Well-known Chugiak resident and author, Lois Ilena Harter, died Thursday December 23, 2010 at her home where she had lived since arriving in Alaska in 1974.
A celebration of life will be held January 8, 2011 from 2 – 5 p.m.at Iditarod Checkpoint #1, VFW Post 9785, 10527 VFW Road, Eagle River, Alaska.
Lois was born July 5, 1940 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She moved with her mother and brother to Brevard County, Florida where she met and married Ted English in 1958. In 1970, the couple moved with their four children to Phoenix, Arizona where Ted worked in construction. After four years in Phoenix, the family moved to Alaska.
While Ted went ahead, Lois sold the Arizona home, had a garage sale and loaded the rest of the family belongings into a Chevy truck. She a hired 68 year old woman, a retired truck driver, packed the four kids and six champion Dobermans into a station wagon and drove her family 3700 miles to Alaska arriving in September 1974. The first winter was rough for Lois, lots of snow and short days with “a country between her and her family;” not to mention sliding into a school bus driving in the first snow. Home bound that winter, Lois passed the time writing letters home from the persona of her Dobermans, who soon had all kinds of furry pen pals.
Former dog trainers in Florida and Arizona, it wasn’t long before Lois and Ted were involved in Chugiak’s mushing community; Lois volunteering and Ted mushing. In 1975, the couple were introduced to Joe and Vi Redington and soon became hooked on the Iditarod dream. Lois and Ted would later divorce, but remained life-long friends.
Lois loved the Iditarod Sled Dog Race as much as any musher and the mushers loved her. Throughout her 33 years with Iditarod, first as a volunteer, then employee, Lois helped setup and served as retail outlet manager, volunteer coordinator, race communications coordinator, race logistic coordinator, education director, and original webmaster; wearing many of these titles at the same time. Realizing the invaluable service provided by volunteers, pilots, veterinarians and amateur radio operators, relaying information up and down the 1100 mile Iditarod trail, Lois obtained her FCC amateur radio operator license and brought these eager volunteers into Iditarod headquarters.
Following Libby Riddles’ historic win in 1985, Lois penned “Alaska Where Men Are Men and Women Win the Iditarod,” on a napkin at the Iditarod Awards Banquet in Nome, a slogan soon seen on t-shirts throughout the country.
From her office in Iditarod Headquarters, Lois befriended Zuma, Iditarod’s canine journalist, sharing Iditarod and Alaska with school children around the world through their column Zuma’s Paw Prints. In her spare time, Lois published a successful children’s book about mushing and traveled to schools in Alaska and the Lower 48 sharing Iditarod and Alaska.
In 1998, Lois created and introduced the “Teacher on the Trail,” program which launched in 1999, notably one of Iditarod’s most successful community outreach programs with classrooms around the world participating in educational activities about Alaska and the Iditarod Sled Dog Race. Lois’s contribution and dedication to “The Last Great Race on Earth,” cannot be understated.
At home in Chugiak, Lois volunteered as a dispatcher for the Chugiak Volunteer Fire Department, established a support group for people on transplant lists and organized fundraisers for Alaska’s missing children.
Lois is survived by her four children Cindy Johnson, Cassandra Kincaid, Michael English and Victoria Coppess and their spouses. Thirteen grandchildren: Rebekah Hoffman, Jillian Hughes, Banjo Barnes, Echo Pullen, Tesha and Teslyn Milham, Boday Turton, Stephanie, Zachary, and Talphus English, Kayla and Denali Coppess; and 17 great-grandchildren, Tanner, Briannah, Angel, Gavin, Allyson, Isabelle, Riley, Ethan, Elliott, Peyton, Dalton, Adriel, Jordan, Arihanna, Jayden, Kodi and Kahri; brothers, Rick DeVries of Florida and William Harter of Pennsylvania. Lois was preceded in death by her mother Blanche DeVries earlier this year and her grandson Daniel Barnes.
