North Kenai resident Wallace "Wally" Darrel Van Sky died Thursday, Jan. 3, 2008, at home of natural causes, while surrounded by family. He was 87.
A celebration of life will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 12, at the Eagles Aerie No. 3525 at 5765 Kenai Spur Highway in Kenai.
Mr. Van Sky was born Aug. 1, 1920, in Lima, Ohio to Alfie and Irene Van Sky. In 1950 he won a cash prize for being Salesman of the Year for Jewel Tea Co. in California. He used the money to come to Alaska for a brown bear hunt and never left. He corresponded with his wife, Helen, and instructed her to sell everything and to bring the children to Alaska.
"Fearfully and dutifully, she obeyed. She arrived full of apprehension with a suitcase and three boys to her new home a tent on the banks of Ship Creek, below Anchorage.
"They built a log house on Sand Lake Road and Dimond Boulevard. The following year they moved to North Kenai and homesteaded what is now Bernice Lake Road," his family said.
He drove a fish truck, was a lineman for Rowley's Kenai Power, truck driver for Farnsworth Fuel Service, sawmill operator and owner, heavy equipment operator and construction worker. He retired from Laborers Local No. 341 in 1977 after 23 years of service. He was active in the community and a founder and charter member of the North Kenai Community Club.
He enjoyed hunting, fishing, clam digging and all other outdoor activities. He played pinochle on Sundays.
"He was an authority on all types of fishing and had caught a record burbot, landed an 87-pound king salmon and a halibut weighing more than 300 pounds. He also won the Seward Silver Salmon Fishing Derby and an early rainbow derby that used to be held on the Kenai River," his family said.
"Wally touched all those who came into his life and educated them with his wisdom before they left his home. He was not only a grandfather to his immediate family, but to all the neighborhood kids, as well. Wally's door was always open and many world problems were solved over morning coffee with neighbors and family."
Mr. Van Sky was preceded in death by his wives, Dorothy Harmon-Van Sky, Helen Slavens-Van Sky and Thelma Elizabeth "Liz" Schull-Van Sky; and youngest son, Michael "Mickey" Forrest Van Sky.
He is survived by his sons, Larry and Dennis Van Sky of Nikiski; grandchildren, Shelia Childress, Laurie Orth, Denise Dukowitz, Trina Hall, Traci Lee, Penny Van Sky, Travis Greenhalgh and Jeff Van Sky; great-grandchildren, Ryan, Owen and Kendra Dukowitz, Britney and Dustin Baier, Danielle and Victoria Bower, Adora, Kandys and Kelsee Lee, Blake and Danielle Marinuzzi, Shelby and Jessie Rodge, Payton Childress and Tyler Van Sky; and many other extended family members.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests, donations be made to the charity of the donors choice.
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