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A force in the Talkeetna community passed on this morning.

by Kirstin Merkley ~ June 4th, 2014

This obituary was submitted by Roberta Sheldon’s family.

Roberta Bille Reeve passed on the morning of June 4, 2014 in the company of her family at her Talkeetna home.  Roberta dearly loved the community and people of Talkeetna.  Her Celebration of Life will be held at the Sheldon Community Arts Hangar in Talkeetna on Sunday, June 22, 2014 at 4:00pm.

Roberta was born May 14, 1940, to Robert Reeve and Janice “Tilly” Reeve.  She was their firstborn daughter, named after her father who founded Reeve Aleutian Airways.

Roberta graduated from Anchorage High School, class of 1958.  She attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks where she made deep and lasting friendships with Alaskans from across the state.

She worked in administration for Reeve Aleutian Airways and then traveled the world in her job as a stewardess for a variety of non-scheduled carriers including Flying Tiger Line.

In 1964 she married Don Sheldon and moved to Talkeetna where they co-owned and operated Talkeetna Air Service.  Roberta celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of her arrival in Talkeetna on May 21, 2014.

Roberta was passionate about many environmental and preservation matters.  Her drive emanated from a desire to safeguard the character and integrity of those areas she cared for deeply.  She was a driving force behind the Talkeetna Historical Society and directly responsible for preserving numerous historical Talkeetna structures.  Roberta was exceedingly effective in shaping multiple local and regional land use plans.  She faithfully served as the Chair of the Talkeetna Community Council for many years where she established a voice for Talkeetna and a framework from which to enforce community desires.  Roberta was also a frequent advisor to countless community and environmental groups that tremendously benefited from her insight, and her organizational and writing skills.

As a historian and writer, Roberta contributed to many publications including Alaska Magazine.  She authored many published opinion pieces and letters to the editors of Alaska based news publications.  Roberta also wrote The Heritage of Talkeetna and The Mystery of The Cache Creek Murders, two authoritative books on life and historical accounts of the upper Susitna Valley.

She was preceded in death by her husband Donald Sheldon.

Roberta is survived by her daughter and son-in-law Holly and David Lee, daughter and son-in-law Kate Sheldon and Steve Mairose, son Robert Sheldon and daughter-in-law Marne Sheldon, granddaughters Tilly Sheldon Geiger and Reeve Mairose and grandsons Taylor Sheldon, Ryan Sheldon and Cameron Sheldon.

In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to the organization Roberta lovingly created named the Talkeetna Defense Fund, P.O. Box 292, Talkeetna, AK 99676.

11 Responses to A force in the Talkeetna community passed on this morning.

  1. Steve and Jackie Hanson

    We are so sorry to hear of her passing.. Our prayers and thoughts are with the family! Roberta has always been one of the pillars of Talkeetna. Working across the street from her house on main street for many years at Three Rivers , I always enjoyed seeing how big her sunflowers grew above the fence..

  2. Beatrice (VanHoose)Abfalter

    On behalf of my mother whom lives at her residence in Soldotna(Janet Van Hoose) and me, we send our sincere condolences to Don And Roberta’s family. Peace to all. And thank you Roberta, for all you’ve done for my hometown where I grew up.
    Beatrice Abfalter

  3. Fred Agree

    She was one of my favorite Talkeetnans and as classy as they came.
    Goodbye Roberta !

  4. Nikki Holley

    My deepest sypathies to the Sheldon family. I have and always will remember Roberta as a kind, intelligent, passionate and beautiful woman. I remember those gorgeous sunflowers of hers as well. They were strong and always rose to meet the challenges of a new day, just like Roberta. Rest in peace and may that new day you find on the horizon be as magnificent as you!

  5. Janet (Spencer)Smith

    To Holly,Kate,& Robert,

    I was very sad to hear of your Mother’s passing. I have very fond memories of your Mom & Dad. I babysat all of you when you were little kids, and stayed with you on all my visits to Talkeetna when I moved to Fairbanks. My thoughts and Prayers go out to you and your family in this time of sadness.

    Janet (Spencer Smith)

  6. Carol spencer

    So sorry for your loss. I remember when we lived across the road from you back in the 1960S & flying to Fairbanks once with your dad & mom. They both were wonderful people. Will be praying for the family.
    Skip & Carol Pencer

  7. DeLena Johnson

    Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the family. Roberta was so beautiful and one of a kind, Talkeetna will never be the same.

  8. Roger and Kris Dupey

    We are saddened by Roberta’s passing. She was truly a grand lady. Our best wishes for her family. We will miss her presence in the community of Talkeetna, she will live in our hearts and memories forever.

    PS. We have known Roberta for 12.5 years. It feels like we lost a family member – Roberta was a big presence in Talkeetna. I will miss our conversations. RIP

  9. Doug Geeting

    Roberta was always a positive force in my life. A good friend, a mentor, her door was always open if I needed her advice, the earlier years of developing an air service, Roberta was direct and to the point, if I was headed down the wrong track, she let me know it quickly. She would often just stop me on the street and say, “Doug, follow your dream, don’t ever give up”. When Roberta was concerned about something, mostly regarding the village, she would always call and talk to me about it, asking my opinion, and then most often ended up with an invite to come over for some coffee or tea….mostly so she could watch me flinch around the back yard when her goose got B lined for my butt..
    I enjoyed flying with Roberta, sometimes in the back seat of the family Cub doing touch and goes on the village air strip, or flying her out to the Cashe Creek mines.

    It is not enough to say it was an honor to know Roberta, as a friend, I will always carry her in my heart. RIP my friend.

  10. Kristine Drumm

    Roberta wil be missed greatly. condolances and prayers to her family.

  11. Mary Anna Jurasek

    To Holly, Kate and Robert, my thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family at this time with the passing of your mother, Roberta. I knew you dad as he was one of the pilots to take my family across the river to Talkeetna. I then met your mom after they got married. Your mom always had a smile on her face and I always enjoyed talking with her. She will be greatly missed, but now she is free of the pain.