Ollie Walker - Chugiak Pioneer Passes Away
Ollie Walker, 86, died March 23, 2007 (of Alzheimer's complications) in Long Beach, California. He was born on April 28, 1920 in Eureka, South Dakota. He was drafted into the Army in 1942 and stationed at Bassingbourn, England as a telephone operator for the Mighty Eighth Air Force during WWII. While in England, he met and married a Cambridge girl named Kathleen Furness. Ollie and Kathy came to Alaska in 1950, homesteading near Fire Lake. They were founding members of the Chugiak Dog Mushers Club, the Chugiak Benefit Association and the Birchwood Baptist Church. Ollie worked as an auto-body repairman on Fort Richardson from 1950 until 1975. After retirement, he worked on the North Slope as a welder for 10 years. Ollie competed in dog races at the Tozier Track, in Fairbanks, at the Anchorage Fur Rendezvous and at Pipple's Field. He made all of his own dog sleds and harnesses and kept a dog lot of about 40 dogs. He also experimented with breeding a greyhound line for a number of years. His dogs won several first place trophies in Fur Rendezvous weight-pull contests in the late 1950's. In 1968, the Walker's became "snowbirds" and lived in Texas in the winter and Alaska during the summers. Preceding him in death is his wife Kathy, of 45 years (1992), a son David Oliver (1947), and 10 siblings. Surviving him is his second wife Julie and his children, Coleen Mielke of Wasilla, Debbie Childress of Ohio, Terry Walker of Peters Creek, Sherrie Walker of Chugiak, nine grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.
Bill Sullivan Passes
Bill Sullivan, of Big Lake, died October 31 at age 69. Bill was one of Alaska's all-time great sprint mushers and ran the Rondy and North American many times. He was a retired Anchorage Police officer and ran Sully's Sourdough Inn on the Parks Highway at the Big Lake cutoff. The wake was held Saturday, November 10, at Sully's Sourdough Inn, Mile 51.5 Parks Highway, Big Lake, Alaska. Farewell Sully.
David William Berg, 55, died peacefully at home Oct. 26, 2007, surrounded by his family. He had pancreatic cancer and had battled multiple cancers in recent years.
A celebration of life will be held at Beach Lake Chalet at 3 p.m. Friday to be followed by a reception at the home. Dave's wish is that everyone dress in casual attire, as there will no doubt be a tour of the garage.
Dave was born July 11, 1952, in St. Paul, Minn., to Robert and Florence Berg. He attended Wheaton Central High School in Wheaton, Ill., and began his career as a fireman driving diesels for the Burlington Northern Railroad. He later graduated from the University of Illinois in 1979 with a degree in engineering. He worked for the Illinois DOT on design and construction projects in the Peoria area, including the Pekin Bridge, a major structure over the Illinois River.
During this time, Dave met the love of his life and soulmate, Linda, while on a motorcycle trip in Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend National Park, Texas, in March 1983. In the summer of 1984, they moved out West, a dream come true for both of them. They were married that December on the solstice and settled first in Casper and then Evanston, Wyo., where Dave worked for CEI, a private consulting firm. Dave opened a CEI office in Evanston, later transferring the office to Salt Lake City in 1988. The office grew to a 22-person staff before Dave took the opportunity to work for the Utah DOT, first as statewide environmental engineer, and than as regional director for the Salt Lake region.
During these years, he became a proud father to three beautiful daughters - Kelly, Kairi and KayeTori. Initially reluctant about parenthood, Dave quickly found his children a source of pleasure and joy. He recently stated that his feelings of love and pride for his children had only grown through the years.
In 1995, Dave and his gang of women followed their hearts once more and moved to Alaska, where he worked for a number of private consultants developing transportation projects for the public sector. He was especially proud of the work he did at the Anchorage International Airport, providing a beautiful arrival and departure point for visitors to the state. His last job was with Mactec Inc., working with people he both admired and enjoyed.
Meanwhile, his home and family life went to the dogs - literally. The family fell in love with mushing and became very involved with the junior mushing clubs in the area. He came up with the name "5 Mushers" as the Berg's kennel name, after the family enjoyed a glorious day mushing together. He loved being out on the trail, enjoying the quiet beauty around him and the camaraderie of his four-legged companions. He equally enjoyed the people he met within the mushing community.
Shortly after Dave was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March, he began a major remodel and addition to their home, not what most might choose to do in their final months. He was able to see his designs come to completion through the amazing support of family and friends and even strangers who worked on the "garage raising" and donated many hours of labor.
His family stated: "Dave's most special gift to us was to refuse to give in to despair, to remind us to the very end that he was a happy man, surrounded by a family he loved, in a home he loved, and that he had lived a great life full of challenges and opportunities, with lots of friends and adventures along the way. We will cherish that gift, and the memories we have of him."
Dave is survived by his wife, Lyn; daughters, Kelly, Kairi and KayeTori, mother, Florence Berg; sisters, Barbara Wasmund, Betty Kreuger and Donna Symonds; sister-in-law, Cathy Berg; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his father, Robert F. Berg; and his brother, Robert G. Berg.
Memorial donations may be made to a fund for his daughters' education at Alaska USA Federal Credit Union, or to the Chugiak Junior Dog Mushers Association.
