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Matthews, Clifford & Dora (Heitman)

by Shirley Matthews Doyle

Dora Heitman was born in Kodiak, Alaska, of Aleut-Russian and German descent to August Henry and Perascobia (Rogers) Heitman. August died in 1929 in Kodiak, leaving a family of 21 children.

Dora moved to Juneau in 1930, to work in the canneries, where she met Clifford Matthews. Clifford was born of Indian descent in Tyee, Alaska in June, 1900. Dora and Cliff were married in Juneau in November 1930. The Matthews were divorced in January, 1942.

Back in the 1920’s and 1930’s, when smokers and boxing matches were frequent town entertainment, Cliff was usually a headliner. Ill health finally got the better of Cliff, once one of Juneau’s top boxers. In the U.S. Native Hospital as a tuberculosis and stroke patient, Cliff left his hospital bed sometime during the night and was presumed to have jumped off the Juneau- Douglas Bridge in March, 1953.

Frank Luyckfassell and Dora Heitman had two children, Francine and Jerry. Frank had worked his way from Canada via a ship to Juneau in the late 1920’s. He was employed by the Alaska Juneau Gold Mine and was also a longshoreman. He later opened a restaurant, in his home, with the children, on Willoughby Avenue, called Laura Lee’s, where Bullwinkle’s Pizza Parlor is now located.

Dora was the mother of four other children; Leonard, Jean, Shirley and Frank. The family was raised in Juneau in the 40’s and 50’s, having spent nine years in the Juneau Children’s Home, run by Lyle and Helen Johnson. The children all attended the Juneau public schools. By the mid 1950’s, most of the family had moved to the Seattle-Tacoma area where they all still remain. Dora is living in Arlington, Washington, with her granddaughter. Leonard lives in Olympia, Jean lives in Stanwood, Shirley lives in Gig Harbor, Francine lives in Tacoma, Jerry lives in Winlock and Frank lives in Centralia.

(L to R): Francine, Shirley, Frankie being held by Frank Luyckfassel and Jerry.

Clifford Matthews

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