Josefa Velasquez, Unalaska's Oldest Resident, Dies at 91

Tuesday, March 26 2013

Image courtesy of Frank Kelty

Unalaska’s oldest resident passed away on Sunday. Josefa Gozun Velasquez, 91, had lived in the community for more than 25 years, first as a seafood processor, and then as a caregiver.

Her son-in-law, Frank Kelty, says she helped raise nearly four generations of children in Unalaska -- including her own grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

“She just loved children. That was the greatest joy in her life. People would always say they would see her at 3 o’clock in the afternoon waiting for [her granddaughter] Joanne’s daughters to get out of school so she would be able to give them a sandwich or some soup -- have food ready for them when they came home from school.”

Velasquez was a seafood processor at Alyeska for ten years in the 80s and 90s. Kelty, who managed part of the plant at that time, says despite being 66 when she started, she was an extremely hard worker.

“She always tried to squeeze in extra overtime after doing a 12-hour shift, and I kept trying to tell her to refuse, but even though I was the boss, I was still her son-in-law first, so she didn’t listen to me.”

Velasquez passed away while playing cards with a group of friends. She’ll be interred in the Philippines later this month, and there will be a local memorial service for her Tuesday evening at 7:30 at St. Christopher’s by the Sea.

A remembrance from her family is posted here.

Jodelyn Velasquez on Sunday, March 31 2013:

She was realy aloving grandmother,even though she's not here for a long time, i can still feel her loving&caring presence. she is one of a kind. Lola Epang thank you for all the support you gave us. hoping that you're happy wherever you are. We still not forget you. I miss you. Sorry for not telling you this before. I Love You so much.....

Jordan Velasquez on Thursday, March 28 2013:

My pretty and loving Lola. We been missing you so badly Lola.. We love you so much..

Dang Lagman on Thursday, March 28 2013:

Lola Josefa Velasquez is a very loving grandmother. We call her Ima. I had witnessed how she raised my friend Roberto Velasquez, one of her grandsons. Roberto then always share stories about his Lola. He was so excited when he receives Ima's package of chocolates and other stuffs. Ima, mekatakman ku pu kareng padala mu.hehe :-) at salamat pu keng miryenda patse mamasyal kami keng bale u kanta:-) I believe you fought the good fight of faith and you are now resting with our will always be remembered!

Jeanne on Wednesday, March 27 2013:

My love & prayers to the family! I was one of the lucky people to have known Lola! She is truly remarkable and loving person, she treats me and my kids as one of her own. Good night Lola! We will miss you!

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