Cazzie Wayne Forbus, 18, died of colon cancer Aug. 27, 2007, at his home in Eagle River.
His cremated remains will be scattered in Hawaii.
Cazzie was born May 3, 1989, in Tallahassee, Fla., and moved to Alaska in 1995. He had attended Chugiak High School, where he played on the football team.
He enjoyed weightlifting, and in 2006 he took second place in the Mr. Chugiak competition.
His parents said, "Our son was a true 'fighter.' " Survivors include his mom, Candy Mulholland; Candy's husband and Cazzie's "father-in-love," Ray Mulholland; "brother-in-love," Travis Mulholland, both of Eagle River; brother, Micah Forbus of California; dad and stepmother, Tim and Diana Forbus of Eagle River; grandparents, Sid and Neely Durant, Cazzie Hubert and Sue Pitts, all of Florida, Wayne and Janice Forbus of Alabama, Alice Mulholland of Alaska; aunts, Shelia Forbus of Georgia, Connie Keathly and Cammie Bowlin of Florida; uncles, Kenny Forbus and Dwight Forbus of Alabama. He was preceded in death by his great-grandparents, Evie Granger, Mary and Cazzie Luvie Pitts, and Mr. and Mrs. Berry.
Linda Rose Swanke
We are saddened by the passing of Linda Rose Swanke. Linda was the mainstay of dog painting at all the important sleddog races in the Anchorage area for years – many of the Rondy drivers asked after her this year. She always had a great attitude and good humor – invaluable when the inevitable glitches of race days hit. She will be sorely missed, not just for what she did but for who she was.
Linda worked for the FAA since 1991 as the Occupational Health Nurse and was with the FAA’s Industry Drug and Alcohol Program for the past several years. Linda, a long-term breast cancer survivor, succumbed to complications arising from lung cancer on Sunday afternoon, August 19.
Barry Alan MacAlpine
Barry Alan MacAlpine was born in Springfield, Mass. on September 17, 1936, the first son of Victoria Joseph MacAlpine and Arthur Winslow MacAlpine. He attended public schools in Springfield and graduated from Classical High School where he was an exceptional athlete, posting several Massachusetts State track and field records. He briefly attended Howard University before joining the Air Force, eventually stationed at Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage, Alaska, in 1956. Barry made his home in Alaska, primarily in the Chugiak area. During his early years in the state, Barry worked as a jazz musician playing at clubs around Anchorage. He also worked as a draftsman at District Engineers, and a surveyor for BLM at many sites around Alaska including Amchitka and the Snettisham Dam. In 1963 he attended UAF for training as an electronic technician. At the time of his death he was employed at Anchorage Printing where he had worked for approximately 20 years. In his later years he lived alone in Birchwood, working in Anchorage and devoting himself to the care and training of his sled dogs, many of which he adopted from around the area. His chief interests, in addition to his dogs were his music, playing chess, reading and all things mathematical. Barry is survived by his former wife, Donna Miller MacAlpine, of McGrath, whom he married in Anchorage in 1961, and by their four children Robin of Hyattsville, MD, Kenneth of Pittsfield, MA, Norman of McGrath and Heather of Anchorage, and by 13 grandchildren. Four brothers, two sisters, and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews on the East coast also survive him. His mother, Victoria (MacAlpine) Miller, who made many visits to Alaska, passed away last year in Springfield.
Musher Martina Delp died suddenly (electrocuted) at her home in Salcha. She operated Long Haul Kennels and had more than 30 dogs.
A memorial will be June 9th at 11:00 AM St. Nicholas Catholic Church 707 Saint Nicholas Drive North Pole, AK. Immediately following these services, there will be a graveside service at the Salcha Community Cemetery off Balch Way. South on Richardson Hwy, Left on Balch Way (Just before the Salcha Store). Once on Balch follow road until you see the sign for the Salcha Cemetery, turn left and follow signs. After the graveside services there will be a Potluck reception back at St. Nicholas Church.
