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Boggan, Gertrude (Johnson)

by Karyn Boggan Price

Gertrude was born on March 30, 1900, the sixth child born to Peter and Suzann (Jennie) Johnson. The Johnsons had moved to Treadwell in 1898, where Peter was one of the supervisors in the Mexican Mine. Gertrude often talked about how delightful it was to grow up in Treadwell, certainly a mining town, but with a very active social life-many dances, swimming parties, and picnics nearby. Of course, for a young woman, the odds must ave been wonderfully skewed in women’s favor! Gertrude and her sister, Bess J. Lavenik, were the only Johnsons who remained in the area after the cave-in.

Gertrude graduated from Douglas High School in 1918, a class of three! Two years later, she married Claud H. Helgesen, a local accountant by whom she had two sons, Claud L. and Robert M., and one daughter, Susan J. Claud H. Helgesen died in the early 1930s and in 1935, Gertrude married Garland W. Boggan, a local floor layer. Gertrude and Garland had a daughter, Karyn. Together, Gertrude and Garland owned the Cliff Apartments until they burned in 1943, and the Lesher Apartments, now the Malaspina Apartments, until they were sold in the 60s.

The family home on Dixon was taken by the State in 1974. Garland Boggan died in 1947. Gertrude worked for the U.S. Post Office from the 20s to 1961 when she retired and moved to Seattle where she died on December 2, 1972.

Claud Helgesen joined the merchant marine after he graduated from Juneau High School in 1940, and made that his career. Bob Helgesen graduated from Juneau High School in 1943, and after being drafted was consoled by his mother, who reminded him of the opportunity to see the world. He was encouraged until he discovered that he would do his basic training at Fort Richardson and thereafter be stationed at Duck Creek Camp, ten miles out of Juneau. Bess and Martin Lavenik, Gertrude’s sister and brother-in-law had a house about where the Travelodge is now located and, through a surveying “glitch,” part of their front porch was included on the Duck Creek Army reserve, which meant that there were WONDERFUL get-togethers at the Laveniks during the war since alcohol (beer) was not allowed on the reserves, but there wasn’t much that the Army could do about Aunt Bess’ front porch!

Bob was assigned to the Medical Corps and after the war attended Stanford University and graduated from Stanford Medical School in 1954. He practiced medicine in San Mateo, California until his death on January 10, 1988. Claud also died in the 1980s. Susan lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Karyn Boggan Price still lives in Juneau. Gertrude left four grandchildren.

Garland and Gertrude Boggan and Martin Lavenik and Etta Bringdale.

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