Remembering Arliss Sturgulewski

Arliss Sturgulewski, prominent Alaskan leader and long-time supporter of Alaska Sea Grant, died on April 7. Sturgulewski was active on the boards and committees of many nonprofits and educational institutions in Alaska, including the advisory council of the UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences and Alaska Sea Grant’s advisory committee from 2003 to 2015.

Woman with white hair and glasses
Arliss Sturgulewski in 2011 at a meeting of Alaska Sea Grant’s advisory committee. Photo credit: Deborah Mercy

Former Alaska Sea Grant director Paula Cullenberg shared this remembrance.

I once asked her (probably after a long day), “Arliss, how can you always be so consistently optimistic and positive, even when things aren’t going well?” She explained that her husband was killed in an accident when her son was very young and she realized that it was up to her to make the best and the most of her life. She said that you control your perspective on life and she just decided that she would be a positive force going forward, for herself and her son.

Arliss loved Alaska and would travel to a new part of the state each year with a group of friends, called the Road Runners. She would meet new and old friends everywhere across the state.

After I gave her some of my family’s Bristol Bay salmon catch, Arliss wrote to me. She said, “I truly think that one of the reasons I am so healthy for an old girl is all the salmon I have had the pleasure to eat over the years. Can you believe there are people who do not eat and enjoy salmon?”

Arliss was a force of good for Alaska and its people. She was smart, direct and worked incredibly hard, always involved in creative and forward-thinking actions to make our state stronger. Alaska Sea Grant certainly benefited from her support and creative energy and I was lucky to have known her as a mentor and friend.

All of us at Alaska Sea Grant will remember Arliss Sturgulewski’s many valuable contributions not only to our organization but to the state of Alaska. We offer our condolences to her family and friends.