Curtis A. Charlie
Published November 8, 2006 Posted in Local, Fairbanks News
Curtis Allen Charlie, 44, passed away in his sleep Nov. 4, 2006.Curtis was born March 31, 1962, to Chris and Martha Charlie in Minto.He attended high school in Nulato and Tanana. His favorite sports were basketball and dog mushing; he won many junior dog mushing races as a young man. Curtis was a seasonal firefighter and avid subsistence hunter, he loved being out on the Minto Flats with friends and family. Friends were always welcome at his home in Minto.Curtis will be greatly missed by numerous friends and relatives.He was preceded in death by his parents Chris and Martha Charlie; and nieces Dana Charlie and Annette Roberts.He is survived by his daughters, Minnena, Georgjean, Shaunda, Shelissa and Keely Shay; son, Hunter Allen; brothers, Lloyd, Ollie and Roy Charlie of Minto: sisters, Esther Hayward, Verconia, Frances and Christine Charlie of Fairbanks and Pricilla Johnson of Minto; his favorite uncle, Alfred Frank of Minto; and his companion, Jessica Silas.A funeral will be held at 1 p.m. today, Nov. 8, in Minto. The service will be officiated by the Rev. Anna Frank. He will be laid to rest in the village cemetery.A traditional potlatch will follow at the Minto Community Hall. Arrangements were by Fairbanks Funeral Home and Crematory.
Four-time Iditarod champ Susan Butcher dies
AP News : August 5, 2006 ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Four-time Iditarod champion Susan Butcher died Saturday in a Seattle hospital of complications from a recent bone marrow transplant. She was 51 years old and leaves behind a husband and 2 daughters. Butcher dominated the 1,100-mile sled dog race in the late 1980s. In 1986, she became the second woman to win the grueling race from Anchorage to Nome. She added victories in 1987, 1988 and 1990 and finished in the top four through 1993. Susan will be greatly missed by all of us - she was truly an amazing person and a great ambassador for the sport of mushing. (TD)
The Iditarod Sled Dog Race has lost a very talented and dedicated friend. On August 3rd, photographer Jim Brown passed away in Palmer, Alaska at the age of 91. Jim was described as a consummate photographer who shared his love for the “Last Great Race on Earth” and shear beauty of the Iditarod
Trail with millions of race fans from around the world. Today, we mourn the loss of one of Alaska’s legendary photographers.
Longtime Alaskan educator and outdoor adventurer Mary Ellen "Mellen" Shea, 55, died March 6, 2006, after a 14-month fight with inflammatory breast cancer. A funeral will be at 10 a.m. Monday at St. Joseph's Church in Shelburne Falls, Mass. Burial will be afterward at Arm's Cemetery. A reception will be at 1 p.m. at the Charlemont Inn. A memorial service in Anchorage will be announced later.
She was born Nov. 29, 1950, in Franklin County, Mass. Her family wrote: "Mellen lived for the past 30 years in Anchorage. She was lured to Alaska by her love of outdoor adventure. She climbed Denali and other major peaks and took many wilderness adventures. But her greatest recreational passion became skijoring and dog mushing. She finished the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race and made six other trips to Nome as part of the Serum Run with famed explorer Norman Vaughan. She taught skijoring and helped popularize the activity in Anchorage.
"Mellen was an educator -- a teacher by birth and a teacher by heart. She taught and was a guidance counselor at Anchorage High School for nearly 20 years, after which she was a guidance counselor for Native Americans, employed by Cook Inlet Tribal Council. Additionally, she coached several sports. She also introduced numerous students to the outdoors through many nontraditional courses, including Outward Bound in Minnesota and Wilderness Recreational Skills programs in Anchorage.
"Mellen was known for her bright smile, cheerful disposition and irrepressible spirit. Mellen inspired many students and friends with her teaching and recreational pursuits and she continued to inspire with the courage and grace with which she fought cancer. Mellen faced cancer the way she lived life, often comforting and inspiring other cancer patients even as she was losing her battle."
She is survived by her husband, Jimmy Jackson; parents, Jack and Marilyn Shea; siblings and their spouses, Jack and Christie, Patrick and Susan, Mark, and Suzanne and Richard Taylor; nieces, Kate (Shea) Kellogg, Heather (Shea) Kochin, Emily Shea and Molly Taylor; nephews, Greg Shea, Simon Taylor and Clayton Shea; and in-laws, Betty and Rhett Jackson and Kay and Jack Lawrence of Columbia, S.C.
Iditarod matriarch a little Pennsylvania girl who came North , VI REDINGTON: Wife of race founder helped to keep it going.
Published ADN: March 7, 2006
An instrumental player in the creation of the now famous Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, Violet Elizabeth Redington -- "Vi" to her many friends all across the state -- died of cancer March 4, 2006, at her home in Knik. She was 81, and she hung on just long enough to witness the televised start of one more Iditarod leaving downtown Anchorage.
