Merry Tuten, Former Statewide Director of Land Management, Dies at 58

Headshot of Merry Tuten
Fomer Statewide Director of Land Management died from leukemia on July 22.

Merry Allyn Tuten, 1954-2012

Merry Allyn Tuten, 58, passed away on July 22, 2012, in Houston, Texas, of leukemia. She lived in Alaska from 1976 to 1990. Retired at the time of her death, she enjoyed restoring historic buildings in Argentina with her beloved husband, Paul Schutt, painting, traveling, and exploring the outdoors.

Merry was born in Long Beach, California, on July 4, 1954, to Audley and Martha Tuten. She graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in environmental studies and earned an M.S. in Natural Resources Policy and Management from the University of Michigan. She attended the JETRO/MITI Japanese Business Study Program as a guest of the Japanese government.

Merry began her career in 1976 working for the University of Alaska Cooperative Park Studies Unit evaluating subsistence activities on the Alaska Peninsula. In 1978, she was appointed statewide Director of Land Management for the University of Alaska. She managed the university’s real estate and natural resource assets and negotiated a landmark agreement returning management of its lands from the state to the university.

Later the governor appointed her director of Pacific Rim Relations to attract foreign direct investment in Alaska real estate and natural resource industries. As Executive Director of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, she helped guide the industry through the Exxon-Valdez Oil Spill aftermath.

During her 14 years in Alaska, Merry served on many boards and commissions. She was Vice Chair of the New Capital Site Planning Commission, a member of the Presidential Search Committee for the University of Alaska, and the first president of the Association of University Real Estate Officials (AUREO).

Merry will be remembered for her love of Alaska, passion for adventure and lifelong commitment to helping friends. Perhaps more than anything, she will be remembered for her radiant smile, warmth of personality, zest for life, “can do – why not” attitude, sense of adventure and love of sport and the great outdoors.

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