Sunday, March 8, 2009

Thelma Buchholdt, 3-term FANHS National President, named to Alaska's Hall of Fame

Titania Buchholdt, daughter of Jon and the late Thelma Buchholdt, recently wrote:

"This bit of news was mentioned to me this evening by Mariecris Gatlabayan, who is the archivist working on Mom's papers. Mom was named to be in the Alaska Women's Hall of Fame!

Thelma Buchholdt is one of 50 women (the inaugural group) to be inducted into the Alaska Women's Hall of Fame this Saturday, March 6, 2009 (6:30 pm, at the BP Center on East Benson Blvd). The list of women to be inducted includes many of Mom's friends and associates. Here's the website: "

This month, the Asian Journal published another story about Thelma.

The article opens by stating:

"The life of Thelma Garcia Buchholdt was one full of “firsts”:
The first Asian American elected to the Alaska State Legislature (1974)
The first female Filipino American elected to a legislature in the United States (1974)
The founder of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Alaska (1966)
The first female to be elected President of the Filipino Community of Anchorage, Inc. (1973)
The first Asian American elected to serve as President of the National Order of Women Legislators (1980)
Founder of the Asian Alaskan Cultural Center, the first cross-cultural center of its kind in Alaska (1980)

THELMA Garcia Buchholdt was a Filipino American community activist, politician, teacher, lawyer, historian, public speaker, and author. She was elected to the Alaska House of Representatives for four consecutive terms, from 1974 through 1982. She was the author of the book Filipinos in Alaska: 1788-1958 which is now in its third printing ... "

If you'd like to purchase a copy of Filipinos in Alaska: 1788-1958, please contact us at FANHS.

FANHS Trustees and many others deeply appreciate Thelma's work and are honored to have worked with her. In 2005, I wrote this note to Thelma (photographed on her website here):

"So many of us Trustees agree that you inspire us with all you do and are. After your Chapter report, we said, "WOW." I've learned so much from working with you and look forward to expanding the work of FANHS. Many thanks, too, to Jon for supporting our work. Cheers to more fun and work together!"

I took this photo of Thelma at a dinner with FANHS Trustees at Sang Kee Restaurant in Philadelphia in June of 2007. We didn't know that our Philadelphia meeting of national FANHS Trustees, a book signing, and this dinner would be Thelma's last FANHS events before her death in November, 2007.

Life is short. I hope that we make the most of every opportunity.

While Thelma and other community pioneers are missed, their histories and spirits inspire us to continue the work of FANHS while building our communities and working for social justice -- the way so many before us have done.

Please be in touch.


Dr. Joan May T. Cordova, FANHS National President,

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