Pioneering Alaska doctor Marcell Jackson dies

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — M. Marcell Jackson, a medical pioneer as one of Alaska’s first female doctors, has died in Anchorage at age 84.

Jackson’s medical career dated from territorial days. During early statehood, she was one of a handful of women practicing medicine in the state, according to the Anchorage Daily News (http://is.gd/1IRiwt ).

A local funeral home confirms the death, which occurred Dec. 8.

Jackson was born in Lewistown, Mont., in 1929. When she was a toddler, her mother died. At age 2, Jackson contracted polio and as a teenager she had her spine fused and used a back brace.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Montana State University, and moved to Alaska in 1951. She became a lab technician for Anchorage doctors, one of whom urged her to pursue a medical degree.

She graduated with honors from the George Washington University in Washington, D.C., in 1962. She completed her residency at an Anchorage hospital and in 1973 went into private practice.

She delivered more than 1,000 Alaska babies. She was pregnant herself while delivering one baby and felt the early stages of labor coming on, but successfully completed the other woman’s delivery before giving birth to her own baby.

She regularly made house calls and at one time was one of the few doctors in Anchorage who would accept Medicare patients.

A celebration of her life is scheduled for Jan. 19 in Anchorage.

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Information from: Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News, http://www.adn.com

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