Percy John Blatchford


Posted: Thursday, January 16, 2003

Alaska Native Percy John Blatchford died Sunday, Jan. 12, 2003, at Central Peninsula General Hospital in Soldotna. He was 82.

A viewing will be held from noon to 2 p.m. Monday at Peninsula Memorial Chapel in Kenai. Services will be held from 2 to 3 p.m. Monday at the funeral home. Honorary pallbearers will be Charles Blatchford, Jared Wallace, Casey R. Jones and Mick Jones.

Mr. Blatchford was born Oct. 9, 1920, in Golovin. He was the second of 17 children born to Jenny and Charles Blatchford.

In 1940, he enlisted in the U.S. Army. He was in the pararescue and survival units for the U.S. Army. After 30 years of service, he worked for the highway department. He lived from Point Barrow or Arctic Circle to Juneau, Sitka and all places in between from Golovin, Elim, White Mountain, Unalakleet, Nome and Kotzebue.

He was a tech sergeant for the Department of Air Force 71st Air Rescue Squadron and a paramedic in the 5040th Squadron at Point Barrow. He received a citation to accompany his first Oak Leaf Cluster in Panama. He also was featured in Alaska Magazine in 1990 on the front cover and featured in Outdoor Life in February 1952.

Mr. Blatchford helped to build the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. He also received the Medical Medal of Merit from President Ronald Reagan and a rifle from President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Air Rescue Service. He also trained beluga whales for the military.

He enjoyed boxing, hunting, fishing, Eskimo dancing, flying and traveling. He also was a guide for many senators and other politicians.

"He, as an Inupiaq, was the oldest man to be accepted into the Navy Seals. It'd take five men to fill his mukluts. He saved many lives," his family said.

Mr. Blatchford was preceded in death by his siblings, Florence Sellee, Mollie Galvin, Alfred "Kinnegun" Blatchford, Pete Blatchford, Charlie Blatchford and Andrew Blatchford.

He is survived by his children, Johnny Blatchford, Barbara Blatchford, Joel Blatchford and Lance Blatchford; numerous grandchildren; brothers and sisters, Bernice, Joe Blatchford, Violet "Vi" Mack, Rose Albrightson, Alan Blatchford and Gladys Armstrom; and many other family members too numerous to mention.

Arrangements were made by Peninsula Memorial Chapel.

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