Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Message from Deanna's Family

As some of you may already know, we lost Deanna Kingston last Friday to breast cancer.  She was an extraordinary women full of love, compassion for others and a brilliant mind.  Her friends and family wish to pass along a few words about her life. Please feel free to share this others. Her memory lives on in all of us.

Deanna Marie Paniataaq Kingston
July 21, 1964-Dec. 2, 2011

OSU Professor of anthropology, Dr. Deanna Kingston, 47, of Corvallis followed her ancestors on December 2, 2011.  Deanna, descendent of the King Island Native Community, was born, raised, and resided in Oregon.  She is survived by her supportive and loving family, son Edward Tattayuna Kingston, parents Olga Muktoyuk Kingston and Dalena SpiritSong Kingston, Sister Rena Seunninga, brother-in-law Henk Seunninga; niece Kenna and nephew Connor Ryan Seunninga, brothers Kevin and A. Scott Kingston and numerous family in Nome, Anchorage, Fairbanks and the greater Alaska region.

Deanna often commented that she felt she was born an anthropologist.  Her love for peoples, cultures, stories and legends carried her to many parts of the world but always brought her home. Dr. Kingston received her BS in Science Communications from the University of Portland in 1986, an MAIS in Cultural Anthropology from Oregon State University in 1993 and her PhD in Anthropology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1999.  In 2000, Dr. Kingston began her journey as a professor of anthropology at Oregon State University. An unfailing supporter of students of color, she worked tirelessly with Native students, advising and co-advising many native graduate students over her 10 plus years at Oregon State University.  Working as an advisor for the Native American Longhouse, she supported Native students and faculty alike at OSU, and served as one of the finest role models of a colleague, friend, mentor, and scholar.

Deanna had many great accomplishments through her work, her son and family, and her open candor during her long battle with cancer.  She served on the National Science Foundation’s Office of Polar Programs Advisory Committee and also on the SEARCH (Study for Environmental Arctic Change) Responding to Climate Change Panel. Dr. Kingston participated in numerous workshops and conferences including “Designing an Arctic Observing Network” in Copenhagen, Denmark, an international conference on indigenous knowledge at Pennsylvania State University and a workshop at the International Arctic Social Science Association meeting, sponsored in part by the Alaska Native Science Commission, on collaborating with Arctic communities. She was cognizant of efforts both in the circumpolar Arctic and in the Pacific Northwest to consult, respect, and collaborate with Native American/indigenous communities, particularly when it comes to their knowledge of the environment.  Deanna’s inspirational thoughts and ideas will be kept alive in the numerous articles and publications she wrote and in the legacy of the students she advised.  Her unerring commitment to the betterment of others and her community were demonstrated in her participation in a myriad of organizations such as the International Arctic Social Science Association, Alaska Anthropology Association, the Arctic Institute of North America and the Planning Committee for the International Conference on Indigenous Placenames, Guovdageiadnu, Norway, September 2010.

In 2003 she received a National Science Foundation grant to document and compare scientific knowledge with traditional ecological knowledge of King Island, Alaska.  Thanks to her work through this grant, many King Island peoples were able to return to King Island and share their knowledge and wisdom with the younger King Islanders.  This work culminated in one of her proudest accomplishments, the King Island Placenames Project interactive website that documents the cultural geography, biogeography and traditional ecological knowledge of King Island (

Devoted to furthering numerous causes and helping others along their paths, Deanna kept a long-running, open, intimate diary of her journey with cancer ( that was a source of inspiration and healing for her, her friends and families, and countless others living with or affected by the disease. Despite the often heavy topics of her blog posts, Deanna strove to find the humor and insight in every situation and communicate both to others. Her courageous and kind spirit will forever be missed and remembered.

About her next voyage, Deanna wrote on her blog, "don't be sad, be happy for my passing ‘cause I'm going on a wonderful journey. I'm not sure where, but if you miss me, just think about me and I'll be there- wrapping you with my spirit, keeping you comfortable, wishing you well."

A public remembrance, honoring and celebration of Deanna’s life is being planned at Oregon State University’s Native American Longhouse. A private family ceremony will be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Deanna Kingston Memorial at the OSU Federal Credit Union, PO Box 306 Corvallis, OR 97339-0306


Renn said...

This is such a loss. My sympathies to Deanna's family and all who knew and loved her.

LuAnn Dunkinson said...

I did not know Deanna, but was a reader of her breast cancer blog. I was vaguely aware of some of her accomplishments strictly through some of her references...but, after reading this, wow. What an amazing woman. My sympathies to her family, and such a shame breast cancer had to take her at such a young age.

crackerjaxshop said...

What a wonderful woman....such a loss...thank you all you did while you were here a very short time, .the world
Is a much better place because of you!

Patricia Parker said...

Deanna Kingston was no doubt a wonderful women. Let her soul rest in peace.
cancer centers in philadelphia

Cynthia said...

My sympathies are with all of Dee's family and friends. She was a remarkable woman and a model of grace and bravery. Thank you, Dee.

Liz Kreger said...

I'm incredibly sorry for the loss of Dee. We used to email back and forth regularly when she was looking for someone who'd gone through the Tykerb/Xeloda Chemo cocktail and I think I got to know her quite well.

I'm only sorry that I didn't follow her blog as closely as I should have. I'd pretty much stopped blog hopping about a year ago and first now discovered that Dee had passed away. My heart aches for her family and friends because I know she was well loved.

RIP Dee.