A memorial service will be conducted after the finish of the 2006 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Details will be announced later. A private interment will be in the Wasilla Aurora Cemetery next to her husband.If it is true that behind every great man stands an even greater woman, Violet Elizabeth Redington was living proof. From her birth on July 17, 1924, in Kintnersville, Pa., to Milton and Cora Hoffman, Vi led a life of which most others could only dream.In 1948, with her husband, Ray Redington, brother-in-law, Joe and family, and father-in-law, James Redington, this self-described "little Pennsylvania girl" hit the road to Alaska with no other goal than to have a life of adventure.On the way to Alaska, they picked up their very first sled dog and hauled him all the way to "sunny Knik," where they settled. But the marriage of Vi and Ray wasn't to last. She and Joe decided on Feb. 18, 1953, in the Wasilla Post Office with Postmistress and Magistrate Mae Carter officiating, to see if they could make a go of marriage.Not only did they make a go of it, but together they single-handedly put the sport of dog mushing on the map.Many stories have been told of Joe Redington Sr.'s exploits and through it all, Vi Redington was his strong right arm.After one of several plane crashes, when Joe was missing for a few days, Vi was asked if she was worried. Her reply both typified her confidence in her husband and her unflappable nature: "Oh, I'm not worried. If the crash didn't kill him, he'll be all right."Vi followed Joe as dog musher, homesteader at Flat Horn Lake, traveler (to support Joe's mushing habit) to the Alpirod in Europe, to Great Britain, and most notably, to Nome.Through all of Joe's seemingly harebrained schemes, Vi kept her mouth shut and just nodded, smiling the smile that lit up everyone who came within range. In even the worst moments, her most aggressive comment was "Good grief!" But her biggest test was yet to come."A dog race to Nome is impossible" seemed to be the general consensus of everyone around. But a few hardy (many would say foolhardy) souls, led and inspired by Joe Redington, Sr. and supported all the way by Vi, made it happen.Though not officially known as the "mother" of the Iditarod, few would argue that Vi was the matriarch of the event, hosting, sometimes tolerating musher after musher in her never-locked home in Knik, and in various cabins including a much-loved place in the Peters Hills.Vi's activities outside the mushing realm included her employment as Registrar at Mat-Su Community College until computers came on the scene. Vi always hated computers. She was active in the Wasilla-Knik Historical Society, serving as its secretary for many years. Along with Joe, she formed the Iditarod Trail Blazers, the group largely responsible for the designation of the Iditarod as a National Historical Trail.One of Vi's most memorable experiences came in 1981, when she and Joe, in their first formal attire, attended President Ronald Reagan's inaugural ball, after Joe proudly mushed a dog team in the inaugural parade.Vi was preceded in death by her beloved husband of 46 years, Joe Redington, Sr., and their son, Keith.She is survived by sons and daughters-in-law, Tim and Lorayne, Tom, Raymie and Barbara, Joee and Pam; daughter, Sheila; sister, Myrle Ott; grandchildren, Laurie, Lisa, Joee Ray, Heather, Ray Jr., Vernon, Ryan, Robert, Kerrina and Tommy Ray, Jerry and James; and great-grandchildren Justin, Wyatt, Robert and Raynee; and many friends around the world, especially in the mushing community. Arrangements are with Kehl's Forest Lawn Memorial Chapel. Information was provided by the Redington family.
A Great Man Passes We are saddened by the passing of a great man today, on the 23rd December 2005 , Norman Vaughan passed away peacefully in Anchorage, Alaska, he was 100 years old.
Born in 1905, when Teddy Roosevelt was president and polar exploration was in its heyday, Norman was weaned on tales of Robert Peary, Roald Amundsen, and Sir Robert Falcon Scott. In 1925 he left Harvard to join one of his heroes, Sir Wilfred Grenfell in Newfoundland, bringing medical supplies by dog sled to isolated villages. He left school again three years later to go to Antarctica with Admiral Byrd - a bold move that changed his life.
Norman was part of history as the chief dog driver on the first Byrd Antarctic Expedition in 1928-30. He raced with the best in sprint mushing demonstration races in the 1932 Lake Placid Winter Olympic Games. In 1967, drove a snowmobile 5000 miles from Alaska to Boston. Brazenly declared himself dog driving champion of the Pentagon to compete as the first non-Alaskan dog driver in the North American Sled Dog Championships in Alaska. At age 68, moved to Alaska for dogs and adventure with empty pockets after a business collapse and a shattered marriage. Shoveled sidewalks for food, found a job as a janitor, and built a dog team. Participated in 13 Iditarods, running his first one at age 72. Norman completed 6 with his last finish being in 1990 at the age of 84. Crashed President Carter's inaugural parade and was in the next two. Taught John Paul II how to mush. In 1997 organized the annual 868-mile Serum Run from Nenana to Nome, Alaska. This commemorates the 1925 dash to Nome by the fastest village dog teams to deliver diphtheria serum to save Nome. Norman "Dreamed big & dared to fail". Safe trails Norman.
