Skip to content

Anchorage Pioneer Home Resident & Renowned Volunteer Celebrates 100th Birthday

100th birthdays are an exceptional occasion that few people have the opportunity to celebrate. Anchorage Pioneer Home resident Jean Kaufman, recently celebrated hers in a fashion so amazing it might truly be one for the record books. The depth of the impact that Jean has had on multiple communities across the state was never more illustrated than by the crowd that gathered together at the Anchorage Pioneer Home to celebrate her. The attendance list featured multiple Anchorage mayors (past and present), the Anchorage Fire Department, a host of Lady Shriner Clownettes, and an army of friends and family from across Alaska and Canada (including some that traveled all the way from Nova Scotia!). Not to mention, one of the most notable attendees – Mr. Whitekeys himself. As the Anchorage Pioneer Home Administrator, Rich Saville, put it “You know you’ve made it when Mr. Whitekeys shows up and sings two songs he wrote just for you on your 100th birthday!” 

For those who have not had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. Kaufman, or her alter ego “Buttons the Clown”, please allow us to briefly introduce you to this amazing woman! She has called Alaska “home” for over 66 years and is a beloved fixture of the Anchorage and Fairbanks communities, particularly in the realm of philanthropy where she has volunteered in various capacities for over 30 years. However her philanthropic alter ego, Buttons the Clown with the Lady Shriner’s Clownettes, may be even more renown than she is. Upon hearing that Mrs. Kaufman celebrated her 100th birthday dressed as Buttons, the Division of Alaska Pioneers Home director, Clinton Lasley, enthusiastically shared his fond memories of Buttons the Clown from his own Fairbanks childhood! Perhaps what made her alter ego, Buttons the Clown, so remarkable was that aside from bringing joy to people of all ages at parades and special events, her favorite past time was to bring cheer to hospitalized children. 

The 100th birthday party for Mrs. Kaufman drew a crowd of attendees who gathered together to celebrate a wonderful woman and to give back to her just a fraction of the joy that she has brought others throughout her century of life. 

Be sure to check out the below links to some of the amazing stories written about Jean throughout her 30 years of volunteering around Alaska! 

Happy Birthday Jean from your biggest fans at the Pioneer Homes!


Some photos of Jean with her fans and some Alaskan dignitaries and celebrities:
Photo composite of Jean Kaufman as her clown alter ego and celebrations with Alaskan dignitaries and  celebrities.