UAA’s Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) has received a $288,000 check from the estate of Roxolana Pomeroy, for the Harold E. Pomeroy Public Policy Research Endowment. The check was presented to ISER by Dolly Farnsworth, administrator of the Pomeroy Estate, on Wednesday, Oct. 17. Mrs. Farnsworth homesteaded in Soldotna around the same time the Pomeroys homesteaded on Kachemak Bay and the two women remained friends for over 60 years.
Roxolana Pomeroy established the endowment in 1985, to honor her husband, Harold Pomeroy, who died in 1983. Both Harold and Roxolana Pomeroy took a keen interest in public policy in Alaska and were active in state and local government during the early decades of statehood.
“Harold was intensely interested in public policy,” says Fran Ulmer, former UAA chancellor. “He served on the Alaska Growth Policy Council in the 1970s under Governor Hammond… Harold was fascinated by the interplay between subsidies and economic development and ‘the false economy of Alaska,’ which for him referred to the many activities that could never stand on their own if not state/federal indirect and direct subsidies. He loved discussions about how to build a sustainable and manageable state with planning and analysis as drivers for decisions.”
The endowment supports faculty research on Alaska public policy, and ISER faculty will determine which issues to study in the future. Since receiving the original endowment in 1985, ISER has used it to support research on the critical issues of Alaska Native subsistence and health care.
About the Pomeroys
Harold Edward Pomeroy was born in Burbank, California in 1902. From 1932–1936, he was mayor of South Gate, California. He was in the U. S. Army from 1943-1947, serving in North Africa, Italy, England, and Austria, where he was executive officer of the Austrian Planning Unit during the Allied occupation of Austria.
He moved to Alaska in 1949 and homesteaded at Bear Cove on Kachemak Bay. He served as director of the Alaska Territorial Civil Defense from 1954–1958, first chairman of the Kenai Peninsula Borough from 1963–1966, and on the state’s Agricultural Task Force from 1982–1983.
Roxolana Eurydice (Skobelska) Pomeroy was born in 1924 in the Ukraine. She studied at the University of Vienna and was a courier for the anti-Nazi underground during World War II. After the war she worked as an interpreter for the Allied occupation of Austria. During that time she met Harold Pomeroy.
In 1948, she emigrated to the United States and in 1949 moved to Alaska. She and Harold Pomeroy were married in 1955. They developed a sawmill and small farm and sold timber and vegetables in the Homer area. They moved to Soldotna in 1963 and later to Anchorage.
Over the years Roxolana Pomeroy was a land law examiner for the Alaska Division of Lands, senior administrative officer at McLaughlin Youth Center, and chief administrator of the Alaska Psychiatric Institute. She and her husband also helped the Tolstoy Foundation buy the land that in 1967 became the Old Believer community of Nikolaevsk, near Homer. She died in 2008.