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Dafoe, Don & Lois (Smith)

by Judy Dafoe Hopkins

Don and Lois Dafoe with their daughter Judy, came to Juneau in the spring of 1953.

Born in North Dakota, Don received his undergraduate degree in education at Valley City State College, and in 1938, became a high school teacher and athletic coach in Bliss, Idaho. There he met and married Lois Smith, a local teacher and girls’ athletics coach. Their daughter Judy was born in 1941. Don served as superintendent of schools in both Bliss and Rupert, Idaho, and earned his master’s degree in education at the U. of Idaho. In 1951, the Dafoes moved to Anchorage where Don served as assistant superintendent of schools and Lois was the sole teacher in a small private kindergarten.

The family moved to Juneau when Don was appointed territorial commissioner of education in 1953, and remained there until Judy graduated from high school. During that period, Lois worked for the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game. Avid fishermen, Don and Lois spent many of their leisure hours on the water, first in a small boat they kept at Tee Harbor, and later in a larger cruiser whose ownership they shared with their good friends Henry and Florence Leege. Lois, an accomplished painter and potter, sold handcrafted Alaska-motif pottery through local shops.

Don resigned as commissioner in 1959, completed his doctorate in education at Stanford and took a position with the U.S. Office of Education in Washington, D.C. Don and Lois returned to Anchorage in 1961, where Don was superintendent of schools. In 1966, he was employed by the U. of Alaska to establish upper division and graduate programs in Anchorage. In 1969, Don and Lois again moved to Washington, D.C., where Don served as executive director for the Council of Chief State School Officers. They returned to Alaska in 1971, this time to Fairbanks. Don was executive vice president of the U. of Alaska when he retired in 1976. During their retirement years, Don and Lois divided their time between Willow, Anchorage and Arizona. Lois died in 1997 and Don in 1999.

Judy graduated from Juneau-Douglas High School in 1959. She worked for a time for Senator Ernest Gruening in Washington, D.C. In 1962, she married William W. Hopkins, then a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News. Bill and Judy have two daughters, Blythe Campbell of Anchorage and Darien Reece of Portland, Oregon, and four grandchildren. They recently sold their Anchorage home and have happily resettled in Juneau!

Bill’s jobs included stints with the Anchorage Fuel Dealers’ Association, the Alaska State Housing Authority, and the Office of Governor William A. Egan. In 1968, he went to work for the Alaska Oil and Gas Association and retired as the organization’s executive director in 1993. For ten years Bill served as AOGA’s on-site lobbyist, so the Hopkins family spent legislative sessions in Juneau and the remainder of the year in Anchorage. In fact, daughter Blythe represented Juneau in the State spelling bee in 1973 (and went on to the national competition as the Alaska representative) and graduated from Juneau-Douglas High School in 1977. Judy and Blythe both edited the high school newspaper, The J-Bird, in their respective senior years. Blythe’s husband Rob is the son of Bruce and Marl Campbell, who also lived in Juneau prior to 1959. Both the Campbells were employed by the territorial government, Bruce with the Alaska Road Commission and Marl with the Dept. of Education, which was headed by Don Dafoe!

Judy has worked as a secretary for Richfield Oil and Arco Alaska, Inc. and as an administrator with the Legislative Affairs Agency’s public services division. Since 1986, she has been self-employed writing books and patterns for quilters.

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