Edward B. Rasmuson*
* Born 1940, deceased 2022
Ed Rasmuson was a third generation Alaskan. His family’s roots in the state were planted at the start of the 20th century when his Swedish grandparents came to Alaska to serve as missionaries in Yakutat. He attended high school in Anchorage and Lakeside in Seattle, and graduated from Harvard in 1962. Following graduation, he worked at Chemical Bank and at Brown Brothers, Harriman (an investment firm) before returning to Ketchikan in 1964 where he began his long career with the Bank. From 1966 to 1972 he achieved successive bank promotions and in December 1971 he was promoted to executive vice president. He became president of National Bank of Alaska in 1974 and chairman of the Board in 1985. When National Bank of Alaska merged with Wells Fargo Bank, Mr. Rasmuson became chairman of the Statewide Advisory Board. In retirement from Wells Fargo Bank, Mr. Rasmuson continued to serve as chairman of the Statewide Advisory Board for the bank.
For nearly 22 years until his death on Jan. 4, 2022, Mr. Rasmuson served as chairman and then chairman emeritus of the foundation established by his grandmother in 1955. Rasmuson Foundation, which until 2000 was modest in size, is now one of the largest foundations in the Northwest with more than $700 million in assets. The Foundation funds projects and programs throughout Alaska in the areas of arts and culture; health and human services; community development and education.
Community service has always been important to the Rasmuson family. In September of 1993, Mr. Rasmuson received the Distinguished Scout Award, the second ever given in Alaska. This award recognized Eagle Scouts who, after 25 years, have distinguished themselves in their life’s work and have shared their talents with the community. He continued his active involvement by serving as treasurer and then president of the Boy Scouts of America, Western Council. Mr. Rasmuson was past president of the Alaska Bankers Association. He was the Honorary Consul of Sweden for the State of Alaska.
Mr. Rasmuson was also a strong supporter of education. He served on the Sheldon Jackson Board of Trustees for seven years; the University of Alaska Board of Regents for 14 years, and as trustee for Alaska Pacific University. He was the only individual to serve on all three university boards.
Other memberships included the Anchorage Museum Foundation Board, Elks Club, Pioneers of Alaska, Explorer’s Club, and the Bohemian Club. He served as a board member of the CIRI Foundation and was a past president of United Way (1977) and Downtown Rotary (1992-93).
From 2001 to 2004, Mr. Rasmuson served as a commissioner on the federal Commission on Ocean Policy. He was a former member of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council. He was also a recipient of “Alaskan of the Year” award.
In his spare time, Mr. Rasmuson was an airplane pilot, hunter, downhill skier, snowmachiner and fisherman. Mr. Rasmuson and his wife of 52 years, Cathy, had four children and eight grandchildren.