Gifts in memory of Colonel Vaughan
Providence Alaska Foundation
3200 Providence Drive
Anchorage, AK 99508
Charles "Sonny" Belford 1935
Photos from The Belford Collection,
courtesy Elsie Chadwick,
Siberian Husky Archives
Dr. Charles Belford...one of the world's foremost "sled dog racing veterinarians"...has passed away in his hometown of Laconia, NH, at age 85.
Doc Belford was one of the most influential of Siberian breeders and racers. He was a close friend of that OTHER racing vet, Doc Lombard. With Dick Moulton making a threesome, these men undertook to found SEPP-- a move within the ranks of SHCA to retain the racing qualities of the Siberian Husky. Doc Belford lived much of the important racing history that we read about in books. He was a World Champion and raced Alaska shortly after Lombard initially went there from New England and came back with many tales of the tough trails, tough drivers, and tougher dogs. He started in Siberians when his father bought dogs from Seppala. He was a member of the newly formed NESDC Juniors. And he loved the sport. Dr. Belford was recognized for his authoritative knowledge of the racing Siberian and was asked abroad to speak and lecture in the Scandinavian countries.
Harold Capps with dog Sampson
Harold Capps, from Chugiak, Alaska. A memorial service was held Wednesday May 18th, at Anchorage Funeral Home and Crematory. He was born Jan. 4, 1961, in Denver.Mr. Capps retired from the Wheat Ridge, Colo., Fire Department as a lieutenant. He received the Fireman of the Year Award from the Wheat Ridge Department.Mr. Capps moved to Alaska in 1999. He worked for Grinnell Fire Protection, where he used computers to design fire sprinkler systems.He enjoyed firefighting, dog mushing, fishing, hunting, skiing, beer making, welding/building, fly tying and rod wrapping. He received the Inspirational Musher Award from the Chugiak Dog Mushers,Julie, his wife, wrote: "Harold is my best friend and the love of my life. Harold is my hero."Forrest Capps wrote: "Harold is my friend and mentor. He is also a wonderful uncle and brother-in-law. He is one of the smartest people I know."Mr. Capps is survived by his wife, Julie of Chugiak; brother and sister-in-law, Forrest and Cindy Capps; niece, Meagan Capps; nephew, Nick Capps; mother, Marilyn Capps; and sister, Heather Katt, all of Denver.Memorial donations may be given to Chugiak Dog Mushers, P.O. Box 671523, Chugiak 99567, or the American Cancer Society. If anyone would like to send condolences to Julie Capps, her address is: Julie Capps, P.O. Box 671692, Chugiak, AK 99567
Fairbanks Musher - Bob Stroecker of Salcha, Alaska died June 12 th 2004 from complications stemming from a mushing accident. Stroecker, of Salcha Alaska, hit his head on a low-hanging tree, frsctured his skull and was paralyzed from the shoulders down. He stayed at the Seattle Veterans Hospital for 2 years before returning to Alaska. He was living at the Denali Center in Fairbanks when he died. A memorial service was held in Fairbanks in June.
The 'Flying Frenchman' - John Paul Trotier of Essex Junction, Vermont died July, 19th 2004 at the age of 81. Trotier was a musher who trained dogs year around and attended winter sled races. He received an honoraray Olympic Gold medal for his fund raising efforts in 1972, making him the only musher to hold an Olympic medal. He participated in parades with his sled dogs, often playing Santa to deliver presents to children and nursing home residents. A memorial service was held in Essex Junction in July.
Yukon Quest Musher Dies
Charlie David Armstrong, 51 Wasilla resident Charlie David Armstrong, 51, died June 17, 2004, at Providence Alaska Medical Center as a result of an accident. A memorial service was June 22, 2004, with military honors. Spiritual Leader Dean Babco officiated. Burial was at Fort Richardson National Cemetery. Mr. Armstrong was born Sept. 7, 1952, in Coos Bay, Ore., to Charles and Phyllis Armstrong-Branson. He considered his hometown Branson, Mo., before moving in 1991 to Alaska, where he had been self-employed as a musher. He was a member of McKinley Mountain Men, Wasilla Veteran Centers and Aurora Dog Mushing Association. Mr. Armstrong served two tours of duty in Vietnam and received awards. He was also the recipient of the Award of Appreciation of Standdown for five years of service at Fort Richardson. Mr. Armstrong's special interests included black powder marksmanship and archery. His family wrote, "He had a good sense of humor, always smiled, and was a dedicated and generous volunteer." He was preceded in death by a daughter, who died at birth, and his parents. He is survived by his wife, Judy, of Wasilla; brothers, Larry Armstrong of Columbia, Mo. and Randy Armstrong of Mountain Grove, Mo.; sister, Yvonne Blair of Potosi, Mo.; sons, Billy Armstrong, serving with the U.S. Army in Iraq, and DeWayne Armstrong, serving in the U.S. Navy in Michigan; stepson, Neil Lippincott of Anchorage; numerous nieces and nephews; and four grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made to the Wasilla Vet Center, Wasilla, Alaska 99654. Arrangements were made with Evergreen Memorial Chapel.
