Longtime Wrangell resident Doreen 'Stretch' Gale Keso dies at 84

Longtime Wrangell resident Doreen "Stretch" Gale Keso (Ellingson), 84, passed away on Jan. 7, 2024, in Anchorage, where she had resided since February 2021. Stretch was an Alaska pioneer, living in Wrangell for more than 60 years.

A celebration of life will be held this summer in Wrangell. The date, time and place will be announced at a later date. Honoring her wishes, burial will be at the Masonic Cemetery in Coquille, Oregon, at the family plot.

She was born in Coquille, Oregon, to Ira Denton and Florence Laverne Ellingson on Nov. 29, 1939. She graduated from Coquille High School in 1957 and attended modeling school in Los Angeles afterward.

In 1960, she accompanied her parents on a trip to Wrangell and fell in love with the friendly town. Deciding to stay, she worked many jobs during her lifetime. Driving cab for Lon Powers and Bob Burrill for 16 years, she came to know many people. Afterward, she worked at the sawmill in the mid to late 1970s and later the city Public Works Department.

In 1996, she attended the Heartwood Institute Healing Academy, where she became certified in acupressure and shiatsu massage - working her craft in Wrangell. She also landscaped for many businesses and residents.

"She enjoyed music, roller skating, dancing, waterskiing, boating and, of course, the hot tub parties and camping on the Stikine River with her friends," her family wrote.

She had two daughters, Monica and Jennifer Keso, with her then-husband Miles "Mike" West Keso.

Stretch is preceded in death by her parents and her brother Dale Denton Ellingson.

She is survived by her two daughters Monica Lynn Carlstrom, of Eagle River, and Jennifer Anne Ditcharo, of Anchorage; grandsons Alexander Thomas Ditcharo of Juneau, and Antonio Miles Ditcharo of Kent, Washington; great-grandchildren Lily Ditcharo, Les Nelson, Ocean Ditcharo, Allan Balter-Lane, Jaxton Ditcharo, Aela Ditcharo, Alexander Jr. Ditcharo and Onyx Ditcharo.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests charitable donations be made to Alzheimer's Association of Alaska Chapter at http://www.alz.org or 1-800-272-3900. You may also donate to your favorite charity in her memory.

Cards and letters may be sent to her daughters at: Monica Carlstrom, 8906 Meadow Park Circle, Eagle River, AK 99577; and Jennifer Ditcharo, 2806 Barbara St., No. 11, Anchorage, AK 99501.


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