DeeDee JonroweHometown: Willow, Alaska
DeeDee Jonrowe, 64, was born in Frankfort, Germany, while her father was in the military. The family moved to Alaska in 1971 where her dad was stationed at Ft. Richardson. DeeDee has a B.S. degree in Biological Sciences and Renewable Resources and now lists her occupation as kennel owner and public speaker. She began mushing in 1979 when she was living in Bethel and her mother was excited about volunteering in the early Iditarod races. (Peg Stout attended every Iditarod start before she passed away in July of 2015, except in 1974 when her husband was stationed Outside.) DeeDee says, “This will be my 36th Iditarod start, 16 finishes in the top 10. In three decades I have seen our event mature in many ways as has the state of Alaska. I am committed to using the things I have learned to improve the lives and conditions of all working dogs, the people of rural Alaska, especially young people searching for a meaningful life and our precious elders who have so much to teach us. God has blessed me with the health and circumstances to participate in this celebration of the bond—dogs with man, together opening the unknown. I am truly blessed.” Deedee goes on to say, “When challenged with the Sockeye fire, I had very little time to evacuate. Instinctively, I grabbed the most important things in my life, my dogs. Besides a few guns, we lost everything we have ever owned, all our records. We only saved our dogs. That is the deepest value I placed on them. This will be my final Iditarod. I will continue to train and even race shorter races. I want to thank all the villagers and volunteers that have made it possible to be on the trail since 1980. I was race judge in 1985 and flew out on the trail in 1982 to encourage racers. The only year I was not involved in any way was 1986. I am relieved that I have made this decision. It feels right for myself and for Mike. I will not raise pups nor are there any dogs for sale. I will age them out as the precious family they are. The 1st and only concern I had when faced with losing everything. I want to give back.” DeeDee is a member of the Big Lake Baptist Church and Wasilla Sunrise Rotary. She says her hobbies and interests include “training Labrador Retrievers, raising hobby chickens, and loving her Pekingese.” DeeDee is married to Mike, secretary of the Iditarod’s Board of Directors.