LONGTIME RESIDENT Mary Carey, 91 Alaska pioneer and historian Mary E. Carey, 91, died suddenly June 18, 2004, at her lodge, Mary's McKinley View Lodge, at Mile 134 Parks Highway. Visitation and viewing will be from 2 to 4 p.m. Monday at Valley Funeral Home in Wasilla. A funeral will be at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Montana Creek Baptist Church, Mile 98 on the Parks Highway, near Talkeetna. Mrs. Carey was born April 1, 1913, in Chatsworth, Ga. She came to Alaska in 1962 and quickly fell in love with the state and its people.
She had been scheduled to be the grand marshal of the Talkeetna Moose Dropping Festival this July, an honor her family said pleased her very much. "Mary was most famous for her books, having written 16 books about her adventures," her family said. "She homesteaded in what is now Denali State Park when it was 100 miles to the nearest road. She lived in a tent while petitioning then-Gov. Egan to put a highway from Anchorage to Fairbanks which would pass through the area she thought had the prettiest view of Mount McKinley. Seven years later, the Parks Highway was finally completed, and she opened a business on the side of the road which her family still operates today. In her later years, Mary wrote a book, 'My Three Lives in Headlines,' which has been sold for a movie. "Mary loved greeting customers and sharing 'her mountain' with everyone. She will be greatly missed by her family and many friends." Mrs. Carey is survived by her daughter, Jean Carey Richardson of Denali Park; three grandchildren and their spouses, Linda and Martin Williams of Titusville, Fla., Carol and Karl Knudson of Cypress, Texas, and Joe and Melissa Richardson of Denali Park; two great-grandsons, Shawn Williams of Denali Park and Taylor Knudson of Cypress; three great-great-grandchildren, Austin, Hailey and Trey Williams of Bay City, Texas; and extended family and friends. Arrangements are with Valley Funeral Home and Crematory of Wasilla.
Marjorie Page, 79
Oct 30, 2003
Longtime Anchorage resident Marjorie M. Page died Oct. 21, 2003, at Alaska Regional Hospital, surrounded by family.Her family wrote: "Margie was born June 28, 1924, in Kansas. She was Elmer and Blanche Berrie's only child and grew up in a house filled with love. "In 1946 Margie was a factory worker by day and a roller skating queen by night. That is where she met her husband Bob, when she fell right into his arms. Three months later they were married. They started their new life together seeking adventure and never stopped. "They ran a radio repair shop for five years in Kansas. They joined a carnival, spent five years traveling, and had their daughter Vickie. For the next eight years, they lived in Texas. Margie worked as a secretary until 1962 when she and Vickie moved to Anchorage where Bob had been transferred the year before. "In 1964 Margie was in a grocery store when the quake hit. She huddled near the register with others to ride it out. Margie and Bob spent the next month at The Salvation Army office downtown sending and receiving HAM radio messages to the Lower 48 since there were no phone lines working in Alaska. For many families, HAMs were their link to the outside. Margie's and Bob's call signs were 'GLU' and 'HIU.'"Over the years Margie was a member of the Toastmistresses of Alaska, serving as club president for 1965-1966. She was also a member of PARKA the Polar Amateur Radio Klub of Alaska, serving as president for 1971-1972. She and her husband also ran radio communication check points for the Iditarod and Fur Rendezvous dog sled races."She is loved."Mrs. Page was preceded in death by her husband of 55 years, Bob.She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Vickie and Kerry Hawkins; granddaughter and husband, Jostina and Kevin Jones, and their children, Justin, Caitlyn and Dalton; grandson, William; grandson and wife, Edward and Jennifer Page; and granddaughter, Lennett Idleman, and her son, Sheridan.
