She
attended Aklurak Mission School in the lower Yukon. At age 17, she married Frank Kelly and moved to Mountain Village. Together,
they had three sons and four daughters. After Frank passed, she married Billy Beans in 1947 and together they had three daughters and
Throughout her adult life, Winifred has been very involved in her communities. She taught school in Alakanuk, she was a
midwife and, on occasion, had to physically turn breech babies, and she was also a commercial and subsistence fisherwoman. She is a
very skilled and experienced skin sewer who made beautiful otter, squirrel and muskrat parkas, mukluks and fur hats for her children.
Her family lived in St. Mary’s in the winter for school and in Mountain Village in the summer for subsistence. After her last
child graduated from high school, Winifred moved to Bethel and worked for YKHC Behavioral Health as a Yup’ik/English translator
and interpreter and mental health worker, at that time under the one and only Bethel psychiatrist, Dr. Verner Stillner. After a decade of
work in Bethel, Winifred returned to Mountain Village, then to St. Mary’s in 1994. In both villages, people continued to seek her out as
a mentor and valued counselor. Winifred is known for how deep and actively she cares for people. She was also a foster parent for three
children and was very active with the Catholic faith and community; always helping the church in any way she could, especially as a
To this day, her clients will come to her and thank her for helping them with their mental health issues and helping them recover
from substance abuse. People tell her children how grateful they are for Winifred’s work. As a result of this challenging and
meaningful work, Winifred was honored with a Lifetime Counselor’s Certificate from YKHC Behaviorial Health. She also served on
the YK Behavioral Health Board (1986-2008) and the Calista Elders Council (1990-2008). Winifred was recently honored as the 2012
Person of the Year at the Tundra Women's Coalition’s 11th Annual Yukegtaaq Celebration.
In August 2010, Winifred moved to an assisted living home in Anchorage. She continues to care for people, maintains a sense
of humor and has assumed a natural position of leadership. One story about Winifred is that whenever they take her for an outing, she
tells the caretakers, “now don’t do anything while I’m gone; just take a break. I’ll help you when I come back. Do you want me to get
anything for you?” Winifred is known to be a balance of compassion and strong will, so that, as her children say, “even when she’s
quiet, she’s loud.” Her presence is powerful, and her caring is beyond measure.
With respect and gratitude, the members of the Twenty-seventh Alaska Legislature congratulate and appreciate Winifred Beans
for her life work and outstanding contribution to the people of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.