Gladys Alsin

Gladys Alsin, 103, a pioneer resident of Mercer Island since 1948, died peacefully, alert until the end, on April 6, 2009. Mrs. Alsin, a longtime business owner on Mercer Island, built the Islandia Center in 1964 on the site of her original home. In 1949 she purchased 72 acres of land adjoining Pioneer Park and East Mercer Way. She was an eyewitness to six decades of change on Mercer Island, including personally lobbying for development of Island Crest Way. Active up until her 90s, she often vocalized her concerns about Island politics and development in the Mercer Island Reporter.

Mrs. Alsin was born on Dec. 22, 1905, in Halbrite, Saskatchewan, lived in Outlook, Mont., and moved to Minneapolis, where she met and married the love of her life, Luke Suby, in the midst of the Depression. They moved to Alaska, where their children, Juneau and Bob, were born. In 1931 her husband drowned in a tragic boating accident. She later married Carl Alsin and moved to Redmond, Wash., to raise her children before moving to Mercer Island in 1948.

A world traveler, Mrs. Alsin had fond memories of adventuresome trips to South Africa, Australia, Fiji and a unique trip to every country in South America in a twin engine plane piloted by her brother, Russell Karels. Gladys will always be remembered for her love of flowers, her independent spirit and her generous smile. She is survived by children, Juneau Chagall and Bob Alsin; grandchildren, Dean Alsin, Tenley Tobin and Tracy Lakey; and great-grandchildren, Travis, Christina, Kelsi and Sean. A celebration of Mrs. Alsin’s life will be held on April 18 at the home of Tenley Tobin. Please call (206) 355-6725 for information on joining the celebration.