Van Diest Family Reunion

On August 2nd  my uncle Bill Noren and my cousin Julie with her husband John and their three children arrived from Arkansas.  Over the next week the rest of the family trickled in.  At the height of our family reunion there were 36 of us traipsing around the Mat-Su Valley.

My sister Jeannette and her husband Paco showed up from Spain with her three children and my other sister Joanne with her husband Kevin and their five children came from Washington. My Dad and Mom, Gale and Jean Van Diest also came up from Washington. 

They joined my brothers Mark and his wife Lorri, Jay and his wife Susan, along with Grace and I.  All of us Alaskans have three children each at home.  My daughter Teressa was the only one who couldn’t make it because she was working for the National Park Service in Virginia. 

We  went to Hatcher Pass, floated the Knik River with an armada of 5 canoes and 3 small boats, picked blue berries up by Gunsight Mountain, caught silver salmon in Jim Creek, went to Whittier, Valdez, and Seward, camped out in wall tents, went on a  Kenai Fjords tour, and ate…a LOT.

We told a lot of stories, and generally let all the cousins get to know each other again. 

We had a birthday party at the Matanuska River Park for my Mom and her brother Bill who were born on the same day but four years apart and heard more stories about the old days. 


Tim Berberich took family photos in Jay’s back yard.  He is a real professional who did a great job with this bunch. I would recommend him to anyone looking for a professional photographer. It’s a good thing we didn’t depend on me and my camera…I had the wrong settings for most of the reunion. 

I do like this one however.




All the while I tried to keep up with my real estate responsibilities.  Please forgive me if I have been hard to reach.  The last family just left this morning. 

Give me a call Monday, I promise I’ll be a good Realtor.