Hank and Mayrilyn
Hank was a "first hire" at Standard Oil, but then went to work at Wildwood Air Force Base, since he already had so many years into Civil Service. He worked there until Nixon closed it down. After loosing his job on base he joined the Sheet Metal Union, which he had trained in the trade before moving to Alaska. He worked at pump stations on the North Slope and surrounding areas until around 1976.
In 1967 they bought fishing sites at Boulder Point, in the Nikishka Bay. Through the years they have bought out 5 different fish sites and fish a total of 24 nets. They have their Northern District sites where they fish 6 nets; The sites at Nikiski Dock have 18 nets. Their children, Gary, Chris, Bill, Angel, Romy and Camille along with many hired hands through the years have kept these sites going for 45 years. Romy related that she was thrilled to move to the fishing sites in the summer time, as there were 29 kids in that area helping their families fish. Having the other kids to play with and the camaraderie of the families was wonderful and became a way of life for her brothers and sisters and their families. The hard work and work ethic that was taught to us by our parents on the fish site has served all of well even in our other jobs. One of the huge perks of fishing for a Cannery back then, was that you could order supplies from Seattle. Marilyn would place an order in January and when the Tenders came from Seattle in May they would bring it all to Alasaka and then the Cannery, we fished for Kenai Packers, would deliver it right to your house with the big Six-Bi Trucks that they also used to haul fish with. This way they were able to get all the things that could not be grown or hunt themselves,
Virginia Walters wrote:
When we came to Kenai, fresh from the Idaho woods to try our luck as set netters, our beach cabin was right next door to Hank and Marilyn. They gave us help, advice and encouragement about how to live on the beach with four teenagers and a dog and also how to become fishermen
Hank would prowl the beach, 20 cup coffee pot in hand, every fish day if he wasn't in the boat. All of our outside friends who visited us those summers still ask about "the guy with the coffee pot." The foot gear for set netters is hip boots, folded below the knees, if not in the water. Eventually, that fold wears out and renders the boots no good for deep water. Hank cut his off about mid shin and wore them as beach shoes. Our kids referred to them as "HANKlets" but they cut theirs off too when the fold tore.
Shirely De Vault relates: Hank and Marilyn were fantastic neighbors. Always looked out after the neighbors and the kids. She also said that Gary owes her and Marilyn a dinner. Has something to do with dirty dishes that Shirley washed while Marilyn was ill!!
This is a tribute to Hank and Marilyn, for a way of life that hardly anyone knows these days. Their hardiness, their helpfulness, a friendly smile and a wave, as they continue down the road of life into this modern age, has been a great inspiration to me and should be for the rest of us.
Thanks to daughter Romayne Hindman and friends Virginia Walters and Shirley De Vault.