Myron Gavin, 74
July 7, 2003
Myron Dominic Gavin, 74, died July 7, 2003, at Providence Alaska Medical Center of complications from congestive heart failure and subsequent pneumonia.A memorial service will be at 9 a.m. Monday at St. Andrew Catholic Church in Eagle River. Mr. Gavin was born Dec. 15, 1928, in New Hope, Wis. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1950 and was stationed at Fort Richardson. He and his family settled here in 1951. He and his wife homesteaded on the banks of Eagle River. After being flooded out a few times, they bought property elsewhere in Eagle River and later moved to Peters Creek.His passion was sprint sled dog breeding and racing; his dog breeding and training programs of 10 to 20 dogs would eclipse other dog lots with hundreds of dogs and generations of experienced dog people. Tuffluk Kennels set many track records at Tozier Track and statewide. Mr. Gavin served as race marshal for the 1978 Iditarod in the only photo finish the race ever had. His stock previously won races in Alaska, the Lower 48 and Europe. He also enjoyed painting, drawing and ivory carving.Mr. Gavin was a 23-year welder for civil service before retiring and made artful pieces in metal for family members. He received numerous commendations for equipment improvements and had also worked as a carpenter and millwright. His family wrote: "He always told it like it was and didn't care whether you agreed with him or not. He was always opinionated, and you always knew where he stood on the important issues. He told great jokes, and when he was younger, could tell them one right after the other. He was always there to lend a hand with the tough decisions with wit and a sense for reality and what was right and wrong."Mr. Gavin was a member of St. Andrew's Parish, Alaska Sled Dog Racing Association, and founding member of Chugiak Dog Musher Club.Survivors are his wife of 53 years, Shirley; son and daughter-in-law, Michael and Linda Gavin of Fairbanks; daughters and son-in-law, Gale Franks of Chugiak and Michele and Michael Walsh of Birchwood; five grandchildren; sister, Dorothy Dombrowski; brothers and sisters-in-law, Bob and Bonnie Gavin and Alfred and Dorothy Gavin; and many nieces and nephews.He was preceded in death by his parents, Martha and Barney; and brother, Rudy Gavin.Memorial donations may be made to the charity of choice.Arrangements were with Alaska Cremation Center.
Bob Ernise Passes from Cancer 29 June 2003 - "Our good friend, father, grandfather, son, brother and loving husband departed this realm today at approximately 3:30 p.m. Alaska time. He went
in peace with the permission and embrace of his family and friends. He is without a doubt currently entertaining and winning the hearts and souls of those with which he is currently in residence. God Speed, Bob Ernisse, the likes of you shall not pass this way again, any time soon." The family request if you want to do something to
honor his life, give blood. Safe journey Bob.
Keli Mahoney June 6, 2003 - ADN - Talkeetna resident Keli Mahoney, 35, died May 28, 2003, as a result of an aviation accident on South Hunter Pass in Denali National Park. The rosary was said June 1, and a Mass was held June 2 at St. Bernard Catholic Church in Talkeetna with The Rev. Leo Walsh as celebrant. A celebration of her life was held June 2 at the Talkeetna Elementary School gym. Ms. Mahoney was born Feb. 20, 1968, in Quincy, Mass., to Roy and Francis Mahoney, the youngest of six children. At age 16, she became the first female member of the Seven Hill Yacht Club in Boston. A private pilot at age 16, she was a certified flight instructor at 18. After completing a bachelor's degree at Bridgewater State College, she began flying the east coast corridor for the TWA regional commuter shuttle in 1989, at age 21.In 1991, Ms.
Keli Mahoney (left) and LeeAnn Wetzel
Mahoney moved to Bethel, where she flew for Hageland Aviation. In 1993, she relocated to Talkeetna. She was chief pilot for Doug Geeting Aviation for the 1993 and 1994 seasons. In 1995, she and business partner LeeAnn Wetzel began McKinley Air Service, one of only four companies in the United States owned and operated by women. Specializing in ferrying climbers to base camp on Mount McKinley and flightseeing tours of Denali National Park, Ms. Mahoney acted in the capacity of co-owner and chief pilot for McKinley Air from 1995 until the time of her death.She was an avid dog musher. Owner of McKinley Kennels, she raced in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race from Anchorage to Nome in 1997 and 1998, placing as high as 30th. She also ran in the Yukon Quest race between Whitehorse, Yukon, and Fairbanks in 2001 and 2002.An active member of the Talkeetna community, Ms. Mahoney was a member of the volunteer ambulance service and was a volunteer firefighter.Family and friends said: "Keli lived her life to its fullest capacity. There was no boundary she felt she couldn't cross nor was there a challenge too great for her to tackle."