ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Sanna Strand Green, a longtime resident of Anchorage Alaska, passed away on Dec. 23, 2019, at her home. Sanna was a special friend, a connector and organizer of people, the matriarch of her extended family, and an inspiration to all who knew her.
Sanna was born on August 13 in 1931 and was the youngest child of the Green family with four older brothers and a sister. Her mother Grace, a school teacher, married a handsome cowboy, C.C. Green and they homesteaded in southeastern Montana. Sanna attended High School in Colstrip where her father drove her to the end of the bus line each Monday morning and was waiting at the same spot every Friday afternoon. She strongly appreciated her upbringing and family and held a deep interest in the ranch area where she had been raised.
Sanna was a Montana State University alumnus and moved to Alaska to teach Biology in 1958. This rugged state offered her group of flying and skiing friends the opportunity to live exciting lives. She was always an adventurer: skiing down huge mountains after being dropped from a helicopter into fresh snow, snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, interacting with the unique creatures on the Galapagos Islands, viewing the wildlife in Africa, and kayaking Prince William Sound every spring for many years.
Sanna acquired a love of competition at an early age, playing baseball with her older brothers. She never shied away from any sporting endeavor. She excelled in basketball, tennis, and in later years competitive ballroom dancing. She won the top solo dance award at a Regional Dance Competition just two years ago. She was an avid bridge player and loved to play word and number games. She loved her home and garden in Anchorage and often hosted political fundraisers and holiday gatherings.
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Sanna was devoted to education and was a fierce advocate for students’ rights. She served as State President of the Teacher’s Association and helped create significant improvements in teacher’s working conditions. She utilized her skill as a private pilot to help start a business called The Learning Tree. She and her partners flew to remote areas of Alaska offering in-services for teachers. Later she was appointed the Executive Director of the Professional Teaching Practice Commission of Alaska where she vigorously investigated violations of the state’s code of ethics and helped to change state laws to protect students. Sanna’s work improved education statewide. Finally, she started college funds for her many grandnieces and nephews and certainly influenced the educational level of generations of her family and all the students and fellow teachers she touched.
Sanna was also an energetic activist for women’s equality. Inclusion and acceptance of all people was simply a part of her fiber. Equally, she fought for animal rights and advocated for environmental protection.
Sanna was such an interesting and delightfully fun person to be around, she will be missed by her extended group of family and friends. Being quite eloquent, with an exceptional sense of humor, she brought life and joy to every situation. She was generous and kind and simply a wonderful human.
A celebration of Sanna’s life will be held in Anchorage in early Feb. and in Montana in late May. If you wish to honor her memory, a contribution to The Nature Conservancy or Planned Parenthood would be appropriate, as Sanna generously supported both of these nonprofits.